UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans for a new Northern Forest as part of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. Source: Timberbiz
Ambitious plans to create a new ‘Northern Forest’ along the M62 corridor have been kick-started following an announcement by the Prime Minister.
Following backing from the Environment Secretary Michael Gove, over the next 25 years the Woodland Trust and Community Forest Trust are aiming to plant more than 50 million trees from Liverpool to Hull, with the government providing almost £6 million to launch the first project of its kind for more than a quarter of a century.
Spanning more than 120 miles between the cities of Bradford, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, the proposed Northern Forest will help boost habitats for woodland birds and bats and protect iconic species such as the red squirrel – alongside providing a tranquil space to be enjoyed by millions of people living in the area.
The announcement forms part of the government’s upcoming 25 Year Environment Plan, which will set out how to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it.
Prime Minister Theresa May said that it was vital that we leave our planet in a better state than we found it, with cleaner air, stronger protections for animal welfare and greener spaces for everyone to enjoy.
The first planting will begin in March this year, supported by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, at the Woodland Trust’s 680-hectare Northern Forest flagship site at Smithills, Bolton. The Woodland Trust is already committed to investing over £10 million in this project and several others over the wider forest area.
The Northern Forest will connect the five Community Forests in the north of England – the Mersey Forest, Manchester City of Trees, South Yorkshire Community Forest, the Leeds White Rose Forest and the HEYwoods Project – with green infrastructure and woodland created in and around major urban centres such as Chester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Manchester.
It will follow on from the successful National Forest, which transformed 200 square miles of industrial site in the heart of England.