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Major award for The Tree Council and Network Rail’s “partnership made in heaven”

The Tree Council

February 27, 2024

The Tree Council’s five-year partnership with Network Rail scooped the Sustainability and Environmental Excellence Award at the prestigious 2024 Rail Business Awards.

Judges described it as “a partnership made in heaven” as they congratulated The Tree Council CEO Sara Lom and Jo Lewington, Network Rail Chief Environment & Sustainability Officer, at the packed event hosted at the Manchester Hilton.

Sara Lom said: “Marking five years of brilliant partnership, Network Rail and The Tree Council beat off hot competition to win this prestigious award.

“With 20,000 miles of track, the railway is Britain’s longest wildlife corridor and we’re delighted that this partnership, which has already planted nearly 300,000 trees with 108 communities, has been recognised in this way. And there’s so much more to come!”

Announcing the winner, the Rail Business Awards said: “The judges felt this collaboration could be a partnership made in heaven.

“Network Rail has a large portfolio of land that is often difficult to access, while The Tree Council has the knowhow and skills to help turn this land into environmental assets. Better vegetation management should also help to improve the safety of railway operations.”

Over the five years working together, The Tree Council has helped Network Rail respond to the recommendations of the Varley Review, whilst also operating as a critical friend, offering regular  challenge and encouragement around vegetation and biodiversity management.

In line with the Varley Review, the partnership has helped Network Rail manage its lineside estate as a valuable asset; improved communications, particularly with nearby communities; and supported tree-related training for Network Rail employees, contractors and local community volunteers.

Jo Lewington, Network Rail Chief Environment & Sustainability Officer, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with The Tree Council, who are integral to supporting us with our mission to run the railway safely and efficiently whilst valuing and protecting nature.

“Collaboration with third parties shows just what is possible when we work together and we have learned and matured through our connection with The Tree Council.

“We are looking forward to building on this work into the future.”

Find out more about The Tree Council’s partnership with Network Rail by visiting https://treecouncil.org.uk/partnerships/delivery-partners/network-rail/. You can see the full list of 2024 Rail Business Awards winners at https://railbusinessawards.com/2024/en/page/home




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