18 million new trees could be planted in Craven by 2050

District councillors in Craven are being asked to support plans to create almost 9,000 hectares of new woodland locally by planting millions of new trees over the next 30 years.

The idea is to help with flood prevention, capture carbon from the atmosphere and create new diverse habitats for wildlife.

At the moment, Craven's land contains less than half of the national average of tree canopy cover - instead being largely populated by open fields suitable for sheep and cattle farming.

Craven District Council says the low woodland cover contributes to flooding as rain rapidly runs off the steep bare hills to cause flash floods. The district is also home to upper river catchments that have caused issues further downstream in places such as Leeds, Tadcaster and central Lancashire.

Councillors at the policy committee next week (14th September) will be asked to back plans to create almost 9,000 hectares of new woodland by 2050 - almost 18 million new trees. If achieved, that would bring Craven's woodland cover in line with the current national average. The proposals indicate that about a third of the trees - some 6 million - would be planted by the end of the year 2030.

Lead Member for the Environment, Councillor Carl Lis, said: “It’s brilliant to see plans underway to significantly increase the number of trees in our district and the fact that we’ve already planted 7,000 trees in Aireville Park last year was a great start.

“Trees are very important to improving our environment, our health and tackling localised flooding problems so it’s vital that we take action for the benefit of all.”

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