Britain Lost Thousands of Acres of Woodland due to Storm Arwen

    • During 2021-2022, more than 5,580 acres of trees were planted in Britain. However, more trees blew down than those initially planted.
    • In November 2021, Storm Arwen brought down 8,278 acres of British woodland.
    • Britain plans to plant 90 million to 120 million trees a year.  

Destruction Caused by Storm Arwen

Storm Arwen was a powerful cyclone that hit Europe in November 2021. The devastating storm affected both the United Kingdom and France, causing significant damage across the countries. However, Scotland was the highest affected area in the UK. Storm Arwen’s highest recorded speed was 177km/h in North Yorkshire, England. Shockingly, this wind gust was the highest registered in northeast England since 1984. As a result of these winds, three people lost their lives. But it wasn’t just people who suffered as the unforgiving storm had an enormous impact on trees and woodlands as well. Experts say that Arwen destroyed more than 16 million trees in Britain alone. Initially, the damage was thought to be around 4,000 hectares. Later, authorities realized that the actual number was as much as 8,000 hectares of woodland. Read More: Stand and Deliver: Who Were Britain’s Highwaymen? More than 8 million trees collapsed in Scotland. In contrast, a total of 12 million trees fell in England. Unfortunately, there is no report available for Wales. According to estimates, 11.1 hectares of tree cover was lost in 2021. Undoubtedly, Storm Arwen brought dramatic changes to Britain’s landscape. But, on the contrary, such natural disasters present an opportunity for people to pay attention to improving the environment. Such disastrous moments present an opportunity for forest diversity, provision of wildlife-rich dead wood, and variation within plantations.

Future Plans

Following the huge devastation , Britain has planned to rejuvenate approximately 74,132 acres by planting around 90 million to 120 million trees yearly. The UK Government has vowed to plant 18,533 acres annually by 2024-2025. However, experts suggest that the UK should increase planting for a better environment. At this rate, the UK will be able to hit net zero by 2050. Forestry Commission chairman Sir William Worsley said: “The figures released today highlight the challenges we are facing with a changing climate and more frequent and extreme storm events.” “This targeted approach will ensure the long-term resilience of our precious woodlands.” Read More: Medieval Mass Dials, Do You Know What They Are? According to the Forestry Commission, the damage overall is relatively modest, equating to around 0.2 percent of England’s tree cover, and will not impact tree planting targets. As a result, over 90 percent of trees that fall due to storm damage will be replanted. On the other hand, Forest Research declared that the Government is constantly failing to meet its goals. The Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee and National Audit Office (NAO) criticized Tory ministers for failing to deliver time and again. According to an estimate, the Government is planting at least 30,000 fewer hectares than the initial objective. Trees are necessary for keeping the environment clean and healthy. In addition, the greenery promotes not only biological diversity but also scenic beauty. In any case, relevant authorities must duly protect the well-being of a country’s woodland.