One million trees are to be planted in the North of England to protect against floods and build a carbon sink.
Last month saw the planting of over 14,000 trees at Ogden Water marking the start of a partnership that will see one million trees planted on land owned by Yorkshire Water and leased by the Woodland Trust to help expand the White Rose Forest as part of the new Northern Forest project.
A mixture of native trees and shrubs including oak, beech and silver birch will be planted at Ogden Water to enhance the biodiversity of the site whilst protecting its archaeology and retaining public access.
The Northern Forest project will see oak, beech and silver birch planted to enhance biodiversity, improve flood protection and act as a carbon sink.
More than 50 million trees will be planted from Liverpool to Hull, under The Northern Forest project, which is expected to be completed by 2042. The project is the first of its kind for more than a quarter of a century.
Spanning more than 120 miles between the cities of Hull, 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 – as well as providing a tranquil space to be enjoyed by millions of people living in the area.
With a population in excess of 13m that is expected to rise by 9% over the next 20 years and with woodland cover at just 7.6%, below the UK average of 13%, and far below the EU average of 38%, the Woodland Trust believe the North of England is ripe to reap the benefits of such a project.
The Northern Forest will both accelerate the creation of new woodland and support sustainable management of existing woods right across the area.
The creation of The Northern Forest will deliver a better environment for all by improving air quality in towns and cities; mitigating flood risk in high risk catchments; supporting the rural economy though 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.
Simon Mageean, Woodland Trust’s Northern Forest Programme Director said: “England is losing tree cover. We need to make sure we are protecting our most important habitats such as Ancient Woodland as well as investing in new ways to increase tree planting and expand woodland cover in the right places.
“A new Northern Forest will strengthen and accelerate the benefits of community forestry, support landscape scale working for nature, deliver a wide range of benefits, including helping to reduce flood risk, and adapt some of the UK’s major towns and cities to projected climate change. The North of England is perfectly suited to reap the benefits of a project on this scale.”
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea