Tees Valley Chosen As Location For New Community Forest

Tees Valley Combined Authority | Published on: 29th November 2023

Tees Valley has been selected as one of two new locations nationally to establish a Community Forest, delivering a major boost to tree planting across the area.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced that Tees Valley has been successful following a competitive selection process.

The new Community Forest will build on the Tees Valley Mayor and Tees Valley Combined Authority’s existing Trees on Tees programme, which has an ambition to plant one million trees.

It will increase and improve green spaces across the area and deliver high quality woodlands with enhanced public access. TVCA’s aim is for the project to deliver health, social and regeneration benefits, in particular through increased tree planting in urban areas.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “This announcement that Tees Valley has been chosen as the location for a new Community Forest is fantastic news for our area and will supercharge our Trees on Tees ambition to plant one million trees.

“We are passionate about improving the environment across Teesside, Hartlepool and Darlington by making our neighbourhoods cleaner and greener.

“We will now be getting spades into the ground to deliver on this project, which will have multiple benefits for residents across our area.”

The new Community Forest will cover Hartlepool, Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees, Middlesbrough, and Redcar & Cleveland. Tees Valley Combined Authority will be responsible for this project, which supports its Net Zero Strategy and Tees Valley Strategic Economic Plan.

The new Community Forest will not be a single location but will instead deliver additional tree planting in specific locations across all five Tees Valley boroughs.

Tees Valley and the other successful bidder, Heartwood Community Forest in Derbyshire, will join England’s Community Forest which is a network of 13 other Community Forests. England’s Community Forests cover over 20% of England and work with local communities and landowners to plant trees where they are needed the most.

Trees on Tees is already working with residents, landowners, schools and community groups to support native woodland and deliver further planting activities across the area.

Funding for England’s Community Forests is provided through the Community Forests’ multi-million-pound Trees for Climate fund, part of Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund.

Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Trees on Tees Community Forest promises to be a tremendous community resource for the Tees Valley and the North East.

“Woodlands and trees are at the centre of so many communities – absolutely vital for our health and wellbeing, as well as providing crucial habitat for some of our most treasured wildlife.

“Our existing Community Forests play a really important role in contributing to our ambitions to increase tree planting across the country to meet net zero ambitions, as well as increasing biodiversity. I look forward to seeing Trees on Tees Community Forest take shape and become a woodland for generations to enjoy long into the future.”

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