High Speed 2 Railway Line: Tree Planting

Department for Transport written question – answered on 26th June 2020.

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Photo of Kirsten Oswald Kirsten Oswald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work, Pensions and Inclusion)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 9 June 2020 to Question 52100, on High Speed 2 Railway Line: Tree Planting, who fulfils the role of Early Works Contractors on HS2; when those contractors were appointed; what the procurement route used in those appointments was; and how many (a) defective and (b) failed plant materials those contractors have replaced.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Enabling Works Contracts (EWC) for Phase One were awarded to joint venture (JV) organisations in November 2016, covering three geographic Areas (North, Central and South). The enabling works contractors are Laing O’Rourke and Murphy Group (LM-JV) for Area North; Morgan Sindall, BAM Nuttall and Ferrovial Agroman (Fusion JV) for Area Central; and Costain and Skanska (CS-JV) for Area South. The Procurement route used for the EWC Contracts was the OJEU negotiated procedure. The announcement regarding the awarding of contracts can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/hs2-names-enabling-works-contractors

No plants have been rejected by the Independent Inspector as being defective. Out of a total of 553,233 trees planted between 2017 and 2020, 122,208 have been replacement trees, leaving a net total 431,025 trees successfully planted.

The loss of HS2 plants during hot weather, particularly in 2018, has been consistent with planting carried out by others at the same time, including the Forestry Commission which increased its rates under their grant schemes to allow replacement of the additional losses. The cost of maintaining sufficient water supplies for saplings would have been higher than replanting, and using the quantities of water required to maintain the planting would not have been an appropriate or responsible use of resources at the height of summer. Replacing plants lost is considered a much more cost effective solution, as well as being a more ethical use of resources during unprecedented conditions.

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