As part of National Tree Week, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) has announced £200,000 of funding for England’s newest Community Forest in Cumbria.
This welcome additional funding over four years will contribute to a wider £1.1 million already received for the Cumbria Coastal Community Forest project from Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), with the Community Forest is ready to start planting this winter.
England’s newest Community Forest in Cumbria is being led by Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Woodlands and The National Trust, in close partnership with other local councils including Barrow Borough Council, Copeland Borough Council and Allerdale Borough Council. It is also being supported by a range of other organisations including Art Gene, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and Britain’s Energy Coast.
Thousands of trees will be planted along the western coast of Cumbria to create up to 150 hectares of new woodland, the equivalent of one tree planted for every resident in Copeland, Barrow and Allerdale over the next five years.
NDA Chief Executive, David Peattie, said:
It’s our mission to clean up the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely, and we have a legal and ethical responsibility to do that sustainably, with care for our communities and the environment. The Cumbria Coastal Community Forest will provide a lasting legacy that is beneficial to the people of Cumbria, its wildlife and the environment. We invest around £15 million each year in enabling permanent, positive, and significant social and economic change in our communities, investing in projects such as this which will benefit future generations for years to come.
Currently, the Community Forest area has only 9.9% woodland cover which is 3% below the national average. This initiative will bring people closer to nature, enhance biodiversity, provide resilience to climate change and provide green job opportunities through planting, establishing and managing the woodland.
James Cobbold, Forest Director, said:
The support of the NDA is huge news for the Cumbria Coastal Community Forest, particularly at such an early stage of the programme. Through the creation of new woodlands in partnership with communities, the Community Forest provides a powerful way to build relationships with local people, organisations and businesses to create sustainable change for the coast of Cumbria. Having the NDA recognise the importance of the Community Forest is vital to its long-term success and we look forward to working with them.
Trees help to provide clean air, improve soil quality and provide resilience to help reduce the effects of climate change, such as flooding and drought. There will be opportunities for nature recovery, carbon storage, enhancing biodiversity and environmental resilience.
Councillor Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Chair of the Forest Board, added:
I am delighted that Cumbria’s Coastal Community Forest has been allocated additional funding by the NDA. The Forest is an exciting project that will provide direct and real benefit for people living within these communities through the development of new tree planting and woodland creation. It will not only offer opportunities for decarbonisation but enhance the county’s natural capital, making Cumbria a more attractive place to live and work
The funding allows flexible options for woodland creation and tree planting, it will be a mix of community woodland, community orchards, field trees, private woodland, street trees, urban woodland, wooded habitat corridors and hedgerows. Cumbria Woodlands are interested in hearing from landowners, community groups, and anyone with land that could be considered for woodland creation. The options for planting are flexible, can be done on a small scale and be complimentary to existing land use, be that farmland, community spaces, or within school grounds.
The Cumbria Coastal Community Forest can advise, for free, on how to get the best from trees. For more information visit www.cumbriawoodlands.co.uk/working-with-partners/woodland-creation/cumbria-coastal-community-forest/