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Branston digs deep to help the Woodland Trust

STAFF from a local factory have branched out from their usual work routine and have lent a hand to The Woodland Trust Scotland to help tidy up an area of woodland nearby.

Branston Ltd helped the national conservation charity to tidy up some land that is owned by the Trust at Moncreiffe Hill, which lies a few miles away from its Perth-based factory
Eight members of staff from the factory floor and offices gave up a day of work to help staff from the Trust to clear old grow tubes and deer fencing from the site. The aim was to improve its overall appearance where they had planted trees previously.

This is the second time that the UKs leading supplier of potatoes has helped the charity, having helped with a similar tidy up operation last October. It is a relationship that looks set to continue, with the general manager from the factory already talking about helping to plant some tree saplings early next year.

Jill Aitken, Perth site manager for The Woodland Trust Scotland said: We are really grateful to the team from Branston for all their help. It is great to work with local businesses and that they recognise the importance of the work we do. We usually have to hunt out volunteers but Branston contacted us directly to see if they could help with anything. As we have lots of old tubes and fencing to remove at the moment, it was perfect timing. We will also be looking to work with the team again later in the spring when we will be planting around 3,500 saplings on some newly acquired land next to this site.

Jim Aitken, senior field manager at Branston said: We are always looking for local causes or charities to support that will benefit the local community in some way. We have worked with the Trust on similar projects before, so I contacted them when I heard they might be clearing the area nearby and offered our services. I threw the idea open to the factory and was inundated with volunteers, so it was great that the staff were so motivated to help a good cause.

About Branston Ltd

Branston Ltd was set up as a co-operative of Lincolnshire farmers in 1968. The company grew and became a limited company. Today, Branston is privately-owned and one of the UKs biggest potato buyers, packers and distributors turning over 110 million in 2008.

Branston has sites in Lincolnshire, Somerset and Scotland. Across the UK, the company employs more than 600 people, with over 120 at its South West site. In 1990, Branston began working with Tesco and is now one of the supermarkets top fresh produce suppliers. Branston branched out into prepared vegetables in 2005 and opened its own 4 million new prepared foods factory in 2009. Branston was the first food producer in the country to receive the Carbon Trust Standard in recognition of its environmental initiatives, which have resulted in a reduction in its carbon intensity over a three year period. In 2010, Branston will further grow its green credentials when it opens its anaerobic digestion plant that will turn waste potatoes into electricity, part of a 1.4 million investment in green technologies at its Lincoln site.

The Woodland Trust: The Woodland Trust is the UKs leading woodland conservation charity.  It has 300,000 members and supporters.  The Trust has three key aims: i) To create more native woodland; ii) To protect native woods and trees for their wildlife value;  iii) To inspire everyone to enjoy and value woodland 

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) across the UK.  In Scotland, the Trust manages  8,500 hectares of land across 80 sites.  Further news can be found at

Moncreiffe Hill: Moncreiffe Hill is a major landmark just a few kilometres from the city of Perth. The name Moncreiffe derives from the Gaelic `Monadh Craiobh` which means `hill of the tree.

Moncreiffe Hill woodland is a 132 Ha mixed woodland (classified as Long Established Woodland of Plantation Origin) situated between Perth and Bridge of Earn. From the south it shows the spring and autumn colours of broadleaves, larch and pine to the thousands of drivers heading north on the M90. Moncreiffe Hill Wood is important for its diversity of habitats with a great variety of tree species including Douglas Fir, European Larch, Scots Pine, birch, oak, sycamore and ash.

More than 100 species of flora and fauna have been identified in the woods, including crow garlic and hairy violet and red squirrels, green and great spotted woodpeckers and roe deer can also be seen. Additionally, the wood contains two Iron Age hill forts.

There are currently 12km of paths offering way marked route options, and a walk to the top gives panoramic views to all compass points.

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