North Star branches out with Aberdeen pupils to create new woodland space

Source: press release, 4 January 2022

North Star’s sustainability council out in force to plant a new 1.5-hectare, 2,500 tree forest in the local community
North Star’s sustainability council out in force to plant a new 1.5-hectare, 2,500 tree forest in the local community (photo: North Star Renewables)

A North Star Renewables sustainability initiative to create a new city woodland has taken root with the support of pupils from Seaton Primary School. More than a dozen P5 and P6 students helped to plant 2,500 trees, which will create a 1.5-hectare forest next to the school – equivalent to almost two-and-a-half Pittodrie sized football pitches (Pittodrie’s pitch is 100 x 66 metres = 6,000 m2 – 0.66 hectares).

Led by the Aberdeen headquartered company’s sustainability council, a mix of Scots Pine, Norway Spruce, Sycamore, Rowan and Birch supplied by Christies of Fochabers, were dug in. Acting as effective and natural carbon off-setters, these varieties will also be used to attract and reintroduce various species of endangered animals – including red squirrels – back into the area.

With fully-grown trees estimated to absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year, in 12 months’ time, it is estimated that the woodland planted by North Star will absorb almost eight times as much of the CO2 produced by the average car’s annual petrol mileage.

North Star Group accountant Anita Campbell who led the planting team says, “We formed our sustainability council last year which involves 20 employees from across our offices including Lowestoft and Newcastle. Our primary focus is on finding activities and solutions which can make a positive impact on climate change and support our target of becoming a net-zero business by 2040.”

“Today’s tree planting has been a lot of fun, mainly thanks to the enthusiasm and superb help of our new green-fingered friends at Seaton Primary School. The new woodland we have planted will help to offset CO2 emissions and benefit the local community and future generations to come with a beautiful landscape and wildlife to enjoy,” continues Campbell.

Key to North Star’s sustainable future is its first renewables fleet which is now under construction. It includes three service offshore vessels (SOVs) and associated daughter craft to support offshore wind turbine technicians in the North Sea. The market-leading designs utilise state-of-the-art technology to reduce CO2 emissions and are configured to be futureproofed as power generation technology advances, being adaptable to adopt in field battery charging, hydrogen, methanol and other clean fuels.

The firm’s hybrid powered daughter craft fleet, which will be used to support short trips between the SOVs and wind farm locations, will be a world first for the global renewables market.

Matthew Gordon, North Star CEO, says, “We are committed to caring for the environment and taking steps to drive positive change in our local communities, across the business and the sector, in line with our vision of doing the right thing for everyone. This tree planting programme at Seaton is the first of many community-based projects we are planning, and it was great to be joined and helped by so many young people.”

“Our sustainability council has been fundamental in leading the charge within our business, and we’re all extremely proud of the strides made so far. As well as the tree planting, we have also begun a redundant shipping equipment repurposing initiative, as well as adopting recycling best practices across all our UK offices. To support our transition to a climate neutral business, we are employing the most robust and advanced green technologies to power our new fleet, and we are also looking very closely at where the supply chain can support our sustainability goals and drive further change,” Gordon adds.

As well as supporting the offshore wind market, the 135-year-old North Sea business also currently operates 44 vessels to provide 24/7 emergency response support for approximately 50 offshore installations in the UK Continental Shelf through its sister division, North Star Shipping.

“It was great to see Seaton Primary School pupils outdoors and helping the team from North Star plant thousands of new trees which will grow alongside the school for years to come,” says Councillor M. Tauqeer Malik, Education Convener. “Following much of the devastation caused by Storm Arwen last year, we hope that the new area of woodland will provide a welcome boost for the local environment and replace some of the fallen trees from across Aberdeen city and shire.”