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It has been confirmed that we have won the contract to grow the first tranche of up to seven million native trees and shrubs that will be used to create valuable new woodland habitats alongside the HS2 rail link. The 10 year contract is to provide the trees which will be planted along the first phase of the project, from London to the West Midlands.

This advance procurement contract for trees and plants is the largest ever let by government to our sector and we are delighted to have been successful. It’s a great endorsement of our capabilities to win such a huge contract and It will underpin our business and provide security and opportunities for employees for the next 10 years. The numbers are very significant and our first growing instruction contains 1.8m plants with over 500,000 container grown items and 130,000 trees over 2m tall both bare-root and root-balled.

The trees will be a mix of native species grown from seed over the next twelve months. In total, the first phase of HS2 will create more than 1,000 hectares of woodland, equivalent to seven times the size of Hyde Park in London.

Planting will be integrated with the construction programme and designed to help blend the train line into the existing landscape. Lost woodland will be replaced and new plantings will help to create ‘green corridors’ linking currently isolated wooded areas with new ones.

Construction is due to begin early next year, with the first trees planted in locations identified for advance planting from autumn 2017 to spring 2018.

HS2 Ltd, Managing Director – Construction, Jim Crawford said: “Our woodlands are some of Britain’s most important natural habitats. That’s why it’s vital that we leave behind a positive legacy of high quality green spaces all along the route. Today’s announcement takes us a step closer to that goal and I look forward to working with Crowders in the years ahead to deliver what will be one of the UK’s most ambitious new forestry and ecology projects.”