VIDEO: Network Rail branches out to plant thousands of trees with £1 million pledge: Tree Sustainability

Friday 11 Mar 2022

VIDEO: Network Rail branches out to plant thousands of trees with £1 million pledge

Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex

Network Rail Southern region has joined forces with national conservation charity The Tree Council to plant 25,000 trees and shrubs by the end of March.

Network Rail has pledged £1 million to set up local planting schemes across Kent, Sussex, south London, Surrey and Hampshire over the next three years as part of its commitment to create green spaces for local communities. The first year target of 10,000 trees and shrubs by the end of March has been more than doubled, with 25,000 expected to be planted and thousands more by 2024.

John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail Southern region, said: “We run almost a third of Britain’s rail services and we’re committed to doing that in a way that uses less energy, cuts carbon emissions and waste and creates cleaner air for people and passengers.

“We’re so excited to be working with The Tree Council and our local communities in the south to create sustainable green spaces that will leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

“By working together, we have a real opportunity, not only to create diverse habitats that enhance and protect our wildlife, but also to protect the safe and reliable running of the railway for our passengers.”

As one of the south’s biggest guardians of green spaces, we’ve been trialling new ways to make sure the land along the 3,000 miles of track we look after is protected, and improved, for future generations. 

As part of a pilot scheme in Kent, we’re the first in the UK to test different methods for managing vegetation. Instead of trees lining the tracks, mixtures of wildflowers, hedgerows and grassland are being trialled, which is helping us strike a balance between creating rich and diverse habitats and reducing the delays caused by leaves on the line and fallen trees. 

The new partnership with The Tree Council will give local people the money, materials and guidance they need to plant and nurture thousands of trees in their communities, on third-party land, while encouraging Network Rail colleagues to volunteer at these local projects.

Sara Lom, CEO of The Tree Council, said: “We welcome this pledge from Network Rail Southern region as part of their wider sustainability strategy. As the umbrella charity for the UK tree sector, we are delighted to have the opportunity to join with volunteers and local communities to plant and care for more trees and hedgerows across the country. Working together, we will create beautiful green spaces that benefit people, wildlife and the planet both now and into the future.”

Alongside the planting of trees, a biodiversity study in partnership with research bodies will run to assess the benefits of the tree planting for local wildlife and nature.

The tree planting is among dozens of sustainability initiatives, including the creation of 50 new nature reserves, railway sleepers made from recycled plastic in Wiltshire, renewable energy solutions like new solar panels to power Denmark Hill station, vegetable oil being used an alternative to diesel, and huge recycling gains.

The Southern region is now recycling 80% of our waste, up 20% on last year, while at Victoria station we’re recycling over 90% of all waste, an approach being rolled out to our stations and depots. We’re also changing our car fleet by rolling out zero-emission vehicles across the region, starting with our London cars.

Notes to Editors

Notes to editors

  • To embed the video in your website, click the box with the arrow, then copy the embed code and off you go!

Network Rail and the Tree Council are planting trees at nine locations across the south, with many more to follow over the next three years:

  1. Hound Parish, Hants
  2. St Georges School, IoW
  3. Naturetrek rewilding, Hants
  4. Peoples Trust for Endangered Species , Hants
  5. Port Solent VE Day, Hants
  6. Adur-Worthing Parks, Sussex
  7. Charles Dickens Orchards, Portsmouth
  8. Ringwood Hedge planting trial, Hants
  9. Crystal Palace Park, London


Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Paul Dent-Jones

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: