§ Mr. Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what plans his Department has made to celebrate and contribute to the Tree Council's annual national tree week from 19 to 27 November;
(2) what plans he has to encourage amenity tree-planting schemes; and how many trees have been planted by his Department in the last 12 months;
(3) if he will support the Tree Council's efforts to increase public awareness of the need for more tree-planting and better tree care.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
My right hon. Friend wholeheartedly supports the Tree Council's effort to increase public awareness of the need for more amenity tree planting by promoting the annual national tree week. Local authorities were encouraged by trees and forestry circular 36/78 to support the council's objectives by fostering local interest and protection through local voluntary groups and schools. My right hon. Friend reaffirms the general message of that circular.
Although the exact number is not recorded, millions of trees are planted each year by the Property Services Agency, which spends at least £2 million annually on tree planting and £¾ million on tree management. In addition, grants of £1.35 million were disbursed by the Countryside Commission on amenity tree planting and woodland management last year. My Department also funds an extensive research programme which among other things has the objective of reducing losses of newly planted trees and encouraging improved tree care.