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500 hectare planting boost for England’s Community Forests - Defra

New £12.1 million fund to plant over 500 hectares of trees in ten Community Forests over the next five months.

Over 500 hectares will be planted with trees across England’s ten Community Forests, from Yorkshire to Somerset, backed by £12.1 million of investment, the government announced today (6 December). This will also build the pipeline of projects for community planting in future years.

The new programme - Trees for Climate - will see trees planted in community forests across the country over the next five months. When mature, the trees will eventually store over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, playing an important role in the meeting the government’s net zero emissions by 2050 target. The project will also 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 Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: “Through this exciting new programme we will build back greener, as more communities - particularly those in urban environments – will have access to nature, with real benefits for health and wellbeing. Trees are the backbone of our urban and rural environments and essential in tackling the climate emergency. This vital programme will plant trees where they are most needed to stem flooding and provide more places for nature to thrive.”

Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest and the Chair of England’s Community Forests, said: “Our Trees for Climate programme will plant millions more trees around England’s town and cities, targeted at areas where they can make the greatest difference, in particular to local quality of life and levels of health and wellbeing. The national network of Community Forests has been working for over 25 years to bring nature closer to people and local communities and is perfectly placed to deliver real change, on the ground.”

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