When Europe’s forest goes, Britain will lose most of its forest
Posted On August 9, 2021
The EU is considering new rules that would force British authorities to protect more than 2,500 hectares of forestland that has been cleared to make way for farms and factories.
The plan is a response to a 2011 report by the European Commission that warned the European Union would lose its biggest and most productive forested area within 30 years.
The European Commission said Britain could lose its European Union’s second-biggest and most valuable forested region by the end of this century due to overgrazing, deforestation and climate change.
The British government’s Forest Policy Task Force, chaired by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, says the new rules will make Britain’s forests more attractive to the forestry industry.
Paterson said the measures will protect forests at a time when Europe is facing the largest forests loss in history, and it will also help Britain avoid “unnecessary duplication and duplication of action.”
“I hope this is a wake-up call for governments across Europe, that the way forward is to act in a way that minimizes duplication and reduces unnecessary duplication of actions,” Paterson told the Daily Telegraph.
The Forest Policy task force has called for the EU to reallocate more than 7 million hectares of land to be reforested, and Paterson has pledged to introduce new measures to make sure those lands are kept open for development.
The proposal comes at a crucial time, as the European Central Bank (ECB) and European Union leaders prepare to agree a new bailout deal with the European government, which is currently looking for additional funds.
The new measures could cost the EU billions of euros over the next two years.
According to the European Council on Foreign Relations, Britain’s European Union membership is now estimated to cost more than 1 billion euros ($1.03 billion) a year.
The UK’s new proposals would require the UK to maintain a 25 percent forest cover by 2020, and would require it to protect an additional 2.5 million hectares by 2030.
Patents for the new plans would come with an annual tax, and the government would need to make a profit on every hectare it took in under the rules.
The EU’s Forest Management Authority, the body that would oversee the new proposals, said it was “very concerned about the potential impact” of the new measures on the forest sector.
“It is a real problem that there is a clear lack of clear guidance in relation to how to manage the forest in the European context,” said Andrea Pomeranzini, the EU’s forest policy adviser.
“This needs to be addressed as soon as possible.”
The Forest Agency, the government body responsible for protecting the forest, said the new regulations would be “a big step forward in protecting the environment, the forests and biodiversity of the European continent,” and that it was committed to “providing the EU with the certainty and transparency that it needs to take its future action.”