RESPONDING to a new report published by Friends of the Earth, the SNP has challenged the next UK government to match Scotland’s record and ambitious targets for tree planting.

The FOTE report strongly criticises the UK's 'opaque, complicated and confusing' public funding system for tree planting, and notes that, despite widespread support for more trees to be planted to absorb atmospheric carbon, planting rates have actually been falling.

"Levels are far below what’s required if trees, woodlands and forests are to play their full and rightful role in carbon storage, restoring nature and helping to improve soils, cut flood risk, clean our air and cool our towns and cities," said FOTE, which added that UK governments were spending on average less than £1 per person per year on trees.

Recent figures published by the House of Commons Library illustrate the significant gap between tree planting in Scotland and the rest of the UK – last year alone, 22 million trees were planted north of the border, making up nearly 84% of the UK’s mainland planting total.

Responding to the FOTE report, SNP environment spokesperson Deidre Brock, said: “Ahead of National Tree Week next week, the main Westminster parties must commit to further funding for tree planting across the UK and to match the SNP’s record and ambitious targets for the future.

“The new report by the Friends of the Earth also reveals that funding in England fell sharply by 43% between 2017-18, whereas funding in Scotland for tree planting and forestry increased within that same period.

“This is one of the most important general elections in Scotland’s history and climate change will be one of the biggest challenges for any incoming government in Westminster. With the Confederation of Forest Industries’ (Confor) recognising the SNP’s record, it is high time both Labour and the Tories go beyond rhetoric and take action," said Ms Brock.

The FOTE report can be accessed at