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Tax relief suggested for forests

Farmers who plant forest should be exempt from inheritance tax, an influential committee of MPs has suggested.

(Source: www.telegraph.co.uk, 19 Mar 2010)

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee said millions more trees need to be planted across Britain to tackle climate change and improve the environment.

To encourage landowners to plant trees, they called on ministers to provide tax relief for farmers who plant trees.

At the moment agricultural land is exempt from inheritance tax, but it is more difficult to get exemptions for land with trees.

Michael Jack, Chairman of the EFRA committee, said the taxation system must make it favourable to plant trees.

"We do not want the inheritance tax regime to be any the less advantageous for forestry compared to the use of land for agricultural purposes," he said.

"Which is why we are asking Defra and the Treasury to look at this to make sure there is nothing in the inheritance tax regime that stops people putting land forward for afforestation."

The committee published a report on a Government scheme to plant trees in the Midlands known as the National Forest.

The project resulted in seven million trees being planted across 200 square miles of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire. It also resulted in the development of tourism and leisure opportunites in a deprived area.

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