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More trees were blown down than planted last year in England

Storm Arwen felled 8,164 acres of woodland in England when it swept across the country in November last year.  Pictured: A fallen tree in New York in North Tyneside caused by Arwen

More trees felled than planted last year: England lost thousands of acres of forest to more ‘frequent’ and ‘extreme’ storms, new data shows

  • Storm Arwen felled 8,278 acres of English woodland in November 2021
  • More trees fell than the 5,585 acres of trees that were planted in 2021-22
  • Britain has a ‘net zero’ target of planting 90-120 million trees a year

More trees were felled by storms last year than were planted in England.

The devastation caused by Storm Arwen destroyed 8,164 acres of woodland in England, according to an assessment by the Forestry Commission.

But he played down the impact of the storms, calling it “relatively modest”, and said he expected damaged forests to be replanted or reseeded naturally.

The storm, which hit the UK on November 26-27 last year, accounted for the majority of the 8,278 acres of trees felled in total across England.

But the area of ​​trees created in 2021/22 in England was 5,585 acres, meaning more area was lost than gained.

England is significantly behind on the government’s target of planting 18,533 acres a year by 2024/25.

Experts say the UK must increase its tree cover to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050. Trees absorb carbon dioxide which drives up temperatures.

Watering bans survive wet fall

Watering bans remain in parts of the country despite torrential rains.

Three water companies – South East, South West and Yorkshire – still have ‘temporary use bans’ limiting how much can be used.

The National Drought Group yesterday warned that ten of England’s 14 regions were still in drought conditions. The incongruity of the ban was felt in areas of Sussex where there were torrential rains. Lee Dance, from South East Water, said the reservoirs had fallen to low levels in the summer and the ban would be lifted when they recovered.

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South West Water said it had bans in areas with “particularly low” water levels.

Yorkshire Water added that South Yorkshire still has low reservoir levels.

Figures show 31,506 acres were felled in the UK last year – 39 million to 52 million trees – but 34,199 acres were created.

Britain aims to plant 74,132 acres a year – 90 million to 120 million trees.

Forestry Commission chairman Sir William Worsley said: ‘The figures released today highlight the challenges we face with a changing climate and more frequent and extreme storms.

“Now and in the long term, we need a wider range of tree species and age profiles across the country.

“This targeted approach will ensure the long-term resilience of our precious forests.”

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Most of those damaged were pines in commercial forests in the northeast.

The commission said: ‘The overall damage is relatively modest, equivalent to around 0.2% of England’s tree cover and will not impact tree planting targets.’

“Over 90% of the trees that fall as a result of storm damage will be replanted, meaning that only a small percent of the forest is actually lost in the long term when it is not possible to replenish it. .”

Andy Egan of the Woodland Trust said: “The government should be doing more to help all land managers better protect their forests through better advice and grants and more action on other related threats such as tree diseases and biosecurity.”

Sara Lom, of charity The Tree Council, said targets should take into account tree loss as well as areas created.

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