Much of the Broughton Estate has been grazed by sheep for many years, but with the owner wanting to ‘re-wild’ large parts of the estate – allowing deer, rabbits, and hares to move freely amongst newly planted woodland – the saplings were considered to be in urgent need of secure protection from browsing.
Funding from the White Rose Forest Partnership was awarded partly in order to help deliver on the government’s stated objective of becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050, and partly to help to slow rainfall run-off into rivers such as the Aire, which in the past has caused catastrophic flooding in cities such as Leeds and Bradford. Speed of tree establishment, as well as reliable protection from browsing animals, were, therefore, crucial factors.
However, in the early part of 2021, there was an additional challenge for this first phase of the four-year planting program at Broughton Estate. The final go-ahead on funding was only secured around Christmas of 2020, meaning that the main contract manager was left with the unenviable task of sourcing enough native broadleaves, contract labour and tree shelters for the first phase, at a time of scarce supply and when most contracts for the planting season were already in place.
1.2m individual tree shelters were identified as the best option for tree protection, as they allow animals to move freely within the plantation, un-hindered by deer fencing. Individual tree shelters are also proven to encourage the speedy establishment and fast growth of newly planted saplings, which would help to expedite the flood-mitigation benefits of the scheme faster than if fencing was used.
It was put out to tender with a number of UK tree shelter suppliers, including Vigilis Tree Shelters. Price was one element, but the ability to supply the required materials in a timely fashion in order to fully deliver on the first year’s planting program was also vital. Not only was the price from us the most competitive, but Vigilis Tree Shelters were found to be a great match: being strong and quick to install, with uniquely easy-to-operate zip ties and a muted green colour.
Vigilis Tree Shelters being the manufacturer, we were also able to prioritise the production of shelters for the Broughton Estate during the busiest part of the planting season, with the first full load of tree shelters and stakes shipped to the site within two weeks of receipt of the order. The contract was completed over a seven-week period.
Although exceptionally wet weather caused delays with ground preparation, the supply of tree shelters was never a problem on this project thanks to Vigilis.
Watch The Video To Learn More About Our Project With Broughton Hall Estate
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