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National Highways awards up to £3 million to increase tree planting across its network by 2030


National Highways has awarded nearly £3 million to a nursery in West Sussex to secure its future pipeline of young trees for planting across the country.  


The government company is taking the innovative approach of buying and growing its own stocks of native trees as part of its commitment to plant an additional three million trees by 2030.  


Greenwood Plants, near Arundel in West Sussex, one of the UK’s largest growers for the commercial sector, has been awarded £2.7 million to help grow millions of native trees from seed, over a five-year period, in batches ready for planting for five years from autumn 24/25. 


The native species will include Holly, Scots Pine, Oak, Rowan and Beech. The trees chosen will offer seasonal interest throughout the year and blend harmoniously with the surrounding natural environments. They will be grown peat-free at nurseries near Arundel, West Sussex and the Wirral, in Cheshire. 

 

The majority will be supplied as two-year-old bareroot seedlings, which means they will be field grown and come with their roots exposed (no soil attached). This makes them easier to transport, quicker to plant and establish.


They will be planted in the season November to March.  


National Highways recently published its ‘Environmental Sustainability Strategy’ setting out its journey to enhancing nature, achieving net-zero carbon by managing roads in a more sustainable way and ensuring that communities alongside the strategic road network have a better quality of life through reduced pollution and a better environment in which to live.   

 

Announcing this major funding, Malcolm Dare, National Highways Executive Director, said: “The positive impacts of trees and green spaces on the environment are significant, which is why I am proud to be awarding today’s significant funding to Greenwood Plants.  

“We are all aware of the consequences of climate change, proving that we can no longer afford to be indifferent or complacent about this issue. That’s why we’re doing all we can to tackle the ecological problems we face by investing in vital projects like these to improve our road network.” 

 

“We are really proud to be supporting National Highways in their goals of reaching Net Zero and improving biodiversity across the country, principles that are very close to our heart here at Greenwood”, said Melanie Asker, Managing Director at Greenwood Plants. 


In addition to our tree planting, over the next two months green fingered teams from National Highways will also be busy on our verges along the A27 and M2 in Kent.  


While most of us are asleep, midnight gardeners won’t just be cutting the grass and collecting litter, they will be planting special seeds for plants that encourage pollinators such as bees, butterflies and beetles. 


Covering an area of more than 35,000 square metres, the same as 49 football pitches, the late-night horticulturists will plant a mixture of wildflower and grass seeds including Meadow Buttercup, Lady’s Bedstraw, Ragged Robin and Betony. 

Starting at Chichester, approximately 1.75 tonnes of seeds have already been planted on verges along the A27 all the way to Pevensey, and along the M2/A2 from Rochester to Dover. 

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