THOUSANDS of trees could be planted in Keighley as part of a project to create a Northern Forest of 50 million trees.

Local landowners are being invited to play a role in ambitious plans to plant 20,000 trees in Bradford district alone over the next year.

Bradford Council unveiled its plans this month (October) at Keighley Area Committee, and will roll out the programme at the district's other four area committees this autumn.

Underused and “hard to mow” areas of parks, recreation grounds and even parts of Ilkley Moor are sites being eyed as possible new woodland sites.

Recent tree planting schemes have included at the former Riddlesden Golf Club.The council wants any landowners who want to take part in the planting scheme to come forward.

Keighley Area Committee members were told that the planting scheme will link to two national schemes.

The Northern Forest is a push to plant 50 million trees between Liverpool and Hull over the next 25 years. And the Urban Tree Challenge Fund is a government scheme to plant new trees in cities and towns.

Committee members were told that planting schemes taking place in the constituency in the coming months will include at Marley Community Orchard, which will also include planting space for schools, at Highfield Recreation Ground in Keighley, at Whinswood Recreation Ground between Keighley and Cross Roads, and involve creating a “forest garden” and planting fruit trees at Park Wood in Keighley.

Trees will be planted at Addingham War Memorial Recreation Ground and hard to mow areas of Silsden Park.

The areas total around two hectares and the report adds: “Although these schemes are still subject to stakeholder consultation and final design decisions, indications are that these schemes are likely to be funded and completed this (planting) season.”

Across the Keighley area the council has created a ‘long list’ of 37 sites that could be used for tree planting, covering an additional gross area of 876ha. These include some areas of Ilkley Moor (approximately 738ha) and Penistone Country Park (approximately 71ha). Other suitable sites include 1.8 hectares at Steeton tip, 1.5 hectares at Damems allotments and a 9.5 hectare site at Utley Cemetery.

The council will be working with the two national tree planting schemes, as well as groups like Trees for Cities and the Woodland Trust to fund the planting.

A spokesman said: “The council is developing a number of local tree planting schemes.

“This year we plan to plant over 20,000 trees across the district but this is subject to funding. Tree planting delivers clear environmental benefits, provides habitat for animals and makes areas more attractive.

“We welcome any offers of financial support and would like to hear from landowners who would like to participate in the programme.”