Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 28th November 2022
The Tees Valley has been awarded £300,000 in Government funding to kickstart a huge programme of tree planting activity and create new green jobs.
The grant, from the government’s Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund, will be used to help deliver the Tees Valley Woodland Creation Partnership, a joint project led by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.
It will see the creation of three new Woodland Creation Project Officers and a Woodland Creation Partnership Manager, who will be responsible for helping to create 50 hectares of woodland in 2023/2024, rising to 150 hectares by 2025, as well as support the planting of 1,000 larger street trees across the region annually in those two years.
This project is a partnership between the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and its constituent local authority partners, Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland and Stockton-on-Tees, supported by the North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub.
The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund has offered a share of £9.8million in funding to 57 local authorities across England to bring on board new staff and access the professional expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation activity at a local level.
More than 100 new green jobs will be created across the UK, with an emphasis on upskilling professionals from outside the forestry sector. This will help to expand the industry’s workforce, address skills shortages and help to grow the economy.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We’re delivering large-scale transformation right across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool in the cleaner, healthier and safer industries of tomorrow – but there are other ways we can help reduce our carbon footprint, and planting trees and increasing our woodland is another great way to tackle climate change.
“We’re rightly proud of our countryside and woodlands, with our area being a magnet for walking, cycling and nature fans. This funding will help us create jobs and lead on a huge planting initiative, boosting these green spaces and attracting even more visitors.
“On top of that, it will make our towns and communities better places to live and work, complementing the redevelopment work we’re helping to drive forward in every corner of the region.”
Richard Stanford, Chief Executive, Forestry Commission, said: “Local authorities have set out a range of inspiring and ambitious plans which equate to more than 10 million trees being planted on public land across England by 2025. The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund will provide the support and resource needed to turn these aspirations into results, marking a significant step forward in our collective efforts to treble planting rates in England.
“Growing both our treescapes and the forestry sector workforce through this fund demonstrates how protecting and restoring our natural world with trees can unlock environmental, economic and social benefits for everyone.”
Hannah Bartram, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, said: “The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund is set to make a real difference, supporting local authorities to accelerate their tree and woodland planting plans and helping to tackle the climate change and biodiversity crises.
“The fund has been well received and demand has been high – it will support local authorities across the country, equipping them with the new staff, skills, and expertise needed to drive tree planting and woodland creation commitments.”
Planting as part of the Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund will take place across the country, in both areas with lower tree cover, as well as through ambitious schemes expanding existing woodlands in rural settings. Since the Fund’s launch in June, an additional £2 million has been made available through the government’s £750 million Nature for Climate Fund in response to the high level of interest in the grant, the quality of proposals submitted and the recognised need for support.
The Woodland Creation Accelerator Fund has been promoted by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), on behalf of Defra and the Forestry Commission. ADEPT will continue to support the successful local authorities over the next two years.
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