The largest tree planting scheme in England for more than 25 years was recently 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.”
Mr Howard added: “I’d like to acknowledge the valuable support of the local population, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP and the unstinting positive backing from Confor. I’m also grateful to the Natural England and Forestry Commission staff at local level who ultimately found a way for us to some together to find a solution.”
Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, welcomed the “fantastic news”, which comes just two weeks after the large productive Lowther Estate planting scheme, south of Penrith in Cumbria, was approved.
Lowther will see more than 210,000 trees planted on a 170-hecatre site, with 120 hectares of productive conifer species and most of the remainder productive broadleaf species.
The Doddington site, near Wooler, is about twice the size, at 354 hectares, with 268 hectares to be planted – 42 per cent conifers (the vast majority sitka spruce), 20 per cent native broadleaves and 13 per cent mixed Scots pine and native broadleaf. Of the remaining 25 per cent, 10 per cent is open ground and 15 per cent managed priority habitat.
Mr Goodall said: “This is fantastic news for the industry and testament to Andy Howard’s dogged determination to take on and change a poor system that puts rigid process ahead of pragmatism and public benefit.
“As he said at the conference, Doddington has broken the mould and should lead to a more workable approach to modern, well-designed productive planting schemes – the door has been opened for others with high quality planting schemes to walk through.”