“Cutting funding to forestry authorities, for example, is a false economy that will lead to far greater economic losses than it has saved.

“The government’s slow response to the ash dieback problem has once again shown a lack of understanding of the importance of woods and forests to the UK.

Cllr. Abbott continued:“The UK has superb soils and climate for tree growing, yet imports a significant proportion of stock from abroad, both trees and shrubs – including native trees.

“The UK should be able to grow UK trees using native seeds, which would generate local jobs, particularly in rural areas.

“Yet the Government has allowed the import market to continue without strict enough regulation, despite the fact that importing native trees is both economically and environmentally unsustainable.”