Call to include Wigan parkland in ‘Queen’s canopy’

The Queen and Sir David during the documentary
The Queen and Sir David during the documentary

Wigan Council is being urged to submit the magnificent woodlands of Haigh Plantations to a very royal project.

Last month saw the screening of a documentary featuring Her Majesty the Queen and veteran naturalist Sir David Attenborough in which they talked about trees and promoted the Commonwealth Canopy project which was launched three years ago.

Haigh plantations

Haigh plantations

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The conservation project’s aim is to create a global network of indigenous forests to benefit communities and wildlife.

The main thrust of the campaign is to pledge to plant more trees.

But two Wigan local election hopefuls are also calling on the local authority to offer up the existing forest of Haigh to be part of the green canopy.

Independents Gareth Fairhurst and his wife Coun Debbie Fairhurst said they are writing to the town hall to inform the council of the campaign and urge it to put forward the plantations for the cause.

They say that if successful this will not only protect the plantations but also boost the royal scheme.

Coun Debbie Fairhurst said: “The plantations are a great place to go and walk and cycle.

“It is a large area of quiet nature and it fits hand in glove with what the Queen is trying to achieve.

“I think we are able to help the Queen’s cause and also put forward the plantations to contribute to the canopy.”

Gareth Fairhurst added: “People from all over the borough and beyond visit Haigh plantations - it is after all a fantastic attraction.

“And if we can help the Queen’s cause it will further cement its status.

“There are just three areas in the UK that have signed up to this new cause so it would be great for the council to put forward the plantations and be one of the first of many areas that will no doubt link up in this campaign.”

Meanhwile under the scheme, charity The Woodland Trust will provide 50,000 trees that will be put together into 10,000 packs, where schools and community groups can sign up to receive one.

Each pack will contain five UK-sourced and native broadleaf trees – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel. They will be free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis. Successful applicants are currently receiving special commemorative booklet.

This will include information and photographs on the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project, and educational information about trees and how to nurture them. The trees will then be sent out this autumn, the best season in which to plant young trees, and packs will include guidance on how to plant and nurture them.

With regard to the Fairhursts’ pending letter, a Wigan Council spokesman said: “Due to the impending election we are not able to comment on matters which involve candidates.”

Debbie Fairhurst is standing for Standish Independents in the Standish With Langtree ward tomorrow against Adam Marsh (Conservative) and Debbie Parkinson (Labour).

Gareth Fairhurst is standing for Wigan Independents in the Wigan Central ward against George Davies (Labour), Lewis Evans (Conservative), Tony Spencer (Independent) and Caroline Waddicor (Liberal-Democrats).