Journey to Net Zero: New woodland of over 8000 trees to be planted at Newcastle Airport

Officially launched last week, the North East Community Forest is a 30 year, multi-million pound project that will see tens of thousands of trees planted across Newcastle, Gateshead, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham.

Helping to tackle climate change and support regeneration, the North East Community Forest project plans to plant up to 500 hectares of trees by 2025, with a long-term goal to increase canopy cover across the North East by 30% before 2050 – almost double the current national average.

Newcastle International Airport has joined the scheme and has committed to creating several new areas of woodland on its land. The new woodland areas, which will involve the planting of over 8,300 trees, will be one of the largest of the 25 North East Community Forest areas that will be created in the 2021/22 planting season.

Covering an area of 5.77 hectares, the new woodland at the Airport will include a mix of native broadleaf species including Silver Birch, Sycamore, Poplar and White Willow.Graeme Mason, Chief Sustainability and Communications Officer said: “The North East Community Forest project aligns with our sustainability plans and we are delighted to be a part of the scheme. Tree planting goes a long way towards tackling the effects of climate change and we are pleased to be able to contribute to a project that will provide a greener and cleaner future for the region.

“We are committed to being a good neighbour and becoming a Net Zero Carbon Airport by the year 2035. As part of this strategy we have plans to build a solar farm on Airport land that will aim to generate 100% of our electricity by renewable means.”

Cllr Clare Penny-Evans, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for climate change and public safety, said: “We know how incredibly important trees and woodlands are to the people of the North East, so I am delighted we are working with Newcastle International Airport and the other partners involved in the North East Community Forest.

“For this year’s planting season, trees will be planted in seven locations in Newcastle that will help improve biodiversity in the city, create more green space for residents and improve our health and wellbeing.

“I look forward to seeing them planted and grow, and develop schemes with partners in the future as we look to create a greener and more sustainable future for everyone.”

Since its inception in July 2021, which was supported by £480,000 from Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund (England Community Forests Trees for Climate Fund), the North East Community Forest scheme has secured additional funding with £300,734 from the Forestry Commission (Local Authority Treescape Fund) and LA6 match funding, £70,633 from Trees for Cities, and backing from the Queen's Green Canopy - plant a tree for the Jubilee.

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