Plans to create a new Northern Forest stretching from Liverpool to Hull have been kick-started by the government.
It is providing £5.7m to increase tree cover along a belt spanning Manchester, Leeds and Bradford.
The project will cost £500m over 25 years. The balance of the funds will need to be raised by charity.
Environmentalists have welcomed the planned 50 million new trees, but say ministers must stop allowing ancient woodland to be felled.
The UK has one of the lowest rates of woodland in Europe and the area to be covered by the Northern Forest is one of the most denuded in England, with tree cover less than 8%.
The emphasis of the project will be to increase tree cover around major conurbations to 20%. There will also be a focus on river valleys, where there are benefits for flood prevention and soil loss – as well as wildlife.
But these areas will …