Biodiversity works begin at Bamford as part of Hope Valley rail upgrade

As upgrade works pick up speed on the Hope Valley rail line, biodiversity experts have been on site to set in motion one of the slowest growing parts of the project.

By Ed Dingwall
Monday, 4th April 2022, 11:10 am

Significant planting and landscaping enhancements have begun near Bamford in the first stage of plans to ensure the project makes a positive environmental contribution alongside the railway infrastructure changes intended to improve the speed and reliability passenger journeys between Manchester and Sheffield.

VolkerRailStory, in partnership with environmental consultant Ecus, are planting 172 standard trees, 18,000 whips, 410 metres of hedges of native species and 9,240 square metres of species rich grassland at at Sickleholme Golf Course – with the aim of meeting a net gain target of 20 per cent for the site’s biodiversity impact.

Pete Broomhead, the company’s environmental lead, said: “With much of the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade taking place within the Peak District National Park, it’s particularly important that we strive to leave a positive legacy in the local community and environment.

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Hundreds of trees are being planted in areas around the Hope Valley line to ensure the project leaves a positive environmental legacy.

“The tree planting and biodiversity enhancements form part of numerous ecology and landscape management plans that the project has agreed with Sheffield City Council and the Peak District National Park Authority, so that we ensure that the project’s impact on local habitats and wildlife is kept to a minimum, and that we enhance and improve the natural environment that we’re working in.”

As part of the work being undertaken at Dore & Totley – to install a second railway line, a new platform and accessible footbridge – VolkerRailStory are working towards 12 per cent biodiversity net gain, through planting in Poynton Woods and Dore Triangle.

Faye Durkin, head of ecology at Ecus, said: “This has been a really exciting opportunity for our landscape architects, ecologists and habitat creation teams to work closely together to design and now create a large scale project. Our client has gone above and beyond the typically required ten per cent gain and we’re working with them to leave a positive legacy for biodiversity.”

Other environmental initiatives planned for the project include using 100 per cent green energy to power the main construction compounds, targets for the use of responsibly sourced materials such as timber, concrete and aggregate, and a commitment to divert 97.5 per cent of all non-hazardous site waste from landfill.

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