£5m tree seedling glasshouse facility opens at Delamere Nursery

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey has opened a £5 million tree seedling glasshouse at Delamere Nursery in Cheshire.

Therese Coffey with Alan Harrison, Head of Plant and Seed Supply at the Forestry Commission
Therese Coffey with Alan Harrison, Head of Plant and Seed Supply at the Forestry Commission

The growing facility covers a hectare and is set to increase timber production, with environmental controls creating better growing conditions for the four million seedlings it will house. Cambridge HOK built the Lobslack nursery, where one million trees will be propagated a year.
 
It has computerised environmental controls, rainwater harvesting from the glasshouse roof into a 15 million-litre capacity lagoon and a boom irrigation system, which allows accurate watering and can apply fertiliser and chemicals.
 
The seedlings will be planted in the Public Forest Estate throughout the UK.
 
Coffey said: "It is wonderful to be here to officially open this impressive new structure which will help ensure our forests are stocked with trees in a more sustainable and productive fashion.
 
"The forests and woodlands that these trees will go on to be a part of are vital for providing timber, protecting wildlife, and helping us improve our environment for the next generation."
 
Forestry Commission England chief executive Simon Hodgson said: "I’m delighted our minister, Thérèse Coffey, officially opened our new forestry glasshouse today. This significant investment demonstrates how committed we are to the nation’s forests.
 
"The largest glasshouse dedicated to forest trees in the UK means that Forestry Commission England will be able to plant around five million of the very best trees every year in the nation’s forests for timber, recreation and wildlife as well as supplying trees to Scotland and Wales. We are increasing the diversity of tree species we plant so the nation’s forests are resilient; protecting them from pests, diseases and the effects of a changing climate.
 
"I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work in making this project a reality."
 
The glasshouse was completed in December 2017, with the first seeds sown in March 2018. It is anticipated that it will be fully stocked with a mix of species and ages by 2020.
 
Delamere Nursery, in Cheshire, is the larger of two tree nurseries run by Plant and Seed Supply (PSS) of Forestry England (FE). It covers an area of 76 hectares. The project as a whole is worth £5million, with the new greenhouse worth £3.7million. 


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