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Tree Felling

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of levels of deforestation in England; and if he will make a statement. (150073)

A national survey of trees and woodland is carried out every 15-20 years by the Forestry Commission. The most recent inventory was published in 2001 and the next survey is planned to start next year. When completed this will enable an assessment of deforestation (i.e. the area of woodland lost between the two surveys) to be carried out. However, the Forestry Commission estimates that the current level of deforestation in England is running at between 500 and 1,000 hectares per year. This is almost entirely due to the removal of planted woodland to restore priority open habitats including lowland heath and upland peat bog.

New woodland creation has averaged almost 5,000 hectares per year over the last five years, outweighing the area lost to open habitat restoration.