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Harrogate District and the Northern Forest Project

In January 2018 the government announced the launch of the Northern Forest, an ambitious project to grow and link the existing community forests, shown in the image below, from Liverpool to Hull. The project will see 50 million trees planted over 25 years, increasing woodland cover by one third.

The Northern Forest

Northern Forest.png

Image of the Northern Forest (Crown Copyright)

The average woodland cover in Europe is about 36%. In the UK the average is 12% but in the Harrogate District and the Yorkshire Dales the figure is down to 8%.

There are many reasons why this has come to be, but it is true to say that inadequate woodland cover has numerous serious detrimental effects. Increasing woodland cover can deliver huge benefits:

  • Improved air, soil and water quality

  • Flood management - by making ground more permeable and slowing the flow

  • Creation of habitats for biodiversity

  • Locking up the carbon in global warming gases such as carbon dioxide

  • A stronger economy and job creation from growing timber, a renewable resource, as well as providing an improved environment to attract businesses and investment.

  • Improved physical and mental health and wellbeing, from greater access to green spaces


What organisations are involved?

  • Woodland Trust

  • Local authorities

  • Community forests

  • Government agencies (e.g. Forestry Commission)

  • The voluntary sector

What is happening in the Harrogate District?
The White Rose Forest(WRF) is the community forest for North and West Yorkshire and is also helping to create the larger Northern Forest. It is a joint venture between local authorities within the LCR and other agencies and organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Natural England. Zero Carbon Harrogate is also a signatory to the joint venture agreement.

An aerial survey of the WRF,  was undertaken in the summer of 2018, and every tree has been mapped, creating the baseline assessment of what woodland cover exists now.

Harrogate District sits centrally within the WRF and a working group for the District has been formed, whose role it is to create the plan that will deliver the District’s contribution to the WRF.

On this working group there are representatives from:

  • Community Forest Trust

  • Forestry Commission

  • Harrogate Borough Council

  • Kirklees Council

  • Nidderdale AONB

  • United Bank of Carbon

  • Woodland Trust

  • Zero Carbon Harrogate

Advice and guidance about tree planting and woodland creation
If you want to know how you can help with this project, vastly increasing woodland cover, whether as a landowner, a donor, or volunteer, please contact or use the web form on the WRF website.

Further information about the Northern Forest and the benefits of urban green spaces can be found in the following publications;

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