Shaun the Sheep to 'plant' National Forest's nine millionth tree

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Tree planting
Image caption,
It has taken 30 years to plant nine million trees, many of them on reclaimed land

The National Forest is set to plant its nine millionth tree with the help of a Wallace and Gromit character.

The project, which stretches across 200 sq miles (518 sq km) of the Midlands, has also been awarded £2.26m in new funding.

Tree cover has been increased from 6% to 21%, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits, the National Forest Company said.

Animation star Shaun the Sheep will "plant" the tree in a virtual ceremony.

The National Forest, which runs between Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire, was started 30 years ago to regenerate derelict land.

Image source, Aardman Animation
Image caption,
Shaun will "plant" the nine millionth tree on his home farm in Mossy Bottom

Dr Ian Duncan, chair of the National Forest Company, said it was a "major achievement".

"We are incredibly proud to be planting our nine millionth tree," he said.

Forestry Minister Zac Goldsmith, who ordinarily would have planted the tree himself, said: "At a time of such urgency for our climate and environment, this is a welcome and impressive achievement."

Aardman Animations' Shaun the Sheep, who has starred in two movies and dozens of episodes of his own show, will "plant" the nine millionth tree in a specially-made short film.

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