How Scotland’s iconic Forth Road Bridge took commercial planting to new heights
The Forth Road Bridge is one of the most important and iconic structures in Scotland. Transport Scotland commissioned Johnsons of Whixley Wholesale Commercial to ‘contract grow’ plants for the prestigious Forth Replacement Crossing project. The project was part of a six-year contract with Transport Scotland that saw Johnsons supply a total of approximately half a million native trees, hedging and larger specimen trees.
The Forth Replacement Crossing is the biggest transport infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation, comprising construction of a cable-stayed bridge – the Queensferry Crossing – across the Firth of Forth, together with upgrades to the connecting road network.
The Queensferry Crossing provides essential links across the important cross-
Forth transport corridor in the east of Scotland, with over 24m vehicles using the bridge every year. The bridge itself is approx. 1.7 miles (2.7km) in length, making it the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world.
The success of the project was dependent not only on construction timeframes and visual factors – the bridge is hugely important to visitors’ perception of the country.
Johnsons of Whixley were tasked with preparing, supplying and delivering specified plant material for use in the landscape and ecological mitigation planting.
The procurement of native species of local provenance was paramount to client satisfaction and the ecological integrity of the project, bringing many biodiversity benefits to the site. Over half a million native trees, hedging and larger specimen trees were supplied with an order value of £300k.
The native stock provided for the project has to meet an exact specification and grown from seeds collected locally to the project.
Transport Scotland deem the project a significant success, being hugely impressed with the flexible approach Johnsons took to plant delivery, which was very much determined by the complex construction programme. They have also praised Johnsons’ expertise procuring plants for additional areas to be planted, or to enhance existing planting.
A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “Johnsons are right to pride themselves on a very high standard of service delivery and have demonstrated a professional and helpful approach throughout our six-year relationship with them.
“Johnsons engages with the team to resolve any issues arising from programme changes and is always available to discuss issues and provide advice or information when required, especially for additional ad-hoc requests,” they continued.
“Johnsons is able to provide deliveries at short notice when required, even for plants which have not been pre-ordered, and they also provide excellent advice regarding selection of the most cost-effective plants to meet our criteria.”
Iain Richardson, joint managing director at Johnsons of Whixley; said: “Successfully delivering such a diverse range of plant products to such an unusual site has been a challenge but one we’ve very much enjoyed.
“We are well-equipped to meet exacting specification while taking other factors into consideration, such as local biodiversity and the requirement for flexibility, and the Forth Road Bridge project is testament to this.”