Thu 11 Jun, 2020

If we’re going to be serious about restoring our forests and peatlands, we need to up the scale. Mark Ruskell

Attempts to reforest Scotland have missed Scottish Government targets on tree-planting, it has emerged.

Attempts by the Scottish Government to blame the shortfall on the COVID outbreak is ‘pure spin’, according to the Scottish Greens, when only one week of 2019/20 tree planting was during lockdown. 

The latest National Statistics on woodland produced by Forest Research show Scotland planted 10,860 hectares of new woodland, well short of the 12,000 hectares promised by the Scottish Government.

Commenting, Scottish Greens environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “This is disappointing, and once again reveals the gap between the rhetoric on tackling the climate emergency and action to tackle it.

“Even with fossil fuel giant Shell bankrolling reforestation attempts, the Scottish Government couldn’t even meet its own meagre target.

“To blame the COVID crisis for this is pure spin, and comparisons with what Westminster are doing is not helpful.

“If we’re going to be serious about restoring our forests and peatlands, we need to up the scale. The Scottish Greens propose reforesting Scotland to the European average of 40 per cent tree cover, and ensuring that much of that is native forests.

“The current crisis has also revealed that governments can provide an emergency response when they put their mind to it. These concerns must be taken into account when we start to recover from the coronavirus crisis and build back a better Scotland.”

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