Policy paper

Network Rail vegetation management review

Policy statement responding to the recommendations of John Varley’s report on Network Rail’s lineside vegetation management


Enhancing biodiversity and wildlife on the lineside

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The Department for Transport commissioned John Varley to undertake an independent review into Network Rail’s approach to vegetation management. The review assesses how effectively Network Rail manages lineside vegetation on its estate, in accordance with its statutory responsibilities to ensure a safe and reliable railway, in addition to its responsibilities to protect and enhance the natural environment.

The review was published on the 28 November and contained 5 recommendations for Network Rail, and one for the Department for Transport. As part of the review, John Varley agreed to review progress on the implementation of the recommendations 6 months after publication.

The Department for Transport has worked closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natural England, the Forestry Commission, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and Network Rail to develop a policy for Network Rail, in accordance with the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Published 23 July 2019