The North East Community Forest sees six local authorities joining forces with environmental organisations to plant trees across the region.
The initiative aims to plant up to 500 hectares of trees by 2025, with a long-term goal to increase canopy cover across the north east to 30% by 2050 – almost double the current national average.
The partnership will work with people in the community, businesses and landowners with the aim of bringing forests and woodlands to those most in need across Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and Durham.
Thousands of trees will be planted in the first year – up to 25ha, or around 35 football pitches – thanks to £480,000 in funding from Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund.
Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “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 well-being all rely on nature, and tackling the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss are at the heart of this project.”
Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: “Independently, the region’s councils have been working towards their own planting targets, with some great successes, but in coming together and becoming the North East Community Forest, we can supercharge those ambitions for the benefit of all.”
Anyone interested in potentially becoming involved with the project can find out more at www.newcastle.gov.uk/northeastcommunityforest or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be kept up to date with information and opportunities as they become available.