A local train company is going green with its environmental grants for 2011.

First TransPennine Express (FTPE) will this year be donating a total of £26,000 to tree and woodland conservation projects across the north of England and into Scotland.

The grants which are in their fifth year are run in partnership with the Forestry Commission. Since 2007, FTPE has supported 43 projects and this year's donation will mean that over £100,000 has been committed to the green grants scheme

Green Grants is open to community groups, clubs, schools, charities and anyone who allows open access to their land. Applicants can apply for up to £2,000 per environmental project.

Cath Johnston, Environmental Manager for First TransPennine Express, helped to launch the idea.  She said: "The Green Grants Scheme benefited many worthwhile areas last year so it is great to have the opportunity to do this again and enable more communities to benefit.  

"We are also looking forward to working with the Forestry Commission again and I hope that it will inspire people to make a positive improvement to their local environment."

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests.

James Bickley, Forestry Commission woodland officer, said: "We would like to thank First TransPennine Express for again putting money forward to support projects that help create, and maintain, woodland.

"The schemes this money supports are of huge social and environmental benefit to the communities they are in. Previous projects that have been supported have included the planting of new trees and flowers, access paths created, and habitat improved for rare species of butterfly.

"I hope that people will come forward to take advantage of these grants and make a real difference to the quality of their local environment."

Judges will award grants based on a description of the work, the impact it will have, involvement of the local community, the positive impact on the environment and how close the project is to the FTPE rail network. Applications must be received by 14th October 2011.

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