By planting over 9 million trees, The Mersey Forest is improving the image of our towns and cities, a vital foundation for attracting investment, skilled workers and tourists to the area. Improvements are targeted at key sites such as derelict eyesores or key transport gateways to provide maximum impact.
The economic benefit from all of this is clear: in St.Helens, £15 million was added to property values according to the District Valuer thanks to the development of a community woodland on a former colliery site (pictured below). US and UK studies have shown that houses prices in tree-lined streets can be worth 18% more than those in tree-less streets.
The Mersey Forest has a creative and innovative approach to working with businesses for the benefit of the region. We help bring timber suppliers together with the North West's top craftspeople to create great new products through our Timber Network.
150 new jobs have been created and training programmes run to help excluded pupils get back on track. Businesses ranging from United Utilities to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have also contributed to the creation of the Forest through our Corporate Social Responsibility programmes.
A new generation of Forest Parks is developing visitor infrastructure and attracting visitors, and there is something for everyone at our walks and cycle rides website, Discover The Mersey Forest.
For every £1 invested in The Mersey Forest, £8 of outputs is generated thanks to the way we maximise funding. £31 million of investment in projects has been secured so far. When surveyed, 100% of the Forest's local authority partners were satisfied or very satisfied with their investment in the Forest.
Through the Natural Economy Northwest project, research from ECOTEC and AMION sets out a wealth of evidence to show how our green infrastructure adds real value to the region's economy categorised into 11 key benefits:
|Economic growth and investment
Businesses attract and retain more motivated staff in greener settings
|Land and property values
Views of natural landscapes can add up to 18% to property values
Green spaces near workplaces reduce sickness absence, increasing productivity
Rural tourism supports 37,500 jobs in the North West
|Products from the land
40,000 people work in agriculture in the North West
|Health and well being
Green infrastructure reduces pollution which leads to asthma and heart disease
|Recreation and leisure
Footpaths, cycle paths and bridleways enable healthy, low-cost recreation
|Quality of place
Community-owned green spaces can create jobs and local pride
|Land and biodiversity
Green infrastructure provides vital habitats and jobs managing the land
|Flood alleviation and management
Urban green spaces reduce pressure on drainage and flood defences
|Climate change adaptation and mitigation
Green infrastructure can counter soaring summer temperatures in cities
Through these 11 benefits, the Forest makes a huge economic contribution to the North West.
Find out more about the wide range of Mersey Forest projects taking place that bring all of these economic benefits to the local area.