Written Evidence submitted by Northumberland County Council (TPW0034)
Creating new, natural environments that our children, families, communities, businesses, climate and wildlife will cherish and benefit from for decades to come is the principle driver for Northumberland to plant forests and woodlands.
We wish to leave a better, more diverse, and more productive natural environment for future generations which can be sustained.
Please find some comments and thoughts to the question raised in this inquiry.
3. This is not an area we are able to fully reply on.
4. One area of past planting was the financial incentive to plant nonnative commercial forests which impacted on nature or sections of nature which made them attractive to a select number of people as visitors and species. This led to commercial forests rather than the right trees in the right places for the right reasons, a whole approach was not considered deeply enough.
5. Mitigating or adapting to climate change should be one of the top priorities when it comes to increasing forest cover. Planting trees is a natural way of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it underground. With the aim of achieving net zero by 2050, planting more tree will help sequester existing emissions. It is also important to increase forest cover for biodiversity. With so much woodland being lost for human prosperity for infrastructure and fuel, it is often disregarded as an important habitat for flora and fauna. Increasing biodiversity will have even more positive benefits on the wider environment. Improving the air quality and rising biodiversity levels will also mean a positive effect on our health and wellbeing. With COVID-19 showing how important outdoor recreation, green spaces and nature is, it is now more than ever, that more trees should be planted to ensure that future generations learn the importance of protecting natural heritage.
6. With the current BPS in place, farmers may be less inclined to use their land to plant trees. With the ELMs scheme due to replace it, this may see a shift in land use patterns as the ‘public goods for public money’ approach begins to take shape.