Hope Valley Railway Upgrade begins major biodiversity enhancements in local area

Significant planting and landscaping enhancements have now started on the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade, a Network Rail project being delivered by the VolkerRailStory joint venture, that will see new railway infrastructure and track built to enable faster and more reliable passenger journeys between Manchester and Sheffield.


The VolkerRailStory joint venture, has begun hedgerow and tree planting at Sickleholme golf course in Bamford, close to where a 1km railway loop will be constructed, to allow passenger trains to pass slower freight trains along the line.

This planting work marks the start of the project’s ambitious net gain biodiversity landscaping plan, which will enhance the natural environment and leave habitats in a measurably better state than before the scheme started.

VolkerRailStory, alongside environmental consultant, Ecus, is planting 172 standard trees, 18,000 whips, 410 metres of hedges of native species and 9,240m2 of species rich grassland at the golf course.

This landscaping initiative, together with wider grassland, tree and hedgerow planting close to and along the new railway loop, make up a biodiversity net gain target of over 20% - a target set by the project at Bamford.

Pete Broomhead, environmental and consents lead from VolkerRailStory, said: “With much of the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade taking place within the Peak District National Park, it’s particularly important that we strive to leave a positive legacy in the local community and environment.

“This tree planting and biodiversity enhancement project forms part of numerous ecology and landscape management plans, that the project has agreed with Sheffield City Council and the Peak District National Park Authority, to ensure that the project’s impact on local habitats and wildlife is kept to a minimum, allowing us to enhance and improve the natural environment that we’re working in.”

As part of the work being undertaken at Dore and Totley, to install a second railway line, a new platform and accessible footbridge at the station, VolkerRailStory is also working towards 12% biodiversity net gain, through further planting in Poynton Woods and Dore Triangle.

Faye Durkin, head of ecology at Ecus, said: “This has been a really exciting opportunity for our landscape architects, ecologists and habitat creation teams, who are now working closely together to design and create this large scale project. VolkerRailStory has gone above and beyond the typically required 10% gain, and we’re excited to work with them to leave a positive legacy for biodiversity.”

Other environmental initiatives, committed to by the joint venture, include using 100% green energy to power the project’s main site compounds at Bamford, and Dore and Totley, to significantly reduce the project’s direct carbon emissions. Targets have also been set to use 100% responsibly sourced materials, such as timber, concrete and aggregate, and to divert 97.5% of non-hazardous site waste from landfill.

VolkerRailStory has also signed its sites up to the Considerate Constructors Scheme, further strengthening its commitment to minimising the project’s impact on and enhancing the natural environment.