A woodland plan setting out a vision to make Merseyside and North Cheshire one of the best places in the country to live has been recognised in the Royal Town Planning Institute North West (RTPI NW) awards.
The Mersey Forest Plan, which was developed between 2011 and 2014, has won the RTPI NW Planning Innovation award.
The Plan sets out a blueprint for a greener Merseyside and North Cheshire, and aims to plant millions of trees across the region, building on the nine million trees that The Mersey Forest Partnership has planted since 1994. It was developed in partnership with The Mersey Forest's seven local authority partners and the local community.
The RTPI judging panel said: "Both the number and quality of the schemes in the RTPI's Centenary year has been extremely high. The panel felt the Forest Plan demonstrated both innovation and collaboration across local authority boundaries and sectors. The approach to community engagement across such diverse communities and areas was particularly welcomed. The Plan was well presented and easy to follow for all those interested in contributing to the delivery of its objectives."
The award was presented to Paul Nolan and Tom Ferguson of The Mersey Forest team at a ceremony in Manchester on 26 September.
Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, said: "We're delighted that the Plan has been recognised as the most innovative planning achievement in the North West. The Plan has had a great deal of input from our broad partnership, so it's good to see that everyone's hard work is being recognised in this way.
"We look forward to continuing to work to deliver The Mersey Forest Plan for the benefit of people, wildlife and the economy."
The Plan had earlier been shortlisted for a Natural and Built heritage award in the national RTPI awards, but was pipped to the post by a project at Stone Henge.
The Plan was part-funded by the EU Interreg IVB GIFT-T! (Green Infrastructure for Tomorrow - Together!) project.
To read The Mersey Forest Plan, visit http://www.merseyforest.org.uk/plan.