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NEWS RELEASE No: 1375530 JUNE 2010

Balloons herald launch of Merseyside Community Woodland

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baloon release

Merseyside children celebrate the launch of Mab Lane Community Woodland with mass wildflower balloon release

School children from all over West Derby, Liverpool came together this morning (Tuesday June 29) to celebrate the opening of Mab Lane Community Woodland with a mass wildflower balloon release.

More than 30 children from St Brigids, St Albert’s RC and Mab Lane Primary School released biodegradable balloons filled with wild flower seeds into the air to help plant vibrant patches of wild flowers right across the region and beyond.

The balloon release was followed by a 30 strong group Ultimate Frisbee Challenge where the children got the chance to play in the new green spaces.

The event marked the completion of the planting of 20,000 new trees to create the Mab Lane Community Woodland on two former brown field sites in West Derby as part of The Mersey Forest.

The event was attended by Cllr Tim Moore (Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change), Joe Dwek CBE (Board Member NWDA) and Keith Jones (Regional Director – Forestry Commission).

The creation of Mab Lane Community Woodland has resulted in 23 hectares of brownfield land that has been transformed into a multi-functional green space at the heart of a Liverpool community.
In addition to the newly planted trees, there are new wildflower meadows, a community orchard and seasonal wetland areas, all of which will support the conservation and enhancement of the area’s existing biodiversity.

Mab Lane is a partnership project of the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), the Forestry Commission, Riverside, the Mersey Forest, Liverpool City Council and the local communities close to the site.

The project has been funded by the Newlands programme (an NWDA and Forestry Commission land regeneration partnership), the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme, and the English Woodland Grant Scheme.

Further information about the Mab lane project can be found the on the project blog,

The total investment for Mab Lane is £688,000.
£440,000 of investment for the creation of Mab Lane Community Woodland as part of The Mersey Forest has been provided by the Northwest Regional Development Agency via the NWDA and Forestry Commission-partnership programme, Newlands.

£34,000 was provided by the Forestry Commission through their English Woodland Grant Scheme £131,537 was provided by Riverside via the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme. £54,735 provided by United Utilities for boundary improvements and £28,000 by Liverpool City Council.

The new woodland at Mab Lane is part of The Mersey Forest, a network of woodland and other habitats that extends across Merseyside and north Cheshire. Mab lane Community Woodland will set the scene for wider economic, social and environmental growth. It will also set the scene for wider economic, social and environmental growth.  It is expected that the developments will stimulate the local economy, help build community confidence, encourage healthier lifestyles and empower people to play an active role in their community. Among those to benefit from this valuable new resource will be the children and staff from nearby schools and the adjacent Mab Lane Youth Centre.

Launched in 2003, Newlands is a unique £59 million scheme that is reclaiming large areas of derelict, underused and neglected (DUN) land across England’s Northwest. Newlands responds to local and regional economic and social needs, tackling some of the worst areas of neglected land in the Northwest and transforming them into thriving, durable, community woodlands. Newlands works with a wide partnership to make a real difference to local economies, communities and environments, helping to make the region an even more attractive place for investment; with projects based around key gateways to the region as well as close to major cities and conurbations.

Big Lotttery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme
Green Spaces for People is a partnership between Places for People, Peabody Trust and Riverside securing £15.6million from the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme. The Big Lottery Fund’s £234million Changing Spaces programme helps communities access and improve their local environments.  The programme will fund a range of activities from local food schemes and farmers’ markets, to education projects teaching people about the environment.

The Big Lottery Fund rolls out close to £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours, awarding grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.

The Mersey Forest
The Mersey Forest is a growing network of woodlands and green spaces spread across Cheshire and Merseyside, which has been creating 'woodlands on your doorstep' since 1994.

The Forest is one of the leading environmental regeneration initiatives in the North West. Through community and partnership working, we have planted more than 8 million trees – equivalent to five new trees for every person living within the Forest area. Praised as a “visionary concept”, our approach brings a whole range of environmental, health and economic benefits to the region. We achieve all of this and more through our partnership of local authorities, landowners, the Forestry Commission, Natural England, NWDA  and businesses including United Utilities.

The Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. To find out more visit

England Woodland Grants Scheme
Forestry Commission England runs the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) to support and promote the national and regional delivery of forestry policy, as set out in the Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forests. EWGS is a part of the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE). Further information about these schemes can be found at

Claire Rajah at
on 0161 236 0600