Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has today welcomed the Welsh Government’s “national call to arms” to significantly expand the green canopy in Wales and has pledged to work with the government and partners to achieve a dramatic increase in tree planting.

The call comes after NRW worked as part of the Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters MS’ task force charged with exploring ways to expedite tree planting in Wales.

Over an intensive three-week period, a team of experts came together to develop a series of recommendations aimed at supporting woodland creation and focus upon removing barriers to tree planting. The expert team also investigated ways of increasing the value and amount of sustainably grown Welsh timber used in Wales.

This work builds on NRW’s existing efforts to increase tree coverage in Wales through an existing Woodland Creation Programme. This covers a wide range of work including expanding the NRW managed Welsh Government Woodland Estate; scoping new funding avenues for woodland creation; and ongoing work to reduce the regulatory burden of woodland creation without compromising vital environmental safeguards.

Clare Pillman, Chief Executive Officer of NRW said: “Woodland creation is an essential part of creating a healthier and prosperous Wales.

“We are determined to contribute towards Welsh Government’s ambition to be carbon net zero by 2050 through planting up to 180,000 hectares of new woodland and hedges.

“We are all facing climate and nature crises and large-scale tree planting will help us tackle both. It will also provide significant benefits to everyone in Wales. I am delighted at the new momentum tree planting is enjoying in Wales.”

NRW was represented on the task force by its Executive Director of Communications, Customer and Commercial, Sarah Jennings.

She said: “It has been a pleasure to work alongside experts from across Wales and across sectors on the findings set out by the Deputy Minister.

“We have worked together with common purpose to understand the barriers to tree planting and how they can be overcome.

“The benefits of tree planting are too great to pass up; they provide a range of substantial environmental, economic, cultural and wellbeing benefits.

“I’m looking forward to working with the Deputy Minister and our partners in an alliance for change across Wales to develop the recommendations into actions that will have a real and positive impact on Wales’ future.”

NRW will continue to work with the Welsh Government and its partners to further the extensive tree planting ambitions in Wales and to deliver the many benefits this can provide to us all.

Natural Resources Wales