Cheshire and Merseyside to benefit from new national commitment to tree planting

18 May 2021

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the RT Hon George Eustice MP, visited Delamere Forest today (Tuesday 18 May) to launch the England Trees Action Plan and announced over £25 million in support for woodland creation partnerships.

The Mersey Forest, one of eleven Community Forests across England (ECF) has welcomed news of the announcement which will enable the second year of a new, five-year ECF programme called ‘Trees for Climate’ which was launched in December 2020 and which has already delivered hundreds of hectares of tree planting across the country.

Cheshire West and Chester Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and pledged to support schemes to accelerate tree planting in the area. The Trees for Climate programme is already helping to do this with 52 hectares of trees planted in 59 sites within urban parks, greenspaces and on farmland across the Mersey Forest Area. The Council is playing a leading role nationally by acting as the legal accountable body for the whole programme. 

The priority of the programme is to help the UK’s efforts to reach net zero whilst also helping to reduce flood risk, increase sustainable UK grown timber, provide more places for nature and biodiversity to thrive, and increase people’s access to and enjoyment of woodland.

The funding will also create new jobs and secure existing ones within the forestry and environmental sector, helping to boost local economies as part of a green recovery.

Forestry Commission Chair, Sir William Worsley said: "The climate emergency means we need new trees, woodland and forests more than ever before. They are vital for absorbing carbon dioxide, but also for providing homes for wildlife, helping reduce flood risk, to offering huge benefits for our health and wellbeing. The plans announced today are hugely exciting and map out how trees will be part of the solution to getting to Net Zero."

Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, said: “The Mersey Forest are pleased to be working alongside England’s Community Forests helping to deliver the England Trees Action Plan. The first five months of the Trees for Climate project have already been really positive, and we look forward to working with local communities to plant many more hectares of woodland in the year ahead to help combat climate change and help nature recover around our towns and cities.

“We know that there is huge potential for more trees and woodland across England, and by focusing our efforts around urban areas – which is what we do as a Community Forest – we guarantee that the maximum public benefit is delivered.”

Councillor Matt Bryan, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Climate Emergency and Vice Chair of The Mersey Forest, said: “This is good news. Many of our communities have already been involved in helping to plant trees locally, something that will help us to achieve our target of becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2045 and which will benefit all our residents for years to come. Over 9 million trees have been planted through the Mersey Forest partnership to date and the additional funding will help us to add further woodlands to our area, enhance local biodiversity and our natural landscape.”

Trees for Climate is part of the wider Nature for Climate fund, helping to treble tree planting and deliver the English portion of the government’s manifesto commitment to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares by the end of this Parliament. This will be backed by over £500 million of climate finance. 

Any landowners who have land suitable for tree planting and are interested in getting involved in the next phase of planting, which will start in October 2021, should contact The Mersey Forest Team by emailing: mail@merseyforest.org.uk
 

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