THE public is being asked to put forward local areas to become a new "Forest for the Nation" in England – with millions of pounds up for grabs for the winning nomination. 

Organisations that tell a compelling story of how the new woodland will benefit communities but also have a national impact could win up to £10 million to fund the project. 

Proposals could include those that show "real innovation in woodland and forest creation and other forms of tree planting", have a transformational impact for nature recovery in the area or boost community engagement with woodlands.

Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We are investing in our communities and the new Forest for the Nation will not only boost tree-planting in local areas, but will create a lasting legacy and benefit future generations.

“More trees means more green jobs, more wildlife, more nature recovery and more timber. This will have a positive impact on local people and their communities enabling a more sustainable future.”

The competition is inspired by the success of the original National Forest which transformed a large area of the Midlands from an industrial landscape to a thriving 200 square mile treescape rich with wildlife.

Forestry Commission chair Sir William Worsley said: “Trees bring multiple benefits for future generations, and the new Forest for the Nation will improve access to nature and connect more people with our countryside to boost health and wellbeing." 

Forestry Journal: Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow Forestry Minister Rebecca Pow (Image: Houses of Parliament)

Stage 1 of the competition will close in March 2024 with the successful applicants going to stage 2 where they will be directly supported by the National Forest Company to work up detailed proposals. The winning project will also receive mentoring from the National Forest Company, who will share their experience and best practice from more than 30 years of growing a woodland with national impact. 

The National Forest Company has to date planted 9 million trees and are recognised for creating one of the most ambitious and imaginative regeneration projects in the country. 

National Forest Company chief executive John Everitt said: “This competition provides a platform for new projects to come together at a landscape scale and demonstrate real ambition and innovation in woodland creation, access and biodiversity." 

The winning bid will likely be announced in the autumn of this year. 

For more information and to find out how to submit a bid, visit the government's website.