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Great Northumberland Forest facts for kids

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The Great Northumberland Forest is a proposed new forest in the north of England. Announced in September 2019, it is intended that up to a million trees will be planted between 2020 and 2024.

Announcement

The planned Great Northumberland Forest was announced by Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Theresa Villiers at the Conservative Party Conference on 27 September 2019. It was part of a package of measures that were presented as leading to a carbon-neutral United Kingdom by 2050. The plans had been championed by the Member of Parliament for Hexham, Guy Opperman, who stated that the proposed forest would help absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, increase the provision of green space in the region for recreational purposes and provide the nucleus for a new forestry/timber industry. The scheme was welcomed by Greenpeace but they noted that it was only a fraction of the 700 million new trees that they say need to be planted before 2030.

Planned forest

It is intended that up to one million trees will be planted across 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of land in Northumberland between 2020 and Spring 2024. A variety of tree types will be planted in the forest, rather than solely conifers which have been used in other new forest schemes. A new organisation, the Northumberland Forestry Partnership, will be established to assist local residents, landowners and environmental groups to plan for the new forest. The forest will initially be planted at three sites on government-owned or newly acquired land. The Forestry Partnership will then look to expand the forest by identifying new sites suitable for afforestation, of which there is an estimated 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) in the county.

Planting was timed to commence ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which was scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November 2020 before its postponement to November 2021.

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