AN MP has shared his ‘delight’ at Bolton being the starting point for the planting of 50 million trees across the North.

The first trees planted as part of the newly-announced ‘Northern Forest’ project will be at the Smithills Estate.

The Woodland Trust, which this week completed its purchase of the entire Smithills Estate, aims to plant woodland totalling 25,000 hectares across the region in a project which is forecast to cost £500 million over 25 years.

In a question in the House of Commons, Bolton West MP Chris Green gave his backing to the vision.

In response, Defra minister Therese Coffey said: “This ribbon of woodland and forest along the M62 will be welcome, and the Government are kick-starting the project with a £5.7 million grant.

“We will continue to work with the Woodland Trust and other community forests in making this a reality.

“I am particularly pleased for my honourable friend, and I look forward to heading to Bolton to see where the first tree is planted.”

The Woodland Trust wants to plant 130,000 new trees on the Smithills Estate.