Northern forest to span width of the country along M62

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CHESTER and Ellesmere Port are to included in a new forest for the north of England with more than 50 million trees.

The project will embrace the major cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Chester and Hull as well as major towns across the north. With a population in excess of 13m that is expected to rise by 9% over the next 20 years and with woodland cover at just 7.6%, below the United Kingdom average of 13%, and far below the European Union average of 44%.

Environment secretary Michael Gove made it sound appealing, but then used the heinous term "Green Brexit" for some god bad reason, explaining: "This new Northern Forest is an ambitious and exciting project that will create 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".

Austin Brady, the Woodland Trust's conservation director, said it will deliver a better environment for all by locking up carbon on a large scale, boosting wildlife and "greening" towns and cities, while Environment Secretary Michael Gove said it is an "ambitious and exciting project that will create a vast ribbon of woodland cover in northern England stretching from coast to coast".

The new forest will be centred on the M62 corridor.

"Tree planting rates are dramatically low with tree planting in 2016 being only 700ha against the Government's target of 5,000ha a year; there is a need for drastic change". The rural economy is also set to receive a huge boost, thanks to sustainable timber production and rural tourism. 'A haven'Farmers and landowners could also be incentivised through grants to help plant new woodland. We need to make sure we are protecting our most important habitats such as ancient woodland as well as investing in new major woodland creation schemes.

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Paul Nolan, director of the Mersey Forest added: "The Northern Forest will complement the planned £75bn of hard infrastructure investment across the M62 corridor".

Led by the Woodland Trust, it will be created by connecting five Community Forests, including Leeds White Rose Forest, Hull's HEYwoods Project and South Yorkshire Community Forest.

"We have shown that we can lock up over 7 million tonnes of carbon as well as potentially reduce flood risk for 190,000 homes".

There are now five Community Forests that sit within the proposed area for the Northern Forest including, City of Trees, White Rose Forest, Mersey Forest, HEYwoods and South Yorkshire Forest.

"But to create an environment fit for the future we can't stop there, and that is why we are supporting the creation of this new Northern Forest and will shortly be setting out our ambitious vision to further support the environment and protect its good health for generations to come".

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