Petition closed with 10,507 signatures
Thanks to all who signed. Altogether, though, a pretty non-committal response (both from the public and the Government).
Government response 21May2021
The Government is exploring whether a statutory target for woodland creation in England would be appropriate.
The Government has committed to increase the rate of new woodland creation across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament and to at least treble tree planting rates to deliver improved biodiversity, climate, economic and societal benefits.
England will have at least 12% woodland cover by mid-century, contributing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Woodlands will be managed for biodiversity and other environmental and societal benefits, along with providing a sustainable source of timber and other products.
We are exploring whether a longer-term statutory target for woodland creation in England would be appropriate, including possible interactions with other potential environmental targets.
The Environment Bill, currently passing through Parliament, seeks to introduce a mechanism for the Secretary of State to set targets in a number of environmental areas, including woodland creation. The development of any environmental targets will follow a robust, evidence-led process that includes a statutory requirement to seek independent expert advice and a role for stakeholders and the public, as well as scrutiny from Parliament.
We are working towards a public consultation for publication in early 2022 that will include proposed targets and an assessment of their impacts. The newly published England Trees Action Plan sets out plans for achieving an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by the Nature for Climate Fund. This programme of work will support the Government’s tree planting ambitions over the course of this Parliament and help to increase woodland creation rapidly in England.Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs
tl;dr The UK is hosting the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference and has already enshrined a net zero carbon emissions target in law. Now is the time for the UK government to set a legally-binding tree planting target, in line with the recommendation by the Committee on Climate Change.
Link to petition: Enshrine tree planting target in law
Deadline: 13 May 2021 (all petitions run for 6 months)
Number of signatures:
10,000 required for the government to respond
100,000 required for ‘consideration’ (whatever that means) for debate in Parliament
I joined OVO energy’s ‘Community Hub’ yesterday. Why? Because I was trying to find a way of contacting OVO — as far as I could see, their site contains neither an email address nor a contact telephone number. Signing up for the forum was the only way I could find to start a conversation with anyone there. (This is totally irrelevant, but I’m in rant mode now: I wanted to talk to OVO because I’m working on another blog post, one that’s now in draft awaiting their response, that makes reference to some research they commissioned in November 2019 about the connection between ‘unnecessary emails’ and carbon emissions in the UK. And I couldn’t find any links to the actual research. And since there’s so much disinformation, misinformation and outright lies on the Internet, I didn’t want to risk falling foul of the possibility of becoming part of the problem, so wanted my post to link to the research. OK, rant over.)
So, anyway, I posted a request on the OVO Community Hub for access to this research, and was promptly advised that they’d get back to me. Job done! The chap who responded invited me to take a look at their ‘Plan Zero‘ area dedicated to cutting carbon, so I did. And the first post I looked at there was this one about a petition calling for the UK’s tree-planting target to be enshrined in law (I’m a tree-hugger at heart; that post sort of leapt out at me).
… and that post linked to another with more information — here’s a short snippet from that one:
What the Government is doingOVO Energy blog post Monday 30 November 2020
Well, the good news is the Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] has recently committed to planting 30,000 hectares each year in his 10 point green plan to tackle climate change. But without a legally-binding target in place, the government’s efforts may keep falling short, as they have done over the past year. Sadly, we fell 71% short of targets in planting trees in the year to March 2019.
‘Sign our petition and call for more trees!‘
… and one thing led to another, and I ended up being the 5050th person to sign the petition. As urged by the OVO Community Hub, I also tweeted about it. Oh, and I wrote to my MP, too.
And now I’m willing to bet you wish you’d just followed the link to the petition in the ‘tl;dr’ section I offered you at the head of the page rather than wading through all this rambling nonsense. Assuming that you’re still reading it, that is.
 As an aside, the autoresponse message I got from that linked to a page that the message claimed contained ‘responses to all campaigns‘ — it’s currently ‘404 not found’. To all those who believe that we need ‘smaller government’ I say, “you’re absolutely wrong about that; we need to divert more resources to those who represent us so that society has the wherewithal to actually tackle the problems instead of constantly kicking the can down the road!” — see my blog post ‘Why governments need to be bigger‘.