National fit-out and refurbishment specialist contractor, Willmott Dixon Interiors has delivered a new initiative to create a vibrant pocket of nature in Chingford, Waltham Forest.
A new Miyawaki-style ‘mini forest’ has been planted at Mansfield Park, in partnership with leading nature charity, The Conservation Volunteers.
The mini forest comprises 642 trees and features a mix of 18 species, including oak, beech, hazel, hornbeam, willow, wild cherry and spindleberry.
The two-day project was delivered with the support of more than 25 volunteers, including representatives from Waltham Forest Council, as well as supply chain contractor AVV Solutions which also provided sponsorship towards the cost of the trees planted.
Other sponsors included Aimbec, Centre Stage, CMB Mechanical, DES, M&C Roofing and Shaca, which are all supply chain partners of Willmott Dixon Interiors.
A dense patch of fast-growing trees, mini forests cover an area as small as a tennis pitch and are perfect for introducing pockets of nature into urban areas.
Some studies suggest that they can boost biodiversity by up to 20 times more than traditional planting, with a multi-layered woodland providing food sources for a wider range of species. Following huge success in the Netherlands, the innovative forests and their benefits are now being introduced across the UK.
The Mansfield Park project has been delivered as part of Willmott Dixon’s Now or Never sustainability ambitions, which sets a target to plant 100,000 trees nationally by 2030.
Willmott Dixon Interiors has partnered with The Conservation Volunteers and nature reserves close to its construction projects, to improve the local environment for occupiers. The contractor has hosted five separate tree planting events already this year, in locations across the West Midlands, Yorkshire and South East.
Mansfield Park is located less than four miles from the site of the Grade II* former Granada / EMD Cinema, Walthamstow, where Willmott Dixon Interiors is delivering a restoration project on behalf of Waltham Forest Council. The heritage venue is being transformed into a 950-seat multi-purpose entertainment hub to be run by Soho Theatre and is expected to open to the public as Soho Theatre Walthamstow later this year.
Graham Shaw, Managing Director of Willmott Dixon Interiors, said: “We are hugely grateful for the support of our employees, customers and supply chain partners in the sponsorship and delivery of this fantastic project at Mansfield Park. As a business, we are committed to leaving the environment in a measurably better state than before and that includes improving health and wellbeing by creating green spaces for people and nature. Working in partnership with The Conservation Volunteers has enabled us to put arrangements in place to ensure the success and longevity of the project, so that this tiny forest will continue to flourish for years to come.”
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader of Waltham Forest Council and Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “It’s important for the Council to partner with organisations that share its commitment to tackling the climate emergency. For such a transformative project like the redevelopment of the former Granada/EMD cinema, it’s only right that our construction partners are thinking big with their sustainability interventions, planting 642 trees in total, and 18 different types of trees – from oaks and willow trees to dogwoods and spindleberries. I’m proud that Council officers mucked in on the Chingford project, and really pleased to welcome another forest to Waltham Forest, adding to the Council’s extensive tree-planting efforts. The latest of these, our Great Tree Giveaway last year, gave thousands of school-aged children in Waltham Forest the opportunity to plant their own tree, helping them shape the future of their borough.”