UPM Tilhill nears completion of major planting project

(UPM Tilhill, Dagenham, 06 July 2011) UPM Tilhill is gearing up for the final phase of soft landscaping at Beam Parklands in Dagenham, East London.

The contract includes planting 42,000 marginal wetland plants along the River Beam and the Wantz Stream flowing through the 52 hectare site which is being transformed into parkland for local people and wildlife. Species include Common reed, Meadowsweet, Marsh marigold, Yellow flag iris, Watermint, Water plantain and Reed canary grass – all locally sourced from a specialist grower Salix River and Wetland Services.

Community involvement has been an important part of the project and local primary school children were involved in planting areas of the riverbanks. Local residents were also involved in the original designs for the site following three public consultation events.  The park will be officially opened on Friday 8 July followed by a community fun day on 9th July.

Nearly 13,000 trees and shrubs, all native species, have already been planted by UPM Tilhill, including Field Maple, Silver Birch, Common Hawthorn and Common Gorse. A fruit orchard is also being established with more than 200 apple, wild cherry and pear trees.

UPM Tilhill Contract Manager David Collender explained: “We are very proud to be involved with this award-winning project which will offer the residents of Barking, Dagenham and Havering a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a beautiful green space and access to water in the densely populated area of East London for decades to come. As a company, we are also always very keen to work on projects that help improve biodiversity and see this as hugely important. The planting we are carrying out will help create a rich environment for a range of species such as water voles, great crested newts and wetland birds.”

The Beam Parklands project, which recently won a Living Wetlands award from Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) , is a multi-million pound scheme to provide better facilities for parks users, improve flood protection for the parkland and residents of adjoining areas and improve to wildlife and biodiversity.

Environment Agency Landscape Architect Richard Hellier said: "As well as being a place for the local community to enjoy, The Beam Parklands is a site which reduces the risk of flooding to 400 homes, local businesses and Barking Power Station. We and our partners have used an innovative approach in this project to bring people and nature together. To do this we needed to create a landscape that was robust. We added to the habitats that were already on site to create 12 hectares of Biodiversity Action Plan habitat, which will benefit great crested newts, water voles, reed bunting among others. Through good design we have really enhanced the local environment not only for rare species, but we have also created an environment that will inspire people and encourage them to get out and explore."

Richard added that because of the dry Spring, planting schedules had to be altered to give the plants the best chance of survival.

“There was a good degree of flexibility by UPM Tilhill staff in terms of planting the aquatic plants in the low water levels experienced on site this very dry Spring. We are pleased with the results and the fact that the planting has a naturalistic feel which is exactly what we required.”

The scheme is being delivered in partnership between the Environment Agency, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham and London Borough of Havering, who each own parts of the site, The Land Trust and the London Development Agency. From 1 April 2011 most of this land was leased to the Land Trust who will fund and bear the final responsibility for its long-term management.

Funding of £1.5 million for the capital works was obtained from the European Regional Development Fund. An endowment of £1.9 million was obtained from the Homes and Communities Agency (now the National Housing and Regeneration Agency), to pay for the long-term maintenance of the site. An additional £250,000 was obtained from Veolia Cleanaway Trust to pay for the new bridge and for other access improvements. £50,000 was obtained from the government's Playbuilder scheme to provide improved children's natural play facilities.

 

For questions about UPM Tilhill’s involvement, please contact PR Consultant Suzi Christie on 01435 830031 or e-mail suzi@blueberry-pr.co.uk

Notes to editors:

UPM Tilhill

Established more than 60 years ago, UPM Tilhill is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK, with a turnover in excess of £100 million.

UPM Tilhill provides landscaping, arboriculture and environmental services throughout the UK. Clients include civil engineers, developers, landscape architects and local authorities as well as landowners. The company is a member of BALI and is registered with Construction Line, Achilles and Link-up, and has a CSCS Gold Standard Certificate.  UPM Tilhill operates a stringent code of practice and complies with ISO 9001:2000 (quality assurance), ISO 14001:2004 (environmental management), and OHSAS 18001 (health and safety) standards.

UPM Tilhill is the UK’s largest timber harvesting and forest management company.  It harvests and markets over 2.0 million tonnes out of a UK market in excess of 8 million tonnes per year. The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor. Further information is available on the company’s website at www.upm-tilhill.com