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More than a million new trees for Northern Forest as Government provides £15m

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 26/09/2021 Emily Beament
Autumn colours in Smithills Estate woodlands, Bolton. © Provided by Evening Standard Autumn colours in Smithills Estate woodlands, Bolton.

Almost £15 million in funding will pay for more than a million new trees to be planted as part of the Northern Forest project across a swathe of England.

The funding from the Government will help create at least 670 hectares (1,660 acres) of woodland in the scheme which aims to link trees across the M62 corridor from Liverpool to Hull the Woodland Trust said.

The Northern Forest was launched three years ago to establish at least 50 million trees across an area where 13 million people live and which includes Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.

Already three million trees have been planted in the area, which with only 7.6% woodland cover is much more sparsely wooded than the England average.

The funding will help another million trees go in the ground in the next year, according to the Trust which is working with community forests in the region to create the new woods.

Some £6 million will go directly to the Northern Forest, supporting the Woodland Trust’s Grow Back Greener programme, while £8.8 million will go to community forests within the area through the Trees for Climate programme.

We desperately need more trees up here for both people and wildlife

TV Presenter George Clarke

The Northern Forest has been backed by TV presenter George Clarke who said: “Being a northerner myself we are proud of some of the glorious countryside we have up here but it’s always surprising to me how low tree cover is in the region.

“We desperately need more trees up here for both people and wildlife.

“It’s great to see investment going into supporting something so positive and it’s inspiring that from Liverpool to Hull there will be places for people to go and enjoy a bit of green space.”

Simon Mageean, the Woodland Trust’s programme director for the Northern Forest, said: “This new funding is massively significant for this project and enables us to push on with this new phase.

The funding will help increase woodland cover (The Woodland Trust/PA) © Provided by Evening Standard The funding will help increase woodland cover (The Woodland Trust/PA)

“It will allow us to establish over one million new trees this winter and connect them better to the wider landscape, together with new woodlands in urban areas and rural areas across the Northern Forest.

“Not only do these new trees have the power to transform people’s lives through all the green space they bring in areas of traditionally low tree cover, they are also set to bring a big boost to our fight against climate change and encourage nature recovery.”

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “There has never been a more exciting time for tree planting and I am delighted that through our Nature for Climate Fund we will see at least a million more trees being planted in the Northern Forest in the next year, contributing to our overall commitment to increase tree-planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this Parliament.”

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