WORK has started on a woodland creation scheme that will see millions of trees planted in the North York Moors National Park.

The scheme is being funded by Sirius Minerals, the company behind the development of Woodsmith Mine near Whitby, and will see 10.5 million new trees planted.

They will cover an area totalling over 7,000 hectares – around 220 hectares during the mine’s five-year construction period, and a further 219 hectares every three years throughout the operational life of the project.

The tree planting forms part of Sirius Minerals’ contributions as part of its planning permission.

The company has committed to provide £130 million to safeguard and enhance the local landscape and offset carbon emissions from its £3bn North Yorkshire polyhalite mine

Briony Fox, the director of polyhalite projects at the National Park said: “A variety of deciduous tree species native to Britain – such as alder, aspen, willow, oak, birch, hazel and hawthorn – have initially been planted by National Park staff and volunteers near Langdale End and Chopgate.

“As well as offsetting carbon, these new woodland areas will make a significant ecological contribution to the area and will increase biodiversity, supporting an array of other species.

“We have also identified further land within the National Park for future tree planting and are looking forward to starting shortly.”

Gareth Edmunds, external affairs director for Sirius Minerals, added: “The company has made a firm commitment to protecting the environment and enhancing the local landscape.”