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Forestry is a devolved matter. Since 2010 the Government has planted just over 15 million trees, or nearly 13,000 hectares of new woodland in England. In this Parliament over 4.1 million trees have been planted, and we are on track to meet our targets to plant 11 million trees and a further 1 million trees in and around our towns and cities.
The Government is investing £5.7 million to kick-start the development of the Northern Forest, led by a partnership of the Community Forests and the Woodland Trust. Specifically, this will fund the planting of at least 1.8 million new trees across the Northern Forest by 2022, and help the partnership develop approaches to achieve their longer-term vision of 50 million trees planted over the next 25 years.
St Helens and other parts of the North West are located within the Northern Forest and will benefit from increased tree planting through this initiative. Our Trees for Schools programme and Urban Tree Challenge Fund are also helping to increase planting rates in these places.
The Government remains committed to the shared public and private sector aspiration of reaching 12% woodland cover in England by 2060 and has signalled this in the Clean Growth Strategy and the 25 Year Environment Plan.
To increase the rate of afforestation in England, the Government has simplified grant applications and announced additional funding of £50 million for the Woodland Carbon Guarantee to incentivise planting and carbon sequestration. Recently we announced a new Northumberland Forest, planting up to one million trees by 2024.