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Forest and Woodland Conservation

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 20 April 2022

4. What steps he has taken to conserve forests and woodlands to deliver on the leader’s declaration on forests and land use agreed at COP26. (906487)

The forests declaration is an unprecedented commitment from 141 countries, covering 90% of global forests, to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030. It is underpinned by $16 billion of public and private finance, by sustainable trade and by support for indigenous people’s rights. We are working closely with the declaration’s endorsers to implement it.

I thank the Minister for recently visiting my constituency. She will know that North Norfolk is blanketed with ancient forests and woodlands. It is very encouraging that woodland coverage is increasing across the UK and that the Government are committed to preventing the loss of forest. Will the Minister update the House on what progress she is making to increase levels of woodland wildlife as well?

It was a pleasure to visit my hon. Friend’s wonderful constituency and great, as ever, to hear about the precious ancient woodland in North Norfolk. We are acting on the need to increase wildlife in Britain in many ways: through the Environment Act 2021, the Government have committed to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030; we are using the nature for climate fund to accelerate tree planting that improves biodiversity; and we are increasing funding to bring woodlands into active management, which is fundamental to the enhancement and conservation of wildlife.

We know that deforestation is causing huge issues for indigenous people around the world. What more can the Government do to put pressure on Governments worldwide, and particularly in Brazil, to prevent deforestation from being carried out by companies that operate here in the UK?

The hon. Lady raises a vital point of which we are fully aware, which is why 141 countries signed that commitment in Glasgow to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation. The Government introduced a “due diligence” clause in the Environment Act, so we are making our businesses look at the sustainability of their forest products. We are leading by example, but we have a great deal more work to do around the globe to stop deforestation.