A new Community Forest in the North East of England will see up to 500 hectares of trees planted by 2025.
To create the Community Forest, six local authorities will work with communities, businesses and landowners to increase tree coverage in Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham.
The aim of the iniative is to increase tree canopy cover across the North East by 30% by 2050.
Thousands of trees will be planted in the first year, thanks to £480,000 in funding from Defra’s Woodland Creation Partnership via the Nature for Climate Fund.
Forestry minister Lord Goldsmith said: ‘I am delighted to welcome the North East Community Forest to the expanding network of Community Forests across England. Supported by our £640m Nature for Climate Fund, we will plant many thousands of trees and help rewild areas that are most in need.
‘Our economies, livelihoods and well-being all rely on nature and tackling the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss are at the heart of this project.
‘Spending time in nature – particularly around trees – is proven to boost our physical and mental health and wellbeing, so I am pleased this project will be accessible to communities in Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham.’
Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: ‘We know that trees and woodlands are of incredible importance to the people of the North East.
‘They help us to create liveable and sustainable communities, contributing to our efforts to tackle climate change, supporting economic and social regeneration, and – particularly in a year when we’ve all spent more time at home – providing welcome opportunities for relaxation and leisure.
“’f trees are planted in the right place, we know that we can reduce the risk of flooding, create new habitat for wildlife, improve air quality, provide positive impacts on human health and wellbeing, boost the economy, provide new jobs, provide timber for sustainable building and energy production and store thousands of tonnes of carbon.’
Photo by GreenForce Staffing