LANDOWNERS are being offered cash to plant more trees in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The scheme aims to increase the area of the National Park covered by native broadleaved woodland which, in turn, will help boost wildlife habitats as well.
Grants can cover up to 100 per cent of the establishment costs, though in most cases, applicants will be expected to make some contribution in terms of finance, materials or labour.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and its partners – the Forestry Commission and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust – are particularly keen to fund schemes where there are opportunities to make significant biodiversity, habitat or environmental improvements.
The Authority’s Senior Trees and Woodlands Officer Phill Hibbs said the target was to plant 80 hectares (198 acres) by the end of the 2009/10 planting season, which runs between October and March.
“Trees and woodlands are a vital component of the wider landscape of our countryside and they act as important storehouses for carbon that would otherwise be in the atmosphere,” he said.
“Our ancient and semi-natural woodlands in particular are often relatively small and fragmented, so planting new native woodlands near them helps to protect them from the impacts of surrounding land use and the effects of climate change.
“Planting trees offers many benefits including increasing the longevity of woodlands through introducing appropriate management – including replanting.
“It also creates natural ‘corridors’ between areas of woodland that allow wildlife to move around more freely, and new woodlands also offer potential benefits to reducing flood risk by slowing down rainfall runoff and flood peak flows as they head downstream.
“As well as co-coordinating the grants, we can provide technical support with the design and specification of the woodland to be created, as well as finding appropriate contractors to carry out the work.”
Anyone wanting more information about the grants is asked to contact Phill Hibbs on 01756 751607 or Chris Lodge at the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust on 015242 51002.