First saplings of woodland

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The first of 12,000 trees which will form a new woodland on the edge of Blackpool have been planted.

Volunteers joined council workers to plant 300 saplings on a former landfill site at Marton Moss.

Midgeland Farm, on the corner of School Road and Midgeland Road, will eventually be opened to the public to enjoy.

It is hoped the scheme, part of a project by Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and their waste management partner Global Renewables, will also create new wildlife habitats.

Native species including oak, hornbeam, birch and lime along with shrubs such as Holly, Hazel and Hawthorn are being planted.

The first phase of woodland will see 1,260 trees planted on the 32 hectare site this winter, with the whole project set to take up to seven years to complete. It is being funded through grants from the Forestry Commission and savings made by diverting waste from landfill due to it being recycled instead.

Mark Gordon, woodlands development manager for Global Renewables, said: “We are looking to create a community woodland which the public will be able to access and walk through.

“There will also be habitats created for birdlife etc, and when the woodland is thinned out, there will be an income from the timber which will be used to manage the woodland.”

Midgeland Farm is the fourth woodland to be created in Blackpool as part of the link up with Global Renewables.

In recent years residents have campaigned for Marton Moss to be protected, in the wake of a number of housing developments for the area securing planning permission.

Angelia Hinds, of the Save Our Moss campaign, said: “The woodland is a great idea especially if it is going to be open to the public.

“It will be good to see that area protected and to have open space which can be accessed by local people.”

Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for street scene on Blackpool Council, said: “This will be a huge ecological boost to the area and will help in our goal to make Blackpool greener.

“As a town, we all know that Blackpool is heavily built up and struggles for green space, so to create specialist areas like this will be a transformation for the better.”