Two of Severn Trent’s own sites, at Stoke Bardolph and Beeston Sewage Works, have seen trees planted to create 64 acres of woodland, leaving a carbon neutral legacy following the Games.
The trees were planted primarily for carbon sequestration, but the project did not come without challenges. Matthew Harrison, Forest Manager at Tilhill, said: “Due to tight timings, many of the trees were cell grown to try and maximise the chances of success. In the end it all came together with the Severn Trent team doing all they could to move things on, as well as the farm team, who helped with unloading materials and moving them to the various planting sites.”
Simon Marrington, Chartered Forester and Tilhill’s Business Development Manager for England, commented: “Tilhill was delighted with the success of our bid to undertake the consultancy and grant funding applications underpinning Severn Trent’s commitment to making Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games the most sustainable yet. This commitment, combined with Tilhill’s expertise, will ensure the project provides a pleasing legacy, generating multiple benefits including biodiversity, landscape enhancement and carbon sequestration through native woodland and habitat creation at scale across a number of Severn Trent sites.”
Matthew added: “The low-lying ground conditions also proved challenging, with some compartments adjacent to the River Trent standing in water at the start of the project, but ultimately almost 32,000 trees were planted over a four week period at Stoke Bardolph.”
The Stoke Bardolph scheme was by far the larger of the two sites, being 49 acres in size, divided into four blocks, with the plans also allowing for open space, rides, footpaths and access. At Beeston Sewage Works, 7,900 trees were planted on 8.4 acres of planting area.
Senior Forestry Manager at Severn Trent Water, Matthew Wilcoxon, said: “Last year we saw one of the region’s most successful sporting events in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. As the official Nature & Carbon Partner, Severn Trent is delivering a series of initiatives to leave a social and environmental legacy in support of this event, including work to create 2,022 acres of Commonwealth Forest, across the region.
“As a relatively small team at Severn Trent, planting so many trees across a short time is a huge challenge. The support and expertise of Tilhill staff ensured that we were able to fast track delivery of the woodland at Stoke Bardolph, despite having only a few days between the issue of our afforestation permit and planting starting.”