Success at the LI Awards for LDA Design and Network Rail

Independent design, environment and energy consultancy, LDA Design, with Peter Neal Consulting, John Hopkins (1953-2013), Anne Jaluzot, BSG Ecology and a wider project advisory team has won the strategic landscape planning category at the Landscape InstituteAwardsfor its role in developing a National Lineside Vegetation Management Strategy for Network Rail. The ceremony took place at The Bloomsbury Big Top, London WC1, on Thursday 21 November.

Success at the LI Awards for LDA Design and Network Rail

© Network Rail

Network Rail appointed the team in 2011 to prepare a strategy that would establish a new set of principles and guidance to help create a more productive, attractive and cost effective landscape resource.

The vegetation that runs along either side of the national rail network incurs a significant maintenance cost for Network Rail. It also contributes to service delays through leaf-fall, occasional embankment instability and the risk of tree-falls in high wind. The brief for the project set out the need to establish a landscape management strategy taking a sustainable, integrated and whole-life approach to maintaining this environmental resource it seeks to develop the land as an asset for all in the long-term.

The project team analysed current management techniques, reviewed best practice across Europe and identified key issues and drivers for change. The final strategy provided a set of recommendations to deliver a more sustainable management approach for the lineside, with cost assessments and projections, and proposals for a phased implementation across the national network.

The strategy sets out a series of landscape management recommendations to align with established and emerging environmental drivers, policies and funding opportunities, as well as fully integrating the management of the lineside with key sustainable development and corporate social responsibility policies established by Network Rail.

Neil Mattinson, Senior Partner at LDA Design, said: This is a significant project whosesuccesswill impact on the wider environment and provide opportunities for creating one of the most important nature networks in Britain. In addition maintaining rail safety and supporting the efficient running of the rail network, the strategy supports Network Rail by providing clearly structured practical guidance that will deliver a range of beneficial outcomes for the business, its customers and the environment including a more sustainable approach to the management of its lineside estate; increasing biodiversity and improving land use; working with communities to establish more constructive partnerships; and responding to opportunities arising from the emerging low carbon economy and meeting the challenges of a changing climate.

The strategy and methods adopted have applications in planning, designing and managing new transport infrastructure and re-evaluating existing management regimes for transport networks and other large land holdings by taking a sustainable, integrated and whole-life approach to maintaining environmental resources. As such, the project represents an important benchmark in strategic land planning and management and we are delighted to have been part of the project team and to have been recognised by thisaward.

Neil Strong, Sustainability Specialist for Land at Network Rail said: Network Rail is delighted to win thisawardand believe this strategy will help Network Rail begin to meet some of the environmental and economic challenges set by the rail regulator for the next funding period.

Judges commented that the strategy represents an excellent example of landscape planning on a strategic scale with a creative yet practical framework for delivery.

LDA Design was also highly commended in the urban design and masterplanning category for preparing a strategy to reinvigorate Gorky Park, and the heritage and conservation category for Victoria Park.

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