26 Apr 2024

Human interest Cumbria

Thousands of trees planted to create wildlife hub in Carlisle

Electricity North West's Richard Mosson (centre) and Paul Killilea (second from right) with members from Raise Cumbria

A new forest has been planted in Carlisle to enhance biodiversity and wildlife in the area.

Electricity North West has planted more than 11,000 trees on land it owns on Sandsfield Road.

The power network operator carried out the work as part of its commitment to plant 10,000 trees per year, throughout the North West until 2028.

The project was delivered in partnership with Raise: Cumbria Community Forest, who provided funding for the project through Trees for Climate, part of the government-led, Nature for Climate Fund.

Work has now been completed and residents will start to benefit from richer and more diverse wildlife, cleaner air, reduced flood risk, stronger climate resilience and visual improvements.

Paul Killilea, Electricity North West’s asset and investment director, said: “Our teams of highly trained arborists work year-round to prevent stray branches hitting overhead electricity lines and causing power cuts.

“Customers in the region wanted to see us do more when we cut back trees, so we made a commitment to plant thousands more trees each year and, where possible, we replace the trees with plant species that aren’t as disruptive to the overhead power network.

“When we identified this site in Carlisle, it was a perfect opportunity to kickstart our tree planting programme.

“As the region’s power network operator, we have a big role to play in providing the infrastructure to power electric cars and electric heating to reduce carbon emissions, we’re always looking at different ways to improve the environment and offset carbon emissions and planting thousands of trees is a great contribution.”

Electricity North West is at the forefront of distribution network operator’s (DNO) in establishing a biodiversity woodland on land it owns.

The power network operator worked with Raise on the installation and scheme design which has seen trees planted in a mosaic design that incorporates wood pasture, scrub, hedgerows, and traditional woodland.

Richard Mosson, Electricity North West’s biodiversity manager, added: “We’re all delighted with the outcome of the tree planting scheme, it looks fantastic and will undoubtedly deliver huge benefits to the community."

“The work we’ve done here won’t compromise the maintenance of our operational assets on this site, which power thousands of homes and businesses in the area.

“It’s an excellent programme and one that I’m excited to see develop over the coming years.”

Sixteen Electricity North West colleagues utilised volunteering days to help plant 900 trees and a length of hedge over two days.

James Cobbold, Director at Raise: Cumbria Community Forest added, “This was a fantastic example of how Raise Cumbria can support landowners to plant trees and woodland in a sustainable and sympathetic way on unusual sites.

“It’s never been more important to plant trees in support of addressing the climate emergency, increasing biodiversity, and improving health and wellbeing. We are delighted to be able to support leading organisations like Electricity North West to engage in this way.”