Network Rail to speak at our 'Making of the Modern City' forum this November


Image: Dr Neil Strong, Network Rail


Future Cities Forum is delighted that Network Rail will be speaking at our infrastructure, transport and energy forum next month, in the City of London.


Network Rail's Biodiversity Strategy Manager, Dr Neil Strong, will be describing the important task of ensuring new biodiversity is created and protected alongside the UK's rail infrastructure.


Network Rail joined forces with national conservation charity The Tree Council to plant more than 80,000 trees and hedgerows across the country in 2020, describing it as a four-year, £1m tree planting pledge.


Local planting schemes, funded by Network Rail and managed by The Tree Council, have been taking place in communities from the Wirral to Worcester, and in areas from ancient woodlands to city parks. The £1m pledge was announced to give local people the money, materials and guidance to plant and look after thousands of trees within their communities.


Network Rail says its Biodiversity Action Plan is about land by the railway that’s managed sustainably for safety, performance, the environment, customers and neighbours who live by the railway. It outlines its ambitions for biodiversity assets, and how it intends to protect, manage and enhance its condition over the current five-year Network Rail funding cycle and beyond. This, it says, will require it to develop new skills and competencies in ecology and vegetation management, and apply these to decision-making at all levels of its organisation.


It will also involve forming and maintaining partnerships with stakeholders and neighbours to maximise the benefits that a well-managed transport infrastructure can bring for biodiversity. It commits it to the key goal of no net loss in biodiversity on its lineside estate by 2024, moving to biodiversity net gain by 2035.


Dr Neil Strong studied forestry and ecology as an undergraduate (Edinburgh) and a post-graduate (Portsmouth). He is biodiversity strategy manager at Network Rail providing expertise and support on sustainable management of the lineside necessary to improve the safety and biodiversity of the rail network.


He has previously worked on management of lineside assets including vegetation and boundary measures. His current focus is delivering guidance and tools to integrate the management of biodiversity on the rail network into existing practice. This work has to take account not only of environmental but also social obligations on an estate where trains pass at up to 200kph.

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