The largest productive planting scheme in England for more than 25 years was today granted approval - and will see more than 600,000 trees planted on a site at Doddington North Moor in Northumberland.
The decision was announced the day after Andy Howard, project manager for Doddington, described his long battle to gain approval at a major land use conference at Westminster, organised by Confor.
Mr Howard said: "I’m delighted to have secured the go ahead for the project at Doddington North. Well-designed new forests are fantastic assets for local people and wider society, and hopefully us starting to plant trees at Doddington North and the lessons learnt from the application process will encourage others to take that important step."
One of the major battles to get approval was the designation of the planting site as priority habitat. Andy Howard argued that the site had become overgrown with rhododendron, bracken and gorse and said the main danger was doing nothing. "Mother Nature does not work to civil service procedures," he told the conference. Read the rest on the Confor website.
Paul Brannen MEP welcomed the news:
“This is fantastic news that will bring a wealth of benefits to Northumberland and I commend Andy Howard on his determination to see through the tortuous process of getting permission of planting a new forest.
“Getting permission for the planting scheme was a ridiculously slow process, if there is broad agreement including at a party political level, why has it been so difficult?
“If we are serious about tackling climate change, increasing biodiversity and growing a key feedstock for the bio-economy, being able to plant trees should be a lot easier. The government must revise the process so that others are encouraged to plant and are not put off as many are at the moment.”