The Government has announced a £12.1 million fund to plant 500 hectares of trees in England over the next five months.

The new project, dubbed Trees for Climate, will finance 10 community forests stretching from Yorkshire to Somerset.

It is hoped the trees will eventually store 100,000 tonnes of carbon – equivalent to more than 45,000 transatlantic flights, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.

It is one of the measures aimed at delivering the Government’s commitment to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025 and also its net zero by 2050 emissions targets.

Defra said the project will help reduce flood risk, boost biodiversity and increase people’s access to woodland and green space.

It is also hoped the scheme will increase jobs within the forestry and environmental sector.

Among those due to receive funding are The Forest of Marston Vale, Bedfordshire, the Greenwood Community Forest, west Nottinghamshire, and the City of Trees in Greater Manchester.

Also included are the Mersey Forest, the Forest of Avon, the Forest of Mercia, two projects in Yorkshire and two in the south-east.

The cash will come from the Government’s £640 million Nature for Climate Fund announced in March.

Forestry Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Through this exciting new programme we will build back greener, as more communities – particularly those in urban environments – will have access to nature, with real benefits for health and wellbeing.

Autumn weather Nov 6th 2020
The money is also aimed at improving people’s access to green spaces (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“Trees are the backbone of our urban and rural environments, and essential in tackling the climate emergency.

“This vital programme will plant trees where they are most needed to stem flooding and provide more places for nature to thrive.”

Sir William Worsley, chair of the Forestry Commission, said: “The £12.1 million boost will be a huge help both for getting trees in the ground, but also enabling each of the community forests to ensure they are well-managed in the long term, making sure these new woods can thrive to the fullest extent.”

The Trees for Climate scheme comes on the back of £3.9 million of funding announced on Saturday to help increase tree cover in urban and rural settings across the UK, as well as close to waterways to reduce flood risk.

More than half the funding, £2.5 million, will be spent on five pilot schemes over the next two-and-a-half years to develop tree planting programmes in different communities.