Landowners, farmers and small holders can access a package of practical and financial support to plant woodlands in areas of County Durham.
Free training and funding is available to plant new woodlands and manage existing ones in the county, through two partnership schemes.
People managing land within a 10-mile radius of the city can receive support through the Durham Woodland Revival programme, which aims to create 81 hectares of new woodland, approximately the size of Durham City centre, by 2023.
Additionally, land managers in the North Pennines Area of outstanding Natural Beauty and along the A68 corridor can utilise advice, woodland surveys and grants through the North Pennines Woodland Project.
Cllr Mark Wilkes, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: ‘Integrating trees into a landscape is hugely beneficial for people, wildlife and the environment. We are looking to improve the management of existing woodland, particularly ancient woodland, both on the council’s own estate and on privately owned land.
‘Many farms have an unproductive or awkward pocket of land, which would be perfect to introduce planting on, or woodland which is not currently being managed.
‘Through these two initiatives we want to engage with busy land managers and farmers to help them find the best ways to introduce more planting on their land and to better manage the woodlands they already have, to make them more profitable and better for the environment.’
The Durham Woodland Revival has been funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Council and the Woodland Trust, and hopes to strengthen the area’s resilience to tree disease and the effects of climate change.
Grants are available through the scheme to plant areas between 0.1 and 3 hectares, with experienced foresters available to advise on how best to create or run woodland to benefit both the landowners’ incomes and the environment.
The North Pennines Woodland Project is jointly funded by the Council, the Woodland Trust and Northumbrian Water Ltd, and is working with landowners to explore options for tree planting, looking at the best locations, the ideal mix of species and identifying potential future benefits to the farming business and nature.