Rooting for more – Network Rail volunteers continue planting thousands of trees across the Southern region with hopes to double last year’s total as part of their £1 million pledge: Network Rail and The Tree Council volunteers at Petersfield Community Gardens

Wednesday 15 Mar 2023

Rooting for more – Network Rail volunteers continue planting thousands of trees across the Southern region with hopes to double last year’s total as part of their £1 million pledge

Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex

Network Rail Southern region is working with national conservation charity The Tree Council to plant more than 100,000 trees and shrubs by 2024.

Last year Network Rail pledged £1 million to set up local planting schemes across Hampshire, Surrey, South London, Kent, and Sussex as part of its commitment to create more green spaces for local communities.

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s managing director of Southern region, said: “We’re really pleased to be involved with such a great initiative for the second year running.

“Last year, we planted 22,000 trees, more than double our original target of 10,000 trees. This year alone we’ve planted 46,000 trees and we’re now aiming to reach 100,000 by March 2024.”

“It’s great to be working so closely with The Tree Council and our local communities in the south to improve biodiversity across the Southern region.”

Sarah Borien, Network Rail’s head of environment and sustainability, added: “This pledge is part of our wider sustainability strategy which aims to give back to local communities by creating more green spaces and protecting biodiversity.

“We’re committed to delivering our work in a way that uses less energy, cuts carbon emissions and waste and creates cleaner air for people and passengers for generations to come.

“As well as planting trees with local communities, we’re also lining the tracks with a mixture of wildflowers, hedgerows and grassland 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 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, The Tree Council CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Network Rail Southern helping them deliver their exciting sustainability aspirations.

“Together, we are empowering communities and landowners who have local knowledge and skills to plant in the areas where trees will have the most impact, boosting biodiversity and enhancing local lives. Thanks to those involved, the trees will also receive the vital care and long-term attention they need to establish and thrive.

“From fruit trees in the streets of Portsmouth to hedges in Wiltshire and Dorset and schools in London, together we are connecting and improving landscapes and communities for a greener future.”

Contact information

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

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Tala Ghannam
Media Relations Manager (Campaigns) - National
Network Rail
07548 108907

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: