A 'Forest of Britain' running from Land's End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in the north of Scotland should be planted by the next UK government, a think tank has said.
The project would serve to connect various existing conservation sites and could be established as part of the celebrations of the Queen's platinum jubilee in 2022.
Alongside celebrating the UK's natural landscapes, the project would also help encourage ecotourism, support British timber and help combat climate change.
The proposal forms part of the Policy Exchange's 'Bigger, Better Forests' report which considers UK land use post-Brexit, outside the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
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A 'Forest of Britain' running from Land's End in Cornwall to John O'Groats in the north of Scotland should be planted by the next UK government, a think tank has said
The 'Forest of Britain' is a proposal by the 'Policy Exchange' think tank.
It would see a two-mile wide forest planted that ran from Land's End to John O'Groats.
The forest would link up various natural reserves — including Dartmoor and the North Pennines.
Such an extensive development would likely end up containing around 300 million trees.
It would aim to support the genetic diversity of Britain’s tree species, focusing on native species and hardwoods.
The forest is envisaged as a moment to celebrate the Queen's platinum jubilee in the year 2022.
'We all want to see more trees in our not-sufficiently-green and pleasant land. The scientific case is unanswerable,' wrote BBC broadcaster John Humphrys in the foreword to the report.
'On the macro scale climate change is a real threat to the planet. The more trees there are to absorb carbon dioxide the greater our prospects of limiting the greenhouse effect.'
Meanwhile, he added, 'doctors agree that trees have a beneficial effect on those who spend time near them — above all young children whose developing hearts and lungs suffer from the particulates that trees are so effective at absorbing.'
'The brutal reality is that those who own the most land in this country need incentives to grow trees in the numbers that are needed, which is where this report may prove so valuable.'
'As it makes clear, most land managers think forestry is simply not worth the effort.'
The proposed Britain-spanning forest would aim to connect as many conservation sites as possible, the report states, including local and national nature reserves, national parks, sites of special scientific interest and special protection areas.
'It would be a two-mile-wide corridor for wilderness, including tree cover and a host of open land types such as scrubs, heaths, bog, peat and coastline,' the report said.
'It should also aim to support the genetic diversity of Britain’s tree species, focusing on native species and hardwoods.'
According to the Policy Exchange, a forest that wended its way from Land's End to John O'Groats via Wales and the Lake District would end up covering around 2,400 square miles (around 6,200 sq km) and contain over 300 million trees.
'Rather than set targets for the number of trees to be planted — which can be misleading — ministers should focus on the amount of carbon we need to be sequestered in trees,' said Policy Exchange Communications