A high proportion of trees at the People’s Wood at Meary Veg in Santon have failed to take and grow.

Photos shared on social media of the 45-hectare woodland show the sorry state some of the saplings are in.

In April, the government revealed that about 40% of the trees had failed to survive.

This has now been amended to around 50%.

The 113-acre site was officially opened in September, and is planted with a mix of broadleaf trees, with the aim of helping to ‘offset the island’s carbon emissions.’

It was hoped the woodland would contain 85,000 trees - one for every island resident.

Then-Chief Minister Howard Quayle even planted his own tree there, which has been photographed this week, and appears to have been vandalised.

Back in April, Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Jason Moorhouse asked the Chief Minister for progress on the People’s Wood.

Alfred Cannan stated that the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture manages the site and replaces trees that have died.

He said: ‘[They] will continue to do so on an annual basis, as required, for the next four years to ensure a good establishment rate.’

He revealed that by that point, government had spent £81,974 on the Wood.

He said: ‘Treasury provided £258,000 from the contingency fund for expenditure against DEFA’s five-year tree planting strategy, and this was to include the People’s Wood amongst other things.

‘I understand that £110,574 has been spent to date on the People’s Wood. However, £30,000 of that money has been sponsored by Barclays Bank, leaving a total spend from Government of £81,974.

‘I understand that DEFA has planted over 80,000 trees on the site.’

He added: ‘Just in terms of the survival rate, I understand that the current, what they call the beat-up rate, is about 40%, but these trees will be replaced.’

Sharing this week’s photographs on his Facebook page, Mr Moorhouse said: ‘On April 22, 2022, in Tynwald, I asked the Chief Minister for an update on the forest after realising it wasn’t quite what people expected.

‘Given the Chief Minister’s response in early spring, I assumed there might still be hope.’

In response, DEFA said the 50% failure rate at the Meary Veg site was higher than the 20% expected, and blamed the hot and dry weather this year, as well as difficult planting conditions for the failure.

It also said that it’s disappointed that the tree planted by Mr Quayle has been vandalised and that it intends to replace this in the autumn.