Secretary of State visits the National Forest

Environment Secretary Michael Gove visited the National Forest last week to learn more about how trees have transformed this 200 square miles of the Midlands.

Since 1991, the planting of more than 8.7m trees has brought economic, social and environmental benefits throughout parts of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

The Secretary of State met John Everitt, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company (NFC) and William Worsley, Chair of the NFC and national Tree Champion. They updated the Secretary of State on how this year the NFC with its partners has created a further 250 hectares of forest habitat, contributing to the overall increase in forest cover from 6% in 1991 to 21% today – more than twice the national average. The National Forest has also reached a milestone of achieving 75% woodlands in active management, well ahead of the national average of 59%.

Michael Gove said: “It has been wonderful to visit the National Forest today to see the vast amount of work underway to maintain and enhance this vital natural asset.

“Trees are living evidence of our investment in future generations. As we strive to grow our woodland cover we must continue to encourage and support large-scale projects like this one to secure a greener, healthier future.”

William Worsley said: “We were delighted to host the Secretary of State here in the National Forest and hear his enthusiasm for the important role that trees can play in environmentally-led regeneration. We were able to highlight how the National Forest Company, working with partners, delivers both exceptional value for money and great public benefits, demonstrating how the aims of the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan can be achieved.”

The Secretary of State visited Beacon Hill Country Park with Rt Hon Nicky Morgan to also see the Charnwood landscape, part of the National Forest, and hear about the plans for connecting habitats, increasing access and engaging people through the Heritage Lottery funded Charnwood Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme.

For more information on the National Forest see www.nationalforest.org