Every tree planted in North and West Yorkshire helps to grow the White Rose Forest, as well as the larger Northern Forest that will stretch from Liverpool to the Yorkshire Coast. We have launched the White Rose Forest Action Plan to lay out agreed targets across the partnership for tree planting in the region to 2025. This will help us ramp up towards a sustained target of 3000 hectares of trees from 2025 onwards which will help meet our collective net-zero goals in the future. Research suggests that we can increase the forest cover of North and West Yorkshire from 11% to 19% by 2050. We'll need about 160 million trees to do this – that's a lot of trees!
Our partners including National Trust and Yorkshire Water own land, and this is incredibly helpful as we're all on the same wavelength about the need for more trees. What makes all the difference is our landowners. We really need their help to make our Action Plan a reality – to help climate, biodiversity, community, health and wellbeing for everyone. Without enough land, our 7 million trees can't be planted.
The White Rose Forest is collaborative at its core. We are supported by a partnership of experts from the Forestry Commission, national park authorities, local government, charities, community groups and businesses in North and West Yorkshire. We've worked with regional landowners throughout our history, and now more than ever these partnerships are vital to achieving our Action Plan.
Firstly, we help landowners to identify the right incentive to make this work for them and ensure that the right tree is planted in the right place. There are a number of government grants available for tree planting, but they're not all the same, so we do the legwork in figuring out what works best for each landowner.
Our team are experts in woodland creation and we are here to make sure landowners and farmers get the support they need for free. We can guide and support each project from an initial idea, through the planning process, funding decisions, and tree selection to delivery on the ground.
In November the White Rose Forest launched a plan to plant 7 million trees across North and West Yorkshire by 2025. This will involve a huge effort from across the partnership as well as significant engagement with landowners and farmers across the region to secure the land needed for planting. Longer term we have also identified that there is capacity to increase tree cover in North and West Yorkshire from 11 to 19% by 2050. We worked with the United Bank of Carbon team at the University of Leeds to identify how much carbon could be captured if we reach that target. The research shows that we could absorb as much as 50% of the residual carbon emissions predicted in North and West Yorkshire from 2050 through tree planting.
Our primary challenge over the coming years is to engage with as many landowners and farmers as possible in North and West Yorkshire to encourage them to take up the competitive funding and support available to plant trees on their land. To make the process as easy as possible for landowners and farmers we have developed a process called the White Rose Forest Delivery Pathway to help guide new projects from an initial idea to new woodland.
The White Rose Forest partnership is careful to maintain a position of neutrality when working with landowners and farmers and through our White Rose Forest funders group, made up of representatives from funding organisations such as the Forestry Commission and Woodland Trust, we can offer a wide range of competitive tree planting funding options. Each landowner or farmer has different resources, opportunities and needs and we are there to provide whatever level of support is required to help the landowner plant trees and get the best funding for their project.
Landowners and farmers engaged in tree planting
If we increase tree cover in North and West Yorkshire to 19%, by 2050, 931 kt of CO2 could be sequestered annually.