The bishop of Liverpool, the Rt Rev James Jones, said he believed ash dieback, the disease threatening 80 million trees across the UK, had “reawakened” people to the importance of forests in their lives. He has called for the restructuring of the Forestry Commission whose remit, he said, is out of date.

“You have to take the tree cycle out of the political cycle. The political cycle is three to four years, the tree cycle is 50 to 200 years. You need a policy that isn’t changed by every new government, but is respected and adhered to as being vital to our national interests.”