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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 March 2006

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FORESTERS PLANT 300,000 NEW TREES

THE FORESTRY Commission has started the mammoth task of planting 300,000 trees across the North West of England.  A team of foresters working across the region is planting each tree by hand. An experienced worker can plant up to 1,000 saplings in a day.

As well as providing timber the new trees will play an important role in conservation and promoting biodiversity, providing new habitats for birds and wildlife. Some of the new areas of forest and woodland will also provide recreational areas where people can make the most of the outdoors and enjoy activities such as walking, orienteering and cycling.

The Forestry Commission’s John Bruce says:- “The Forestry Commission’s role is now about much more than just timber production. We also have a very strong focus on both the social and environmental benefits that forests can deliver.  Many of the new trees that are being planted are conifer species which provide the best growth and quality for timber production. But the trees will also offer many other benefits. For example, in the community forests in Greater Manchester and Merseyside, broadleaf trees and shrubs are being planted for their amenity value to local people and visitors.”

35,000 trees will be planted as part of the Newlands project, a unique £23 million scheme to reclaim large areas of derelict, underused and neglected land across the North West and transform them into thriving, durable, community woodlands.

70,000 trees will be planted in Lancashire. One interesting project will take place in Gisburn Forest where the Forestry Commission will directly seed some birch trees into the soil rather than planting young trees. This isn't a widely used approach but it is hoped that it will prove to be very effective at establishing trees at a low cost in areas with limited native seed sources.

The majority of the trees will be planted in Cumbria, 40,000 in West Cumbria, 60,000 in the North Lakes and 95,000 in the South Lakes.

Saplings need to be planted in the winter and early spring when their roots are fairly dormant. This makes the transition from the nurseries where they have been growing much easier.

CONSTRUCTION FOR MERSEYSIDE ABOUT TO GO LIVE

SIR Joe Dwyer, Chairman of Construction for Merseyside Ltd, is to launch a unique new programme, the Merseyside Construction Initiative, which aims to address the employment needs of the construction industry in Merseyside and provide employment opportunities for local people on Thursday 30 March 2006.

The Initiative is supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), the European Objective One Programme, Cityfocus Single Regeneration Budget funding, and the sector development programme run by The Mersey Partnership.

The launch will comprise presentations by Sir Joe and Chief Executive Officer, Guy Lawson, followed by a question and answer session with a panel, and an opportunity for delegates to meet fellow professionals.

Commented Sir Joe Dwyer:- “It is my hope that the Construction Community on Merseyside will join with me in this venture in seeking to achieve a better qualified workforce which in turn will enable Merseyside employers to be more competitive and subsequently more profitable.”

Paul Lakin, NWDA Area Manager for Merseyside, said:- “Merseyside is undergoing a period of renaissance that is creating major growth opportunities across a number of sectors including construction. The NWDA is delighted to support this important initiative that will help local people to benefit from the current growth in the construction industry as well as ensuring a highly skilled and productive workforce for local construction businesses.”

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