A group of volunteers from across the BakerHicks offices had the opportunity to help plant saplings that will form part of the nine new woodlands being created by Morgan Sindall Group on the Blenheim Estate.
A major sustainability initiative to plant 250,000 trees in nine new woodlands
Increasing biodiversity, preventing soil erosion and improving water quality
Capturing over 22,000 tonnes of carbon over the next 25 years
As part of the visit, they were given a tour of one of the woodlands by the Blenheim Estate forestry team who explained how they will take into account materials, methods and location when creating the woodlands, which will see over 250,000 new trees planted on the estate. For example, food security is protected by only using land unsuitable for agriculture and water-run off is decreased and the water quality of the nearby river improved by the layout. Sustainability is at the heart of every aspect of the project, with pioneering biodegradable biospiral tree protection being used, eliminating plastic use, and fully recyclable protective fencing being employed. The protective fencing will have built-in badger gates to allow them to move freely whilst still protecting the young trees from deer and rabbits.
They also learnt about the mix of tree species that have been carefully selected to increase biodiversity, provide optimum carbon absorption and ensure they can cope with the two degrees centigrade temperature increase that global warming is predicted to cause. Acorns have also been taken from the oak trees in the Blenheim gardens and planted in the new woodlands, providing a direct genetic link to the main estate.
Whilst having an immediate impact in terms of biodiversity, soil erosion prevention and cleaner water, this will be a legacy project, which over the next quarter of a century will capture 22,000 tonnes of carbon. It will also aim to set new standards for auditing and transparency, with changes to the air, water and soil monitored, and carbon levels tracked using state-of-the-art technology, including drones with Artificial Intelligence, to quantify environmental changes.
The woodlands will also provide open access for locals, linking previously separate footpaths to enable them to enjoy a continuous route across the valley. There will also be a forest school, providing local schoolchildren with the opportunity to learn about the environment they live in.
The project followed on from Morgan Sindall Group’s announcement in February 2021 that they are committing to achieving net zero by 2030.The project also aims to set new standards for auditing and transparency, with changes to the air, water and soil monitored, and carbon levels tracked using state-of-the-art technology, including drones with Artificial Intelligence, to quantify environmental changes.