Trees and woodlands play a huge role in the Northwest – enhancing image, health and well being, maximising the quality of environments and fuelling a profitable timber industry. An Agenda for Growth is the framework for forestry in England’s Northwest, helping to shape the woodland and forestry sector in our region for the next twenty years.
A broad partnership of public, civil society and private organisations, known as the North West Forestry Framework Partnership, are all committed to this long-term strategy and are working to deliver it’s ambitious aim, to make woodlands and forestry a proactive player in the regeneration and sustainable development of the Northwest.
An Agenda for Growth is based on six Action Areas covering the issues that matter most to our region.
These are: developing and supporting our woodland and forestry business; using woodlands and forestry to promote and improve the image of the region; maximising the benefits that trees and woodlands bring to our region’s biodiversity and landscape; using woodlands to improve our health, well-being and quality of life; the role of trees and woodlands in adapting to the impact of climate change; and supporting and resourcing the woodlands of the Northwest to deliver a more sustainable region.
More recently, a manifesto, Our Future Canopy, has been developed to take forward and deliver the aims of Agenda for Growth. Written to reflect the current political landscape, this manifesto sets out one, major target which, if achieved, will help us to meet many of the priorities in the agendas six core areas: to double tree cover by 2050.
It’s a bold objective, but one that will tackle climate change head on, improve our region’s image, provide a rich and accessible natural environment and create genuine job and enterprise opportunities.
We will radically increase tree planting and double our woodland cover by 2050.
In the Northwest, we have lower levels of woodland cover than the national and European average. This means we have fewer woodland areas for our inhabitants to visit, we produce less timber, our biodiversity is not as healthy as we would like and we have fewer trees to ‘lock up’ carbon.
We will bring a cool green revolution to our towns and cities.
Trees are an essential part of the modern urban mix. In fact, urban trees deliver a range of benefits, such as increased property prices, reduced traffic noise, improved health and wellbeing and trees are critical in terms of reducing the urban heat island effect.
We will cut carbon and get ready for change.
Forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If we doubled our tree cover, we would be well on our way to meeting our legally binding carbon reduction targets – at a rate of 2,350 hectares of woodland creation every year, the Northwest could ‘lock up’ over one million tonnes of carbon every year by 2050.
We will produce more timber and use more timber.
It is time to return to commercial, productive forestry to sustain our vibrant timber sector. It is a much more sustainable construction material – concrete uses five times as much energy to produce as wood, and steel six times as much – and making the switch to timber can reduce our carbon footprint.
We will support green jobs and green skills.
Timber and forest related industries are worth nearly £400 million to the Northwest and employ around 70,000 people. Whether it’s timber processing and sawmilling or pulp and paper manufacturing, there are ‘green collar jobs’ to be had in forestry sector. If we double our woodland cover with a direct focus on their productivity, we will be able to generate thousands of new jobs and enterprises.
We will help to create healthier and happier communities.
More trees mean a happier society. Studies have shown that access to green space can reduce stress and ADHD symptoms in children, reduce the incidences of violent crimes and domestic violence and lead to stronger societies. Woodlands also provide place to exercise, play and get fir. Knowing that woodlands are on their doorstep can genuinely improve people’s quality of life.
The Northwest Forestry manifesto has been developed by over 800 public and private organisations, industry bodies, Government departments and individuals across the North West of England with a shared passion for trees, woodlands, forests and a more sustainable future. The partnership is continuing to work together to deliver the ambitions of Agenda for Growth and the Manifesto. Together these plans will guide the sustainable creation, management and protection of woodlands for at least the next twenty years.
As new policies and opportunities arise, we will work to champion and progress forestry in the Northwest.