Network Rail Trial Aims to Improve Lineside Biodiversity

Network Rail is about to start a new trial project to improve lineside biodiversity on the West Highland Line.

Having completed the necessary surveys to ensure the safety of protected species and breeding birds, work will begin to remove trees and vegetation within four metres of a 1.5-mile section of line between Craigendoran and Helensburgh Upper on 24 January.

Vegetation clearance Craigendorran to Helensburgh site map
Vegetation clearance Craigendorran to Helensburgh site map

The area will then be replanted with native trees and shrubs such as holly, blackthorn, rowan, hazel and elder.

Habitat piles will also be created beside the line, along with the installation bat and bird boxes, all with the goal of supporting local wildlife.

If successful this project will take the organisation a step closer to achieving its biodiversity goals of no net-loss by 2024 and overall net-gain by 2035.

Kirsty Armstrong, Project Manager, Network Rail, said

“We look after thousands of miles of railway embankments and constantly work to manage trees and vegetation so that what grows lineside is safe and does not cause delays to trains.

“Our new approach will compensate for what is removed through managed replanting and transform low value land into areas that will become species-rich, but also safe for the operation of services.”

Work on the West Highland Line biodiversity project is expected to last 10 weeks.

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