By Allan Thomson, chief executive, Aspire Defence Limited

WE are responsible for around 214 hectares (or 150 football pitches) of woodland at garrisons across Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) and at Aldershot, under the Project Allenby/Connaught contract with the MOD.

Through tree surveys and maintenance, Aspire Defence Services Limited (ADSL) supports the upkeep of Tidworth’s attractive parkland setting, with many locals taking advantage of the woodland for a variety of leisure activities.

Residents of Tidworth and Bulford will be aware of trees and highways works being delivered locally by various partners for the MOD, to support the Army Basing Programme (ABP). Around 4,000 soldiers and 1,300 military families will relocate to SPTA this summer, and the MOD, councils and industry are working together to deliver the infrastructure required.

Aspire Defence Capital Works (ADCW), which is building single living and working accommodation for soldiers alongside health and education facilities, actively seeks to optimise tree retention in all its build schemes. Where this is not possible for planning or health and safety reasons, new planting, separate from development sites, is helping to ‘offset’ unavoidable felling.

Over 3,000 trees and shrubs are being planted at Double Hedges in Bulford, as part of the ABP’s Masterplan for Salisbury Plain, developed in partnership with Wiltshire Council. To meet these planning obligations, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation has commissioned ADSL (contracting to Gavin Jones Ltd) to plant 2.5Ha of new woodland, comprising a mix of native broadleaved species. The planting will enhance aesthetics and offer habitat and food for wildlife and will complete in February.

We fully recognise the importance of trees for quality of life, ecological value and climate change resilience. Through projects like Double Hedges, funded by MOD, we are committed to maintaining our sustainable approach to the upkeep and improvement of woodlands across South Wiltshire, for the benefit of military and civilian communities.