Northern Forest: Mayor urges PM Boris Johnson to back plan to plant 50 million trees across South Yorkshire and the North

A plan to plant millions of trees across South Yorkshire and the north of England will aim to dramatically improve air quality and help offset environmental challenges to come.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 13:28 pm
Updated Friday, 11th October 2019, 11:09 am
The area covered by the Northern Forest. Picture: Woodland Trust

The Northern Forest will see 50 million trees planted over the next 25 years in the north of England by the Woodland Trust and their partners, with more than 600,000 already in the ground.

South Yorkshire metro mayor Dan Jarvis has led on the project and has managed to bring more than 120 cross-party northern leaders and MPs to support the growth.

The forest will span 120 miles, connecting the towns and cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster to the west and Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Leeds and Hull to the east.

Tree planting to commemorate the end of World War One. Pictures at Laithes Primary School , Barnsley. Picture by Chris Bull for Woodland Trust 9/11/18

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The plan, which costs £500 million, could benefit 13 million residents and generate ‘£2.5 billion in social, economic, and environmental’ improvements.

Currently, only 7.6 per cent of the northern England is covered by woodland, considerably lower than the 10 per cent national average.

Mayor Jarvis and 120 northern politicians have co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to formally back the scheme with monetary resources.

Each of the four council leaders in South Yorkshire have backed the scheme along with every county MP bar Sheffield Hallam’s Jared O’Mara.

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis, said: “I’m not aware of something in recent years that’s attracted so many signatures from local authority leaders, metro mayors and MPs across the north of England.

“This is a huge commitment to the environment and this comes on the back of major focus on the current issues we face.

“The Northern Forest includes South Yorkshire so we need to make sure we’re making the most of this opportunity to get as many trees planted.

“We know the challenges we face in this region around air quality and part of the way in which we can improve by trapping millions of tonnes of carbon is planting trees and this scheme provides a big bold plan for doing that.

“We’re hoping for a decent response from government ministers because this is a massive scheme with huge environmental benefits and I can’t see what’s not to like about the Northern Forest.

“I’m talking to the private sector on how they can get involved but we really need national government to really support this and we feel it’s a timely and reasonable request to make.”