Welsh Government to create ‘National Forest’ across Wales
First Minister Mark Drakeford has today announced that the Welsh Government will create a National Forest running the length and breadth of Wales.
Backed by £5m in this year’s Budget, the National Forest will create areas of new woodland and help to restore and maintain some of Wales’ “unique and irreplaceable” ancient woodlands, he said.
And a further £10m of Glastir Woodland creation and restoration funding will be available to increase tree planting across Wales.
The Welsh Government said it would help to boost tourism in Wales, drawing inspiration from the development of the Wales Coast Path, which stretches the entire 870 miles of Welsh coastline and attracts millions of visitors a year.
“Today we plant the seeds of our ambition,” First Minister Mark Drakeford said. “We want to work with farmers, voluntary organisations, councils, environmental experts and local communities to translate our ambitions into immediate action and a shared long-term commitment.
“There is no escaping the huge environmental challenges the world is facing – the February floods have brought that home to us in Wales in the most devastating way.
“We have a responsibility to future generations to protect nature from the dangers of our changing climate but a healthy natural environment will also offer protection to our communities from the dangers we ourselves face.
“In planting, growing and protecting the right network of trees we can increase our resilience to flooding. Trees improve air quality, they remove harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, they provide material for construction, they regenerate soil for food, they clean the water in our rivers and they provide a home to all the life that finds shelter in their canopy.
“We have described our ambition for a National Forest that extends the length and breadth of Wales. As well as significantly increasing our support for tree planting immediately, we will also be undertaking extensive engagement so this can be a collective effort with government, business and communities all working towards a shared goal.”
The First Minister and Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths will taking part in tree planting at the Coed Cadw wood at Gnoll Country Park in Neath, whilst Hannah Blythyn, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government will be tree planting at Coed Y Felin, near Mold.
Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government Hannah Blythyn said: “Our forests play a vital role in sustaining both our wildlife and our communities. By investing in community woodlands like Coed Y Felin as part of the National Forest, we can create new opportunities for people to experience nature in their own communities as part of our wider efforts to reform and improve access.”
The National Forest will be supported by £5m of new funding – this includes £1.5m to support community woodlands. A further £10m of funding for Glastir woodland creation and restoration is being announced today – applications for funding open from March 16 and will go towards increasing tree planting across Wales.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths, said: “The National Forest will provide an important means of strengthening the ecological networks which sustain our ancient woodlands and other vital habitats for wildlife.
“Creating extensive new networks of woodlands is a challenging and long-term ambition, however, the idea is gathering momentum, with many organisations and communities across Wales already getting involved.
“Accelerating the rate of tree planting in Wales requires a whole range of measures and the significant increase in Glastir funding announced today is a major step forward.
“I know Welsh businesses, communities and, particularly, our farmers and foresters, will want to help create the National Forest. In the coming year we will be engaging widely so we are able to design the program in a way which allows everyone to make their contribution.”
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We should plant forests everywhere in Cymru.
Our forests are what allowed Brythons to develop the most effective methods of guerilla warfare in all of human history. No other people on earth have fought a foe for over 800 years (450 – 1283) before being conquered.
Does this article have an author or is it self-written? The ‘National Forest’ was announced last year in the National Development Framework. I wrote about it here. https://jacothenorth.net/blog/national-development-framework/ I suspect that we’re only hearing about it now because people are asking whether chopping down a few million trees, wrecking hillside peat bogs, and replacing them with hundreds of wind turbines, each one sunk in a vast area of concrete, and all connected by roads and trenches might not have contributed to the recent flooding, both in the Valleys and on the Severn below the Powys wind farms. For the politicians… Read more »
Is this the same Royston Jones who under the fig-leaf of Jac o’the North derides every positive idea in Wales whatever its source? I think we should be told. Any populist idea and he’s on to it.
There’s nothing positive about this. it’s old-fashioned political arse-covering.
Good point Royston and well written as always. It’s heartening to know that we have Patriots like yourself who are prepared to say it like it is.
Sure is, and he’s worked hard exposing third sector rubbish and many carpetbagging activities while AM’s seem unaware. If they are unaware, why are they there?
