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NEWS RELEASE No: 136419 JUNE 2010

Train company signals green cash for new projects

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Trn Pennine train

A train operating company is helping communities to be green with a grant scheme worth £26,000 for tree and woodland projects.

First TransPennine Express (FTPE) has joined up with the Forestry Commission to re-launch the ‘Green Grants’ initiative which last year supported seven environmental projects across the North of England and Scotland. The scheme proved so successful that the amount of money available this year has more than doubled.

Green Grants is open to community groups, clubs, schools, charities and anyone who allows open access to their land. Applicants can apply for up to £2,000 per environmental project and further money will be available for grants in 2011/2012.

Cath Johnston, Environmental Manager for First TransPennine Express, helped to launch the idea, saying:

“The Green Grants Scheme benefited many worthwhile areas last year so it is great to have the opportunity to do this again and enable more communities to benefit. 

“We are also looking forward to working with the Forestry Commission again and I hope that it will inspire people to make a positive improvement to their local environment.”

The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests.

James Bickley, Forestry Commission woodland officer, said:

“We would like to thank First TransPennine Express for again putting money forward to support projects that help create, and maintain, woodland.

“The schemes this money supports are of huge social and environmental benefit to the communities they are in. Previous projects that have been supported have included the planting of new trees and flowers, access paths created, and habitat improved for rare species of butterfly.

“I hope that people will come forward to take advantage of these grants and make a real difference to the quality of their local environment.”

Judges will award grants based on a description of the work, the impact it will have, involvement of the local community, the positive impact on the environment and how close the project is to the FTPE rail network.

FTPE and the Forestry Commission have worked in partnership before, donating a total of £50,000 to different woodland,  tree and bio-diversity projects across the North of England and Scotland.

Application forms for a Green Grant can be found at Look under ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ and then ‘Environment’. Alternatively, use the following url:

The following schemes benefited from Green Grants last year:

• Shields Glen Greenlink project near Motherwell, Scotland, received £1,750 for native woodland trees, woodland wild flowers and bluebell bulbs plus applicable equipment

• Mayfield sustainable tree nursery project, Mayfield Community Centre, Groundwork Lancashire West and Wigan was awarded £2,000 for raised beds, propagator and equipment.

• Maze Park woodland, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, Thornaby, was awarded £2,003 to enable volunteers from a medium secure hospital to participate in creating new woodland and paths.

• Restoration of the Fritillary Butterfly habitat, Butterfly Conservation, Cumbria Branch, have been awarded £2,000 for equipment to enable the volunteers to undertake woodland work to conserve the butterfly’s.

• Tree time, Friends of Victoria Park, Stretford, Manchester were awarded £2,000 for a community tree seed planting event, a weeping willow tree, Cox’s orange pippin trees, as well as tree ID plaques and an interpretation board.

• Community Tree Planting Event, St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, Skelmersdale was awarded £400 for horse chestnuts, sycamore and field maple trees, tree protection and for a bird box and camera.

• Lomeshage Marsh Environmental Project, Pendle Community High School, Nelson, received £100 towards seeds, plants and trees

First TransPennine Express – run by First Group plc in partnership with Keolis SA – operates inter-city services on three main routes:

* North TransPennine - including Newcastle to Manchester Airport, Middlesbrough to Manchester Airport, Scarborough to Liverpool and Hull to Manchester Piccadilly.
* South TransPennine from Cleethorpes via Doncaster and Sheffield to Manchester Airport
* North West and Scotland – from Windermere, Barrow in Furness and Blackpool North via Preston and Bolton to Manchester Airport; Edinburgh, Glasgow, Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme to Manchester Airport.

 * Destinations served by First TransPennine Express include Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Northallerton, Thirsk, York, Malton, Scarborough, Hull, Selby, Leeds, Huddersfield, Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Meadowhall, Doncaster, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Carlisle, Barrow in Furness, Blackpool, Lancaster, Preston, Bolton, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Warrington and Liverpool.

1.   Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For further information visit

2. Forestry Commission England runs the English Woodland Grant Scheme (EWGS) to support and promote the national and regional delivery of forestry policy, as set out in the Government's Rural Strategy. EWGS is part of the Defra family of environmental support. Further information about these schemes can be found at EWGS is a part of the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE).

3. The Forestry Commission (FC) North West England (NEW) is a regional arm of the Forestry Commission.  It supports the delivery of widespread public benefits across the region, using woodland management and creation as the basis for change. The FC NWE region has a diverse remit; as a grant giving body to the woodland sector; the region's forestry regulatory body; helping the region to address climate change by developing wood fuel supply; supporting and developing the region's forest and woodland industries; actively promoting and protecting the Northwest's natural heritage (especially ancient trees and woodlands) and enabling communities across the region to live healthier lives. For further information visit

Claire Wright, Communications Manager, First TransPennine Expresson, tel 0161 2288475 or 07843502979