One million trees for Clay Country – Woodland Project reaches completion
Lady Mary Holborow, the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, joined representatives of Imerys, The Woodland Trust, Natural England and 60 children from Nanpean primary school today (Monday 19th May) to mark the completion of a project to plant one million trees – one of the largest woodland replanting schemes that the UK has ever seen.
The land restoration project is part of Imerys' long-term commitment to return land used during their mining operations to other uses. Taking four years to complete, the China Clay Woodland Project has created 838 acres (339 hectares) of native broadleaf woodland and has seen a further 988 acres (almost 400 hectares) brought into management.
At a special ceremony at Gilleys Mica Dam near Whitemoor, Lady Mary Holborow planted the millionth tree to mark the completion of the project.
The equivalent of 838 football pitches of trees planted in Clay Country is mainly composed of oak, together with some ash and hazel. The new woodland will become a rich eco system and will include 7.5 miles of new access routes to allow the public to see the woodlands grow and develop, providing a valuable asset for local tourism.
The project will play an important part in increasing the area of forested land in the United Kingdom. At the beginning of the 20th century forested land fell to a low of 2.7 million acres; since then restoration of woodlands has been increased, reaching at the present time around 7 million acres.
Led by Natural England, the planting has taken place on land owned by Imerys. The area of planted woodland is estimated to be three times larger than any other quarry replanting scheme undertaken in the UK.
Ivor Bowditch, Imerys' Community and Public Relations Manager said: "This is one of the best environmental schemes Imerys Minerals has ever been involved with. The public will be aware of the increasing ways we are trying to lessen the impact of the china clay industry on the landscape. This woodland project, in addition to the highly successful heathland project carried out some years ago, is part of our long-term commitment to restore the land for other uses. Once established, the woodland will be a tremendous asset for wildlife and the local community and will meet Cornwall's targeted Biodiversity Action Plan to create new upland oak woodland."
During the project's planting seasons, the China Clay Woodland Project has seen up to 100 tree planters working at one time to transform the landscape into a green oasis. Joining the teams of planters around 1,500 primary school pupils from the local area have got their hands dirty and gained first hand experience of sustainable land development.
Mark Yeoman, Deputy Director of the Objective One Partnership said: "The rehabilitation of this former industrial landscape is a vital building block in the economic and community regeneration of the area. With a better environment comes greater social and economic confidence and with it increased business activity and employment. This scheme demonstrates the power of partnerships between the public and private sector in achieving joint goals of environmental restoration and economic regeneration."
Steve Clark, Landscapes for Biodiversity Manager at Natural England said: "The trees planted through this project will be established within five years and recognisable as woodland within 10 years. This project is all about creating a legacy for future generations and it's wonderful to think that the primary school children who have helped us plant trees will be able to see the mature woodlands established by the time they reach adulthood and enjoy with future generations of their families."
The project has been supported by over £1 million from Objective One, £900,000 by Defra and £450,000 by Imerys along with an additional £90,000 from Natural England, Restormel Borough Council, The Forestry Commission and Cornwall County Council.
For further information please contact Laura Tregonning, Deborah Clark Associates, on 01208 77900 or email email@example.com.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Cornish Woodlands Study through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).
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