To mark #NationalTreeWeek, Openreach and Ground Control have created ‘OpenWood’ at Old Bolingbroke in Lincolnshire, with 3,339 young trees planted on November 29, 2021 by members of staff from Openreach and Ground Control, alongside volunteers from the Parish Council and local community.

Chris Bawtree, Woodland Creation Lead at Ground Control, said:

We are thrilled to collaborate with Openreach and to support the community of Old Bolingbroke in this important project through our Evergreen environmental impact fund. This is another great example of how we are working in partnership with like-minded organisations to care for our environment and deliver positive impacts.
The woodland-creation project – started in response to Old Bolingbroke and Hareby Parish Council’s plan to enhance the village’s King George V playing fields - aims to involve the local community in tackling the climate crisis, as well as increasing natural beauty and biodiversity in the district.

The site will not only provide a place for people to enjoy and wildlife to flourish but will help with the fight against the effects of climate change by purifying the air, locking up carbon and soaking up excess water which would otherwise contribute to flooding risk.

Twenty-three native tree species including, Alder, Black poplar, Cherry and Crack willow, now form a series of interconnecting copses planted over an acre of land, with a further 445m of linked hedgerow shrubs – with each sapling selected to maximise biodiversity and provide planting that is resilient to climate change and future pests and diseases.

The new woodland and hedgerow habitat will increase biodiversity and provide valuable wildlife corridors. Within 50 years the trees of ‘Open Wood’ will have sequestered approximately 160 tonnes C02e and the hedgerow 270 tonnes C02e, helping Old Bolingbroke to make a significant local contribution to the national Net Zero target.

Andrew Kirkby, Openreach’s Senior Manager for Sustainability, said: “Our engineers are delighted to be volunteering their time to help plant thousands of trees to create this special space. As a company, we’re only too aware of our environmental responsibility, and we’re making giant strides in reducing our carbon emissions. With 28,000 Openreach vans – the second largest commercial fleet in the UK - on the road, we’re really focussed on switching to electric vehicles and reaching zero emissions by 2030. It was great to bring some of the new fleet to Old Bolingbroke to show the local community.”

Victoria Atkins, MP for Louth and Horncastle, said: “This is great news to see such a team effort between Openreach and local community groups, taking place in my constituency. I’m sure people living nearby will enjoy this space for many years to come and everyone is no doubt incredibly grateful for the hard work of those involved, particularly the volunteers.”

Old Bolingbroke Parish Council – Pam Powell, Chair said: “We’re hoping to increase wildlife species, by putting in a variety of trees, hedges, that will enhance the whole area. It’s a beautiful setting, and this will ensure our little corner of the earth contributes to the reversal of climate change on behalf of the local community.”

The Lincolnshire project is being funded by The Evergreen Fund, Ground Control’s £5 million Impact Venture Fund dedicated to environmental initiatives and carbon sequestration. Creation of the woodland (ecological survey, species selection, design, stock procurement, project planning and delivery) has been carried out in a collaboration between the public and private sectors, led by Openreach and Ground Control, with support from Old Bolingbroke Parish Council.

 

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