08.10.19

Sheffield City Region mayor calls on PM to support the Northern Forest

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis, is blazing a trial for other local leaders by committing to the growth of the Northern Forest – and asking the Prime Minister to join him.

Mayor Jarvis is enlisting the help of central government in his efforts to tackle climate change. He has written to the Prime Minister asking for his support and commitment with growing the Northern Forest.

In the letter he outlines the many benefits that could come from his backing on this project, including economic benefits from fuel and timber, increased recreation, tourism and leisure opportunities and creating a ‘happier and healthier community’.

It calls for central government to commit to supporting the delivery of the Northern Forest, look into government grants and has even invited him to go and visit the region and plant a tree as a symbolic part of the project.

The Northern Forest will see 50 million new trees planted over the next 25 years across the north, and while it is progressing well, with more than 600,000 trees already in the ground, the mayor has said ‘it needs support’.

The letter has been signed by over 120 cross-party Members of Parliament and Council Leaders who hope to get the PMs attention on the project.

Mayor Jarvis said:

“I’m proud to be working with the Woodland Trust and their partners in growing the Northern Forest. It will be transformational for more than 13 million residents, improving their health and wellbeing. It will help habitats thrive, a woodland culture to flourish as well as helping to tackle climate change, reduce the risk of flooding and create thousands of new jobs.

“As the world faces a climate crisis and local authorities across the UK declare a climate emergency, we all have a responsibility to care for our planet and protect our environment.

“The Northern Forest is an initiative of international significance and I’m helping to lead the way and playing my part in growing it. I’m now calling on the Prime Minister to back this project, bestowing a legacy we can all be proud of."

The projected economic and environmental benefits of the project are up to £2.5 billion, which is at least a five-fold return on investment.

Woodland cover in northern regions is only 7.6%, lower than the countries average of 10%, making it more vulnerable as more infrastructure and residential building planned.

The worry is that, whilst these developments in the north are welcome, they are leaving less room and scope for green areas that hugely contribute to clean air and natural habitats

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