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Productive Forestry Planting

Volume 741: debated on Wednesday 29 November 2023

8. Whether his Department has had recent discussions with the Scottish Government on supporting productive forestry planting in Scotland. (900324)

I very much welcome this question, which is timely in National Tree Week. Reforestation is a crucial way for us all to reduce carbon emissions and improve biodiversity across the country. Although this policy is devolved, the UK Government continue to work with the devolved Administrations to deliver UK-wide change in tree planting and establishment.

Conifers, which are the main species planted for productive forestry, account for just under half the area of UK woodland. Does my hon. Friend agree that there should now be a UK-wide target for 60% of new planting to be productive forestry, allowing Scotland to lead the way in delivering a secure supply of raw materials to support British manufacturing and construction?

I thank my hon. Friend for her excellent question. There are high ambitions across the United Kingdom to increase forestry planting. I agree that we must secure a steady supply of the raw materials needed to support Britain’s construction and manufacturing industries.

Last week—[Interruption.] I do not normally get such a cheer.

Last week, the Government announced that there will be a new national park and a new national forest in England. Do the Scottish Government, or the Minister, have any intention of doing something similar for Scotland?

There are great ambitions for an additional national park in Scotland, and my Scottish Conservative colleagues are pushing very hard for that. If the hon. Gentleman needs more information, he should please write to me. I will respond with the required detail.