Volunteers, including from the Rotary Club of Harrogate, Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Ashville College and Zero Carbon Harrogate, have been joined by local councillors to plant the first trees of the White Rose Forest in Harrogate.
In a scheme designed by the Nidderdale AONB, a thousand trees were planted this week at Folly Hall in Thornthwaite as part of the Rotary Club's ongoing project to plant 25,000 trees on AONB land to offset carbon emissions.
These trees are part of a much bigger picture which is the Northern Forest, a government-backed initiative from the Woodland Trust and community forests.
In Harrogate district, they are represented by the White Rose Forest. The ambition is to plant 50 million trees across the north of England over the next 25 years to bring a whole range of benefits to our environment, economy, industry, employment, health, wellbeing and biodiversity.
A Harrogate District delivery group for the Forest has been set up and includes officers from Harrogate Borough Council as well as the Woodland Trust, the Forestry Commission, Nidderdale AONB, Zero Carbon Harrogate and others. It is developing a planting plan for Harrogate district which will feed in to the wider White Rose Forest Plan for the Leeds city region, to be finalised next year. The objective is to increase tree cover across the city region by a third.
Local ward councillor, Stanley Lumley, said: “It is a privilege to join volunteers here today to see the White Rose Forest, part of the Northern Forest, take root in Harrogate. There are great opportunities for tree-planting in our borough, from planting in the Wharfe catchment to create new wildlife habitats to restoring woodland in the former Royal Forest of Knaresborough so that people have somewhere to enjoy for recreation and escape”.
Paul Burgess, Nidderdale AONB Manager, said: “We’re proud to have played a lead role in the White Rose Forest, working with landowners on its design. We’re also thankful to our passionate AONB conservation volunteers, who helped with the tree planting. The Nidderdale AONB team works with local people, landowners and partner organisations on a range of projects to understand, look after, and conserve this very special corner of Yorkshire for future generations.”
Paul Casey, arboricultural manager at Harrogate Borough Council and chair of the Harrogate White Rose Forest Group said: “As well as providing habitats for wildlife, trees and woods improve quality of life for us, too, cleaning our air and improving our mental health and wellbeing. Our aspiration to increase tree cover across the WRF region by a third by 2036 will be truly transformative, but we won’t be able to deliver it without working in partnership with local landowners, public bodies and voluntary groups. The planting at Folly Hall is an example on how this ambition can be achieved.”
Landowners who would like to benefit from Northern Forest trees, or require further information, can contact Guy Thompson, project manager for the White Rose Forest.