Plans were announced last month for the planting of 50 million trees spanning a 120 mile stretch across the country from Hull to Liverpool, creating The Northern Forest.
The concept, developed by The Woodland Trust and the Community Forests, aims to provide, ‘Major environmental, social and economic benefits that complement the significant growth, investment and new infrastructure that is planned for the north of England’ through ‘improving air quality in our towns and cities; mitigating flood risk in key catchments; supporting the rural economy through tourism, recreation and timber production; connecting people with nature; and helping to deliver improvements to health and wellbeing through welcoming and accessible local green spaces.’
As woodland cover in the north of England currently stands at just 7.6%, significantly below the UK average of 13%, the Northern Forest is anticipated to,
Accelerate the creation of new woodland and support sustainable management of existing woods right across the area.
[cite]Austin Brady, Director of Conservation at The Woodland Trust.[end-cite]
The project is predicted to cost £500 million, with the majority of funding coming from charitable sources, including The Heritage Lottery Fund. The government has pledged £5.7 million to the scheme as part of their 25 Year Environment Plan, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove remarking that, “Trees are some of our most cherished natural assets and living evidence of our investment for future generations.”
First planting is due to commence in March this year at The Woodland Trust’s flagship site in Bolton.
Read the Woodland Trust’s announcement here.