2021 02 23 Stables Business Park tree plantation

More than 5,000 trees take root at the Stables Business Park

THE parkland landscape at the Stables Business Park on the Rooksbridge campus has been further enhanced with the planting of more than 5,000 trees by Hinkley Connection contractors working for National Grid.

With a mixture of native broadleaf trees that include oak, beech, hazel and holly the plantation was created in January and is set to form a substantial woodland area as the trees mature.

Business park owner Tom Dalley said: “We had wanted to create a woodland habitat to encourage the deer, foxes, badgers and birdlife that already visit the park. And when Hinkley Connection said they had a scheme for landowners to plant trees along the route of the new power lines we took them up on the offer.”

Hinkley Connection is a joint project featuring National Grid, Western Power and EDF at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station to replace the existing electricity cables and pylons between Hinkley Point and Seabank just north of Avonmouth.

Much of the new infrastructure feature new T-shaped pylons, plus in some sections like the Mendips underground cabling is being installed. To mitigate some of the aspects of the major infrastructure project a 106 planning agreement includes a pledge to plant thousands of trees along the route.

“Contractors moved in at the beginning of the year,” said Tom, “and have planted the bulk of the trees which they will look after for the first five years of their growth. By then we hope the wooded area will have established itself. They are planting more trees once we’ve prepared more ground later this year. Separately we’ve planted another woodland to the left as you enter the park with the main plantation on the other side of the driveway.”

The Hinkley Connection plantation at Rooksbridge is the single largest planting undertaken so far in the project as most landowners are farmers who tend to want smaller areas planted along with supplementing tree planting to bolster hedgerows.

“Our motto is relax you’re at work,” said Tom, “and by creating a business park that has gardens, meadows and woodlands it all helps to give a feeling of calm for the workers of the companies that occupy the units here.”

Hinkley Connection said: “We’re already engaged with landowners closest to the route, and we’re now making the scheme available to landowners within 3km of the new connection. Wherever possible we will use native species such as oak, willow, hazel, hawthorn and maple, to create woods and to infill in existing hedges.”

The initiative known as the Off-Site Planting and Mitigation Scheme (OSPES) aims to increase local biodiversity as well as increasing the amount of tree cover along the route which passes Rooksbridge in Somerset.

The Stables Business Park lies just off the A38 at Rooksbridge close to the M5 at Edithmead and features new classic English farmstead style buildings occupied by a wide range of businesses.

“It really improved the park as we are in a rural location,” said Tom, “with thousands of broadleaf native trees the business park effectively doubles up as a nature reserve as well.”

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