West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, together with 120 cross-party Northern leaders, is taking the issue of climate change straight to the heart of Government, by writing to the Prime Minister asking for his support and commitment to grow the Northern Forest.

The letter asks for the Prime Minister’s commitment to deliver the Northern Forest and look at opportunities that support the development of green investment models. The letter also includes an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit the North to plant a tree as part of the Northern Forest.

The Northern Forest will see 50 million trees planted over the next 25 years in the North of England by the Woodland Trust and their partners, with more than 600,000 already in the ground. The forest will span 120 miles, connecting the towns and cities of Liverpool, Manchester and Lancaster to the West and Sheffield, Leeds and Hull to the East, benefiting 13 million residents and generating £2.5 billion in social, economic, and environmental benefits.

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Facing a climate change crisis, the challenge of severe flooding and needing to protect and strengthen our environment, I am absolutely backing this campaign by putting my name to this cross-party letter.

“We are all affected by the effects of climate change and West Lancashire residents have suffered at the hands of severe flooding in recent years. By the ambitious plans for expanding the Northern Forest we can help to alleviate the effects of environmental challenges and so I am very happy to support this initiative.

“There are also wider benefits of this initiative. Having more forests locally will mean we can house more natural plants, animals and insects and allow local schools to use them as part of their learning, and it will create new job opportunities.”

The campaign was initiated by Sheffield City Region Mayor and MP for Barnsley Central, Dan Jarvis bringing together the cross-party group of northern leaders and MPs to support the growth of the Northern Forest. As Dan Jarvis has said:

“It will be transformational for more than 13 million residents, improving their health and wellbeing. The Northern Forest is an initiative of international significance and I’m helping to lead the way. I’m now calling on the Prime Minister to back this project, bestowing a legacy we can all be proud of.”

Darren Moorcroft, CEO, Woodland Trust commented:
“The Northern Forest represents the green lungs of the Northern Powerhouse. This pioneering project spearheaded by the Woodland Trust and the Community Forests, will deliver millions of new trees planted, and billions of pounds worth of economic, social and environmental benefits to the region. If we are to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises the world faces, internationally significant projects like the Northern Forest must be at the forefront of bold, ambitious domestic thinking.”

More than 120 cross-party Members of Parliament and Council Leaders, as well as Metro Mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham, MPs Yvette Cooper and Sir Graham Brady and Leaders Susan Hinchcliffe and Louise Gittins have signed a letter to the Prime Minister.

Currently, only 7.6% of the North of England is covered by woodland, considerably lower than the 10% national average This is at the detriment of resident’s quality of life, but also to wildlife and their natural habitats. 

The Woodland Trusts community forest partners include: Mersey Forest, City of Trees, White Rose Forest and HEYwoods.

A copy of the letter, including signatories can be found here.

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