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Trees | Statistics published by the Forestry Commission show that tree planting rates in England increased last year, but still fell well short of the government’s target. The data reveals that woodland creation increased by 40% to 3,128 hectares, despite a “difficult planting season” affected by drought conditions, according to Defra. Forestry minister Trudy Harrison said these were “record levels” of planting – but failed to mention that they account for less than half of the target, which is 7,000 hectares per year. The Woodland Trust has slammed the figures, calling the progress “near glacial”. Darren Moorcroft, chief executive of the Trust, said: “Every year our response is the same – not enough, not fast enough, not good enough.” He added that the situation could get worse if funding for planting is reduced at the end of the current parliament. Meanwhile, Scottish Forestry is investing £1m in skills training for its front-line staff as it aims to ramp up tree planting rates.
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