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80% of land bought by Labour for tree-planting is tree-free

Figures uncovered by the Welsh Conservatives have revealed that a large majority of land purchased for tree-planting has no trees planted on it.

According to Natural Resources Wales (NRW), approximately 152,000 trees have been planted on 61.36 hectares for new woodland creation. However, a total of 302 hectares, at a cost of £3.5 million, had been purchased leaving 80% tree-free

Figures also show that from 2020/21 to 2021/22, the number of trees more than halved and the number of hectares planted fell by nearly two-thirds.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative Shadow Climate Change Minister Janet Finch-Saunders MS said:

“There is a huge ambition shared across Welsh society to play a part in tackling climate change, but we know it isn’t easy. Whilst tree-planting is just a small aspect of the solution, it can prove controversial if it takes up land that could be better deployed, for farming or housing, for instance.

“Which is why it is so frustrating to see millions of pounds spent by an arm of the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay on land to plant those trees, only for a huge majority of it to be lying empty and unplanted over several years.

“It is a shame to be highlighting shortcomings rather than progress during Wales Climate Week, but we will never get anywhere if the Labour Government cannot even be embarrassed into action.”

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