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NEWS RELEASE No: 167348 AUGUST 2018


Forestry Commission England and Bury Council sign Memorandum of Understanding to protect and improve green spaces


Forestry Commission England and Bury Council sign Memorandum of Understanding to protect and improve green spaces

Councillor Alan Quinn, Cabinet Member for Environment, from Bury Council and Simon Hodgson, Chief Executive from Forestry Commission England met on Friday 3 August to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to help drive forward their work to help bring more greenspaces in the Bury area in to active management.

Bury Council and the Forestry Commission have worked in partnership since 2011 and are now jointly considering the future management of some additional woodland areas within Bury.

The Forestry Commission, the government agency responsible for managing the nation’s woods and forests, currently manages 73ha of woodland on behalf of Bury Council at Waterdale and Drinkwater Park. Feasibility work is under way to see if the Forestry Commission could manage additional land on behalf of the council including Philips Park, Outwood, the Outwood Trail and Prestwich Clough.

Simon Hodgson, the Chief Executive of Forestry Commission England, said: “We are already actively managing a number of fantastic forests and open spaces within the Greater Manchester area, which makes this partnership with Bury Council an important opportunity to help expand the nation’s forests. It’s not only protecting a swathe of public accessible space, from Radcliffe centre through to Prestwich, it could also bring potential investment to improve those sites involved."

The initial aim of both Bury Council and the Forestry Commission is safeguarding these sites for future generations by having well managed natural resources and sustainable income streams so that the benefits for local people and wildlife can be maximised, and to provide a positive contribution to the economy.

The signing Memorandum of Understanding outlines the objectives of the projects and by signing both Bury Council and Forestry Commission England are demonstrating a commitment to driving the project forward by looking at its feasibility.

Councillor Alan Quinn, Bury Council’s cabinet member for the environment, said:

“Trees and woodlands are integral to our environment. They provide bio diversity to wildlife, they absorb harmful carbon dioxide, help with flooding, shade us in summer and provide tranquil and beautiful places for us to enjoy.”

“Our woodlands are facing the unprecedented threats of 19 tree pests and diseases:  Ash Die Back alone could destroy 10% of our tree stock. There is also the added threat of climate change, and the extended dry spell is testament to this.

“We’ve worked successfully with the Forestry Commission since 2011, and we look forward to continuing this work, as the Forestry Commission have the expertise and resources to manage and protect this valuable resource for years to come.

“I can assure Bury residents that the woodlands would remain Bury's property and be open to residents as they are now; their management by the Forestry Commission would not change this.

“In the future I also wish to proceed to implement the City Forest Park with the Forestry Commission, City of Trees and Salford Council. This will be an urban forest 50% bigger than Heaton Park and is also part of Mayor Andy Burnham's green vision.”

Ends

Notes to Editor

  1. 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. Further information can be found at www.forestry.gov.uk/england

    England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission http://www.forestry.gov.uk/englandsforests