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Rivers Trust launches 10-year campaign to double area of Lancashire’s woodlands

Posted: 11/03/20

Ribble Rivers Trust has launched a decade-long campaign to double the area of woodland across Lancashire to fight climate change, improve air quality and reduce flooding.

Working with private and public sector supporters together with community-based groups and conservation charities, the Rivers Trust is aiming to create 100 kilometres of new or restored woodland alongside the Rivers Ribble, Lune and Wyre together with their network of tributaries.

The Trust’s ambitious 10-year Lancashire Woodland Connect project will create an expanding network of connected woodlands for the benefit of communities across the entire county.

Lancastrians of all ages will have the opportunity to get involved in the campaign – either by donating via the Ribble Rivers Trust website ( or by participating in hundreds of grass roots tree planting and habitat creation projects across the county.

Lancashire is one of the least wooded areas in the UK and a huge programme of tree-planting is critical if the county is to meet its obligations to reduce greenhouse gases and slow climate change.

According to the National Forest Inventory, less than six per cent of Lancashire has tree cover – less than half the national average and one of the lowest of any counties in the UK. Increasing the proportion of woodland cover has been shown to contribute to reduced flood risk and soil loss and keeps rivers cooler and more oxygen-rich to benefit fish and wildlife.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) calculates that the UK as a whole needs to plant at least 100 square miles of new woodland every year. According to Forest Research, last year, the UK struggled to plant half this number of trees, with the overwhelming majority of those planted in Scotland.

In order to meet CCC greenhouse gas reduction targets over the next decade, we need to plant at least 50,000 trees throughout Lancashire every year.

The Lancashire Woodland Connect project will bring a host of direct benefits for the entire county in terms of:

  • Flood Relief
  • Improved air quality
  • Enhanced water quality
  • A county-wide network of ‘Wildlife Corridors’
  • Improved recreational access for health and wellbeing
  • Job Creation
  • Outdoor Education

The initiative aims to raise £500,000 per year of funding from public and private sector partners, grants, and the general public in order to raise £5 million. Progress has already been made towards this year’s target and this exciting initiative will continue to engage thousands of sponsors, volunteers, schools and community groups.

Coordinated and managed by the Ribble Rivers Trust, by 2030 the new waterside woodlands will extend across some 350 hectares of Lancashire – stretching from the Yorkshire Border to the coast beyond Preston.

The project will:

  • Plant more than half a million trees over the next decade.
  • Create a minimum of 50 full and part time jobs.
  • Involve more than 3,500 volunteers across the county.
  • Extract more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Add in excess of £100 million of value to Lancashire’s Natural Asset Base.

And the wider benefits will extend across Lancashire in terms of cleaner air, better water quality, recreational opportunities, education, upskilling and job creation.

Whalley Village Hall Committee is one of the first community groups to commit to funding the initiative with a £10,000 donation.

Whalley was hit by catastrophic flooding at Christmas 2015 and the village hall provided refuge for the families affected and was a focal point for the clear-up operation.

As well as committing this generous sum to the Trust’s county-wide woodland initiative, members of the local community are looking forward to getting involved in hands-on tree planting at various locations around the village.

For more information, please click here.