UK forestry policy is devolved in the UK. All four countries have established policies for woodland creation, co-financed through the EU Rural Development Programme.
In England, objectives for forestry are set out in the Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement (2013), including an aspiration to increase woodland cover from 10% to 12% by 2060 and Northern Ireland aims to double woodland cover to 12% by 2056. The policy statement recognises the need to make woodland planting more attractive to landowners and attract private investment to fund it, particularly through the development of payments for ecosystem services as set out by the Ecosystems Market Task Force. The Woodland Carbon Task Force has been established to help deliver emissions education by the forestry sector. A policy on when to convert woods and forests to open habitats in England is in place, which includes as assessment of implications for carbon balance in the process of prioritising sites for restoration. The development of a thriving forestry sector, through an industry-led action plan (Grown in Britain), is highlighted as an essential element to achieve woodland planting aspirations and deliver emissions savings in other sectors through the sustainable use of woodfuel as a source of renewable energy and harvested wood products substituting for other materials.
In Scotland, forestry is recognised as having an important role in contributing to emissions reduction targets through carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation is a specific objective of woodland creation. Following on from the 2012 Woodland Expansion Advisory Group review, a target to create an additional 100,000 ha of new woodland by 2022 was set out in the 2013 Low Carbon Scotland Report. This level of woodland creation aims to reduce Scotland’s emissions by around 4.8 MtCO2e in the period to 2027. To complement woodland creation, a framework to better control woodland removal is also in place along with proposals to further increase emissions abatement through greater use of Scottish timber in building construction and refurbishment. (Wikipedia)