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17 November 2017, 23:44
Britain's ancient woodlands are under threat as the rate of tree planting fails to keep up with the number being ripped up by developers.
Despite the Government's manifesto pledge to plant 11 million new trees in the five year to 2020, tree-planting in England has plummeted to its lowest rate since 1971.
The last time the Forestry Commission planted trees in England was in 2008 and, while Scotland has fared somewhat better, the last planting of new trees in Wales was in 1992.
Some 780 ancient woodlands are under threat from new homes, transport projects, quarries and golf courses.
Austin Brady from the Woodland Trust told Sky News: "The Government have a laudable aspiration to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than they inherited it.
"The combination of poor planting rates, irreplaceable ancient woodland lost for projects like High Speed 2 but also 700 small individual cases of woodland being lost to planning applications right across the country.
"If we don't get a handle on that scenario, every tree that we plant may not even be enough to take the place of the woodland that is being lost."
DEFRA has responded to this report and reiterated the Government's commitment to planting 11 million new trees in the lifetime of this parliament.
(c) Sky News 2017: Calls for more trees as planting figures hit 46-year low