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PLANS FOR WOODLAND CREATION IN SOUTH-WEST NATIONAL PARKS

Exmoor National Park Authority hosted an event with the Forestry Commission yesterday (Wednesday) to promote good practice for woodland creation in Exmoor and Dartmoor, as part of the Government’s long-term priority to increase the UK’s tree cover.

This follows a joint ambition to expand and enhance woodland in National Parks between the Forestry Commission and National Parks England, as part of an Accord announced last summer and echoed in the Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan.

Exmoor Pony courtesy Exmoor Park authority It’s the first of several workshops taking place across the country, bringing together landowners with key partners to outline design principles for expanding wooded areas across these landscapes, while remaining sensitive to the important species, habitats and cultural heritage for which they are designated.

Both National Park Authorities are in the process of drawing up detailed action plans towards becoming carbon neutral having this year voted to declare Climate Emergencies, with efforts to increase tree cover likely to play an important role.

Graeme McVittie, Exmoor National Park’s Senior Woodland Officer, said: “Increasing tree cover in our National Parks offers huge potential benefits, from locking away carbon and reducing flood risk, to improving habitat connectivity, biodiversity and even people’s wellbeing. We’re pleased to be working with the Forestry Commission, landowners, communities and our partners to promote approaches that are both sustainable and sensitive to the unique character and beauty of these precious landscapes.”

Margaret Paren, Chair of National Parks England, said: “This initiative, the first of a number of events around the country, underscores the shared desire by National Parks and the Forestry Commission to see new trees planted carefully that follow the principles of the right tree in the right place. I welcome this initiative and hope this good practice will be reflected in the Government’s forthcoming Tree Strategy.”

Richard Paton of the Forestry Commission said: “Trees and woodland play such an important role, shaping the landscape, supporting rural livelihoods, protecting wildlife, removing carbon dioxide from the air and providing opportunities for people to get outdoors and lead healthy, active lives.

“By working together the Forestry Commission and the National Park Authorities can not only create new resilient woodlands in the right places, but enable existing woodlands to adapt to our changing climate.”

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