MILLIONS of trees will be planted across England amid fresh attempts to hit the government's planting targets. 

A major cash boost will see around 2,300 hectares of woodland created in the nation's 13 community forests, including Humber and Mersey, in a bid to inch closer to the annual goal of 7,000 ha. 

England fell well short of this last year, planting just 2,260 ha. As a whole, the UK also failed to hit its 30,000 ha target, with only 13,840 ha put in the ground. This was widely criticised by trade bodies and forestry figures. 

READ MORE: UK misses annual tree-planting targets again

Today's announcement sees £44.2m allocated from the £750m Nature for Climate Fund, and it is estimated the new planting will lead to 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide being absorbed by 2050, valued at nearly £100m.

Sir William Worsley, Forestry Commission chair, said: “The social, environmental and economic benefits of being in woodlands are well-documented, helping local communities to be happier, healthier and more pleasant places to live.

“It is a personal mission of mine to make sure as many people as possible get to experience these benefits.

"This funding will ensure we plant trees in areas close to where people live, as well as providing job opportunities in new woodland creation through planting, establishing and managing trees.”

According to ministers, the investment will create larger, well-designed and more diverse woodlands which will be more resilient to climate change, as well as natural hazards such as wildfires and storms – playing an important role in helping us adapt to a warmer world.

They will help to reduce flood risk in vulnerable areas, provide sustainable UK grown timber and provide more places for nature and biodiversity to thrive.

Lord Zac Goldsmith, Forestry Minister, said: “Our economies, livelihoods and wellbeing all rely on nature.

“As well as tackling the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss, this significant funding will create diverse treescapes across the country and improve the health and wellbeing of local communities by giving them more opportunities to enjoy nature on their doorstep.”

Local authorities will also benefit from further support announced today for the development of the new LA Tree and Woodland Strategies toolkit, launching in September in partnership with the Tree Council, Fera, Forestry Commission and Forest Research. This will help to build local capacity to plan for new trees and woodlands.

Paul Nolan, Chair of England’s Community Forests, said: “England’s Community Forests welcome the opportunity to establish even more new woodlands close to people to deliver all the benefits that we know they provide.

“Over the past two years, England’s Community Forests have worked closely with Defra, Forestry Commission, Natural England, over 70 local authorities and a huge range of landowners to establish more than 1,000 hectares of new woodland. We are looking forward to continuing this joint endeavour and helping the country reach our net zero goal.”