A new ‘Community Forest’ is being created in the North East to support a ‘greener future’.
The Department for Environment, Food & Affairs (Defra), England Community Forests and six local authorities have joined forces for the initiative, which will see 500 hectares of trees planted by 2025 – the long-term target is to increase canopy cover across the region to 30% by 2050.
In the first year alone, enough trees are set to be planted to cover 35 football pitches after receiving £480,000 in funding from Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund.
Lord Goldsmith, Forestry Minister, said: “I am delighted to welcome the North East ‘Community Forest’ to the expanding network of Community Forests across England.
“Supported by our £640 million Nature for Climate Fund, we will plant many thousands of trees and help rewild areas that are most in need.
“Our economies, livelihoods and wellbeing all rely on nature and tackling the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss are at the heart of this project.
“Spending time in nature, particularly around trees, is proven to boost our physical and mental health and wellbeing, so I am pleased this project will be accessible to communities in Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham.”