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Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL14932, tabled on 14 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the acreage of ancient woodlands lost in England in each of the last ten years.

Answered on

28 April 2021

The irreplaceable nature of ancient woodlands as a habitat is recognised in our 25 Year Environment Plan. We will also be publishing this spring our England Trees Action Plan, which will set out our long-term vision for trees, including ancient woodlands.

The Government is committed to protecting ancient woodlands. In 2016, the National Forest Inventory report " Preliminary estimates of the changes in canopy cover between 2006 and 2015" found that overall, in England the level of permanent ancient woodland loss to other land uses was 57 hectares or 0.02% between 2006-2015. A copy of the report is attached to this answer.

Natural England and the Woodland Trust have an active project to revise Natural England's Ancient Woodland Inventory to cover the whole of England. This will include mapping smaller ancient woodland between 0.25 and 2ha, as the original inventory only included woodlands above 2ha, to provide a better assessment of these irreplaceable habitats.