Greenwood Community Forest, hosted and supported by Nottinghamshire County Council, will be one of ten community forests across England planting 500 hectares of new woodland over the next five months, in a push to help deliver against the Government’s target of up to 30,000 hectares of trees per year, across the UK.
DEFRA have announced funding for this new Trees for Climate programme as part of the Government’s Nature for Climate Fund, to deliver widespread woodland creation to help combat the climate emergency.
These ‘climate combatting’ woodlands across England will appear around towns and cities, and for the next five years a wider programme has been drawn up for over 6,000 hectares of new woodlands, one of the biggest environmental regeneration initiatives the UK has seen.
Nottinghamshire’s community forestry initiative, Greenwood Community Forest, is a key partner in this new programme, which is being delivered by the partnership of ten community forest organisations that span the country, from Yorkshire to Somerset, collectively known as England’s Community Forests, and supported by the national charity The Community Forest Trust. An initial £12m of grant funding for the first planting session in 2020/21 has been secured from the Government’s Nature for Climate fund.
In total, the trees to be planted across winter 2020 and into 2021 will eventually store over 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and will also help in making local landscapes more resilient to the impacts of climate change.
For Greenwood Community Forest the Trees for Climate programme in 2020/21 will deliver 17 hectares of new woodland, to be located across two County Council-owned Green Spaces sites, Rufford Colliery (near Mansfield), and Bentinck South (near Kirkby in Ashfield) and it is anticipated that planting will commence early in 2021.
Forestry Minister, Lord Goldsmith, said: “Through this exciting new programme, we will build back greener, as more communities – particularly those in urban environments – will have access to nature, with real benefits for health and wellbeing.
“Trees are the backbone of our urban and rural environments and essential in tackling the climate emergency. This vital programme will plant trees where they are most needed to stem flooding and provide more places for nature to thrive.”
Councillor John Cottee, Chair of the Communities and Place Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “The County Council has hosted and supported Greenwood Community Forest for 30 years, and we are delighted to be part of the Trees for Climate programme. As well as helping in the fight against climate change, woodlands and trees are of great local value, helping to improve air quality, acting as a habitat for wildlife, and providing spaces for people to relax and exercise in”.
The funding will also create new jobs and secure existing ones within the forestry sector and open up new opportunities for people seeking a career in the environment sector. The delivery programmes will offer a wide range of added beneﬁts, unique to community forestry, including high levels of community engagement.
Councillor Kay Cutts MBE, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said: “The Trees for Climate programme will support our local communities, providing them with opportunities to get involved in planting and with new areas of accessible woodland and green space to enjoy. This will also be a welcome contribution towards our post-COVID economic recovery, supporting local suppliers, tree nurseries and tree planting contractors, and making Nottinghamshire a more attractive place for people to live, work and visit.”
Working with a range of partners, including local conservation organisations such as the Sherwood Forest Trust, local authorities and private landowners, additional planting schemes will be developed later in 2021.