We welcome the government's new 25 Year Environment Plan, which aims to increase woodland cover to 12% and provide high quality, accessible, natural spaces close to where people live and work.
The new Plan
features the work of The Mersey Forest as a case study to illustrate the goal of increasing green infrastructure in urban areas.
Chair of the Mersey Forest Steering Group, Pat McCloskey said:
"It is great to see that the hard work of the Mersey Forest Partnership is recognised in the new 25 Year Plan for the environment. We particularly welcome the focus on how, by creating new community woodlands, we can help to improve health and wellbeing of our communities and also the increasing focus on how natural flood management can help reduce flood risk. We look forward to using this impetus to continue to deliver the Mersey Forest Plan."
Good news for trees and the growth of the Mersey Forest in the Plan includes commitments to:
- Increase woodland in England in line with an aspiration of 12% cover by 2060;
- Ensure there are high quality, accessible, natural spaces close to where people live and work, particularly in urban areas;
- Incentivise extra tree planting on private and the least productive agricultural land, where appropriate;
- Support the development of a new Northern Forest that crosses the country in a belt of trees, using the M62 corridor as its spine;
- Design a new woodland creation grant scheme;
- Appoint a national Tree Champion to promote the unique blend of social, economic and environmental benefits offered by trees and forests;
- Expand the use of Natural Flood Management including appropriate tree planting;
- Publish a Tree Health Resilience Plan later in 2018 to protect against tree pest and diseases;
- 'Green' our towns and cities by creating green infrastructure and planting one million urban trees.
There's also good news for the communities living within The Mersey Forest who look set to benefit from the Plan's commitment to connect people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing
. This includes a focus on linking mental health services with environmental therapies in green spaces – something we're working hard to establish through our Natural Health Service in Cheshire
Our work helping schools
plant trees and become Forest Schools has been inspiring and transformative, so we also warmly welcome the development of a new Nature Friendly Schools programme for schools.