The Northern Forest is a 25-year plan to plant 50 million trees and generate £2 billion – more than $2.7 billion – for England’s economy in the process.
The northern half of England, from Liverpool to Hull, spans more than 100 miles coast to coast. Large metropolitan areas dot the landscape, including Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield. It also marks the future home of England’s next big forest.
This week, the British government backed a project led by The Woodland Trust and the Community Forest Trust, two local conservation groups. Estimates project the cost for the undertaking to be around £500 million (nearly $676 million) for a new forest that comprises more than 50 million trees across 52,000 acres.
The project will connect five established forests in what the Environment Secretary Michael Gove called “a vast ribbon of woodland cover in northern England stretching from coast to coast, providing a rich habitat for wildlife to thrive, and a natural environment for millions of people to enjoy.”
North England Woods
Clean air, beautiful vistas, and hiking: What’s not to like? The Woodland Trust aims to protect important habitats like ancient woodlands and invest in new forest creation plans.
In light of the rising population and “dramatically low” tree-planting rates, there was need for “drastic change,” according to The Woodland Trust. The new forest is designed to improve air quality, lower flood risk, and boost the rural economy through timber production, tourism, and recreation.
“Our vision is a U.K. rich in native woods and trees, for people and wildlife,” reads the non-profit’s mission. “We’ve over 500,000 members and supporters and more than 1,000 sites, covering over 26,000 hectares, all over the U.K.”
In total, the forest is predicted to sequester more than 7 million tons of carbon and reduce flood risk for 190,000 homes. The organization picked this site to deliver the maximum benefits for air quality, water, recreation, and biodiversity.