Instead of building train tracks and roads and tunnels and loads of expensive cycleways up there, the government's had a much better idea about what to do with the north -- cover it in trees and say it's a forest. Forests don't need massively expensive east/west rail links or hospitals. Job done.
The idea to tree-over some of the land is contained within a concept the government calls the Northern Forest, which encompasses vast chunks of the north of England surrounding the M62 between Liverpool and Hull. The Woodland Trust and Community Forest Trust have been given the order to prepare for the planting of as many as 50 million new trees under the guise of the government's forthcoming 25 Year Environment Plan, which hopes to make the outside a nicer place for squirrels, birds, bees and any humans left that don't entirely exist on the internet having food delivered through their telephones.
Environment secretary Michael Gove made it sound appealing, but then used the heinous term "Green Brexit" for some god awful reason, explaining: "This new Northern Forest is an ambitious and exciting project that will create a vast ribbon of woodland cover in northern England stretching from coast to coast, providing a rich habitat for wildlife to thrive, and a natural environment for millions of people to enjoy. This new forest will help us deliver a Green Brexit and help to deliver on our pledge to leave the environment in a better state than we found it."
The government's putting in £5.7m to start the project. It expects charities to magic up the remaining balance of the £500m it's all expected to cost. [GOV]