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Forests across England are set to be expanded as part of new Government plans to plant millions of trees across the country.

Officials hope to plant at least 2,300 hectares of trees – equivalent to around 3,220 football pitches – will be planted as part of this year’s £44.2 million funding allocation.

The Conservatives pledged to plant 30 million trees per year, or 30,000 ha annually, between 2020 and 2025, in its 2019 manifesto.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Agriculture (DEFRA)  said the planting would be focused on areas with the lowest woodland cover, and would create “larger, well-designed and more diverse woodlands”.

Species-rich woodlands are more resilient to climate change, because different types of trees will have different tolerance to heat and drought.

Defra said the funding would give more people greater access to nature and help improve health and wellbeing ( Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

It is estimated the planting announced today will see 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide absorbed by 2050, valued at nearly £100 million.

The Government is also keen to create larger woodlands in a bid to make the nation more resilient to climate change and natural hazards like wildfires and storms.

All 13 Community Forests, including the Humber and Mersey Forests will benefit from the expansion as part of the Government’s £750million Nature for Climate Fund.

The Mirror has been campaigning for one million trees to be planted over five years, and help protect the ones we have.

Globally around 10 million trees are cut a year.

Woodland in early morning at Finchampstead Ridges, Berkshire ( Alamy Stock Photo)

Working with the Woodland Trust, The Mirror is giving away 20,000 native trees – two each to 10,000 readers – for you to plant at home or in your community.

The MillionMirrorTrees has a campaign, working alongside A Trillion Trees which is a joint venture of the world’s largest conservation charities – WWF, BirdLife International and Wildlife Conservation Society who are together fighting deforestation and to restore forests around the world.

Our aim is to plant at least one million trees over five years, and help protect the ones we have. But this is just a start.

Today just 13% of the UK is covered in trees, compared to the EU average of 37%. Globally 10 billion more are cut down than are planted every year.

Lord Zac Goldsmith, Forestry Minister, said: “Our economies, livelihoods and wellbeing all rely on nature.

“As well as tackling the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss, this significant funding will create diverse treescapes across the country and improve the health and wellbeing of local communities by giving them more opportunities to enjoy nature on their doorstep.”

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