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From waste tips to woodland

WORK to create more than 339ha of new native broadleaf woodland on former china clay waste tips in mid-Cornwall is well under way thanks to a partnership between Imerys and Natural England (previously English Nature), supported by investment from Objective One, DEFRA and other partners.

Along with the creation of large areas of new woodland, the project will see over 400ha of existing woodland brought into sustainable management, with species such as conifers and rhododendron removed and replaced with tree species that are native to Cornwall.

The £2.5 million four-year restoration project, which is due for completion in 2008, will involve the planting of a total of 650,000 oak, ash and hazel trees to create a rich ecosystem. Some 7.5 miles of new access routes will allow the public to see the woodlands grow and develop, providing a valuable asset for local tourism.

The project is already two-thirds complete; by the end of May 2007 a total of 476,000 trees had been planted by the 30-strong team working full-time on the scheme.

Led by Natural England, the project has been supported by over £1 million from Objective One, £900,000 from DEFRA and £450,000 from Imerys, together with an additional £90,000 from English Nature, Restormel Borough Council, The Forestry Commission and Cornwall County Council.

The china clay woodland project is part of Imerys’ long-term commitment to return the land used during their mining operations to other uses. A project completed in 2004 to restore areas of lowland heath on areas which were once china clay waste tips has already been hugely successful.

Ivor Bowditch, Imerys’ community & public relations manager, said: ‘Imerys Minerals are constantly seeking ways to lessen the impact the china clay industry has on the landscape and The Woodlands Project is part of our long-term commitment restore the land for other uses. Once established, the woodlands will be a tremendous asset for wildlife and the local community.’

 

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