The nursery will close on 1 April 2022.
The consultation period for the proposed closure of Wykeham nursery ended on Friday 7 May, after a 2-week extension requested by unions.
After careful consideration of the unions’ response, which contained some alternative proposals for keeping the Wykeham nursery site open, unfortunately no new viable option was identified. Therefore the final decision has been made to close Wykeham nursery on 1 April 2022.
Wykeham nursery news briefing
Following a detailed review of our operations, Forestry England propose closing Wykeham nursery in North Yorkshire to concentrate tree seedling production at our Delamere facilities in Cheshire. Closing the Wykeham site is proposed to take place in March 2022.
This has been a difficult decision, but we need to be efficient and ensure we have a viable long-term supply of tree seedlings for the woodlands we create and manage.
Although demand for trees is generally increasing across the UK forestry sector, and we expect to plant an additional 1 million trees each year from 2022, the demand for trees from Forestry England’s nurseries is set to reduce by more than 5 million plants from 2021 as public sector customers Natural Resources Wales and Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) buy their seedlings from private sector nurseries. FLS are also planning to increase their own production.
Climate change is also starting to directly impact on nursery operations, and we need to modernise as well as scale up the production of a wider range of tree species which can thrive in a warmer, drier England of the future. Focusing our operations at our Delamere nursery will allow us to do that.
Michael Seddon, Chief Executive said:
"Our immediate priority is working with our team at Wykeham and putting every effort into helping them through this difficult time. We are aiming to redeploy as many colleagues as possible and minimise any redundancies. This will be a stressful time for everyone involved and we are determined to offer the support our staff need in the lead up to the nursery closing in April 2022.
“We will also be developing plans for investment in our glasshouse operations at Delamere and in our tree seed supply unit; we are very much looking to the future and supporting the Government’s ambitious plans for tree planting.
Notes to Editor
1. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 235 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit forestryengland.uk. Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.
2. Forestry England will be planting ~2400 hectares of new woodland between 2021 and 2027 as part of the Government’s ambitious plans for nature recovery and delivering on England’s commitment to becoming carbon net neutral.
3. Forestry England plants around 8 million trees every year in the sustainable management of the nation’s forests; replacing the trees we harvest and boosting nature recovery. From 2021 we will be planting around 1 million additional trees each year as we create new woodland in partnership with landowners who want to lease their land to us.