Unaware or complicit ? Letting the third sector run key components of the nation’s social , care and housing requirements with very little evident supervision of scrutiny is utter madness. Now the evolving policy in matters relating to environment and rural communities looks ripe for maturing into a scamfest for another round of manipulative exploiters.
Yes, the WAG needs to make sure that this project doesn’t open the door to the Monbiots of this world. Also, why, in their spiel on tree-planting, is the WAG putting emphasis on”boosting tourism”? Is that the only way Wales can earn a living?
One can play “Dodge the mountainbiker”, as in Llandegla…………….
…and new leisure pursuits mainly for natives – hunt the mountain biker, trap the 4WD nut, snare the litter louts ! Any more ideas ? I’m sure Messrs Drakeford, Skates et al wish welcome new ideas and lavish them with grant aid.
England has been planting a national forest for about twenty years. It is not an original idea but it is still a good one. It has to be branded and presented as new because that is how politics is.
Sorry to say, you are bang on the money, Royston. We who have been banging on about this, for eons it seems
try to stay calm, but really they deserve the pillory, truly! Aren’t some wanting to tear down the Sitka and Larch
then replace with Oak ffs!
I think you mean the consultation for the NDF because the document itself will not be published until the coming September. The idea for a major reforestation has been around since the 70’s and Welsh Water was interested until they discovered the horrific state of water and sewage when they took over. With news that pine plantations are of no use in carbon capture this eek one hopes hat native and broad-leaved trees are used but more crucially that they consider the existing ecology and don’t plant indiscriminately over such as peat bogs. Of course the answer, Royston, is to… Read more »
Yes, you’re right about the consultation. But I still suspect that this announcement links with growing concerns that replacing hillside trees and peat bogs with wind turbines may not be a good idea.
I just hope the trees will be indigenous to Wales – whenever I go for a walk I see former slate community smallholdings surrounded by conifers to provide Fort Knox-like shelter from the wind and humans and to destroy wild, breathtaking views; the hawthorn, holly and other natural hedging species have been relegated to second class status. I’ve conducted a comparison with photographs taken in 1960 and I might as well be living in a foreign country. Yes, let’s promote a national forest by all means but manage it properly to the highest standards. Cull the rampant conifer, nurture native… Read more »
No! Leave as is. All new planting can then be with Oak and Beech. Spruce, conifers to you, can also be very useful for housing frames, etc.
We can abd should plant both so we can meet our growing need for timber on an ongoing basis.
As a former logger AND campaigner for saving the last stands of old growth on Vancouver Island, I can say that the management of forestry in Wales in abominable with little prospect of change. Much of Wales is tree-farms with a 30 – 40 year crop rotation. Toilet paper and cardboard suppliers. A tree takes a minimum 100 years to grow decent timber. Anyone seen those Redwoods in Powys planted in the late 1800’s? Impressive trees. Quality timber. Had they planted a few hundred-thousand back then we would have a sustainable forestry industry. If we want great forests that can… Read more »
I agree with Simon, somehow forestry in this country has become one of the most unsustainable sectors. Forestry is unique in that it’s role can serve local economies, local communities and the environment. It is important that large forestry schemes like this include hardwoods and a softwood component to safeguard against future pests and diseases, climate change and future timber markets, but policy needs to embrace irregular silviculture management approaches, in the same way as Ireland are now following the rest of Europe.
Comment on this, please, Simon. If it was me, I would thin present forest at certain time, with horses or small tractors (as the multi-task machines depress soil , and create havoc, which needs ploughing again.) Seeding trees to be left standing if felling required. Of course, i’m talking about pine and spruce here. We would certainly need ants? Personally, I would grant farmers land extension and leave husbandry to them and not a commision. I know this is basic stuff, but that’s the nature of comments. Another thing, I can’t stand these busybodies, from you know where, trying to… Read more »
If you buried a few busybodies under the topsoil the ants would return in numbers along with a lot of other little bugs that would improve the ecology no end. I’m sure there are enough busybodies around to enable this method of soil improvement right across the length and breadth of any new forested and re-forested areas.
Ha , though wood ants are strange, fussy creatures………………………but perhapsssss…………