The 120 mile stretch of the M62 between Liverpool and Hull looks pretty much like any other motorway in the UK, farmland interspersed with buildings. But fast forward 25 years and the picture will have changed completely. That’s because the Government has just given the green light for 50 million trees to be planted between the two cities. It’s all part of a plan by the Woodland Trust to create 62,000 acres of woodland called the ‘Northern Forest’ which will connect the five Community Forests in the north of England: the Mersey Forest; Manchester City of Trees; South Yorkshire Community Forest; the Leeds White Rose Forest; and the HEYwoods Project. The new forest will help protect wildlife including red squirrels, birds and bats and at the same time improve access to woodlands for millions of people. At an estimated cost of £500 million, the scheme does not come cheap, but it is estimated it could provide a £2billion boost to the economy by increasing tourism, rural jobs, and property values while reducing flooding. The Government has stumped up £5.7million towards the project and planting of native broadleaf trees such as oaks and conifers including spruce and pine is due to start in March at a 1,680 acre site run by the Woodland Trust. It is hoped that private landowners will be inspired to join the project which, as Austin Brady, director of conservation at the Woodland Trust, explains, forms part of the Government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions: ‘Planting many more trees, woods and forests will deliver a better environment for all – locking up carbon on a large scale, boosting wildlife habitat and greening our towns and cities.’ Sounds like we should all take a leaf out of the Woodland Trust’s book.