PROPOSALS for a new Northern Forest dreamt up as part of the Government’s 25-year plan to improve the environment should be expanded to include Lancashire, councillors have claimed.

A motion to Pendle Council by Liberal Democrat councillor Tony Greaves noted that, as set out at present, the boundaries of the proposed Northern Forest area along the M6 from Hull to Liverpool included most local authority areas in historic Yorkshire and Lancashire but did not include the county of Lancashire.

Pendle Council supports the concept of a new Northern Forest, extending from coast to coast, and including appropriate land in both urban and rural areas.

It would like to see the Northern Forest extending to include Lancashire, and in particular the Borough of Pendle and adjoining parts of Pennine Lancashire.

Members will seek the support of Lancashire County Council and other local authorities in Lancashire, together with the Lancashire Association of Local Councils and lobby the Forest of Bowland AONB, the Ribble River Trust and other appropriate local bodies together with the Woodland Trust and the Community Forests Trust.

The Northern Forest is an ambitious, long-term plan to plant 50 million trees in and around the cities of Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Hull.

Woodland Trust bosses say the scheme would reduce the risk of flooding for up to 190,000 people and create thousands of new jobs.

The trust hopes the plan would help tackle climate change by storing thousands of tonnes of carbon, as well as cool and clean the air in towns and cities, helping to reduce the pollutants that cause childhood asthma and respiratory disease

Other potential benefits include improve water quality, opportunities for recreation, tourism and leisure, and helping draw investors into the north.