THE Ribble Rivers Trust has launched a decade-long campaign to double the area of woodland across Lancashire to fight climate change.

The trust's ambitious £5million project will plant more than half a million trees to help reduce flooding, improve air quality and remove 100,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Working with private and public sector supporters together with community-based groups and conservation charities, the trust is aiming to create 100 kilometres of new or restored woodland alongside the Rivers Ribble, Lune and Wyre together with their network of tributaries.

The initiative aims to raise £500,000 per year of funding from grants, and the general public.

Ribble Rivers Trust director Jack Spees said: "There is huge appetite from communities across the Ribble catchment to do their bit to tackle climate change, increase biodiversity and contribute to natural flood risk management.

"By working together, we can achieve so much more than alone.

“It’s clear that there are significant benefits to be achieved by expanding woodland cover and that this should be a priority for all, but it is equally clear that the scale of this project is beyond the capacity of a single organization and that a partnership is required to take this forward.

“Ribble Rivers Trust has planted more than 150,000 trees across Lancashire over the last five years through the delivery of multiple woodland creation projects."

Coordinated and managed by the Ribble Rivers Trust, by 2030 the new waterside woodlands will extend across some 350 hectares of Lancashire – stretching from the Yorkshire Border to the coast beyond Preston.

Miranda Barker, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: "This ambitious, long-term strategy is a huge step towards achieving the county’s carbon reduction and climate change goals upon which both the public and private sectors are increasingly focused.

“Uniting businesses, communities, charities and individuals to plant hundreds of thousands of trees across the county will support inward investment and the wider transition to clean economic growth."

“This exciting scheme will expand access to recreation in green spaces, create jobs in the rapidly expanding green economy and provide investment and training opportunities across the county."