The North York Moors National Park Authority has commenced its woodland creation with funding from Sirius Minerals, the company behind the development of Woodsmith Mine near Whitby.
The tree planting forms part of Sirius Minerals’ Section 106 contributions as part of its planning permission.
The company has committed to provide £130m to safeguard and enhance the local landscape and offset carbon emissions from its £3bn North Yorkshire polyhalite project.
It is expected that 10.5 million new trees will be planted through the scheme, totalling over 7,000 hectares – around 220 hectares during the mine’s five-year construction period, and a further 219 hectares every three years throughout the operational life of the project.
Briony Fox, who is the Director of Polyhalite Projects at the National Park, said: “A variety of deciduous tree species native to Britain – such as alder, aspen, willow, oak, birch, hazel and hawthorn – have initially been planted by National Park staff and volunteers near Langdale End and Chopgate.
“As well as offsetting carbon, these new woodland areas will make a significant ecological contribution to the area and will increase biodiversity, supporting an array of other species.
“We have also identified further land within the National Park for future tree planting and are looking forward to starting shortly.”
Gareth Edmunds, External Affairs Director for Sirius Minerals, said: “The company has made a firm commitment to protecting the environment and enhancing the local landscape.
“We are pleased that the tree planting scheme will not only offset carbon emissions from our project, but will also have a positive effect on the character and landscape of the National Park, and create a more diverse wildlife habitat.”
Construction of Woodsmith Mine is coming to the end of its first year.
The company is also working closely with the National Park Authority on environmental mitigation measures and the implementation of countryside access and improvement schemes.
If you’d like to volunteer for the National Park, call Joan Childs on 01439 772700.