Aristotle’s observation that ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ is as true today as it was in the days of classical Greece. Blenheim Strategic Partners is built on an already successful partnership, between Blenheim Estate and Vanderbilt Strategic Ltd. Its launch this month formalises the partnership, enabling Blenheim Strategic Partners to function as a land promoter and masterplanner which offers a joined up model.
Partnerships are at the heart of this model, specifically in the opportunity for the landowner to remain involved throughout the development process as a long-term partner. In doing so the landowner not only derives added value and enhanced returns but can ensure that their legacy informs the character of the resulting new community.
Furthermore, partnerships can provide solutions to universal problems, often resulting in uncalculatable benefits. And they have never been more relevant than in the universal fight against climate change.
Of the many environmental initiatives taking place at Blenheim, tree planting is one of the most important. The imperative is unquestionable. Research shows that changes to the way in which rural land is managed can deliver up to 37% of the emissions reductions needed globally by 2030. 77 million tonnes of carbon are already stored in long-established woodland: approximately equivalent to the annual carbon emissions from in every home in the UK. Significantly increasing tree planting, creates the greatest chance of meeting net zero.
In one of the largest woodland schemes to date, Blenheim is working in close partnership with Morgan Sindall Group plc and Cotswolds-based forestry company, Nicholsons. Together we are planting over 270,000 trees in nine new local woodlands. The project will be delivered with Grown in Britain, which will audit the many benefits that arise from the project, and the Forest Canopy Foundation, which will measure the ‘natural capital’ and demonstrate the benefit of investment.
Our project is about much more than carbon off-setting: it’s about creating both the imperative and the means for others to do so. Increasingly Blenheim Strategic Partners will be working with landowners nationwide in creating sustainable new communities. Therefore we can utilise the experience gained to integrate woodlands into communities, both urban and rural, throughout the country.
The link between the corporate world and local specialists demonstrates the true potential of partnerships.
Furthermore, our many initiatives connected to nature schemes have seen us work with local charities, schools and community groups. From dog walking to fetes; from woodlands to parkland, ‘the great outdoors’ provides a unique opportunity for people to get together in heathy and inspiring surroundings. And informal partnerships such as these are what healthy communities are made of.
One of the significant benefits of the work with Morgan Sindall - which was described by Oxford University’s Professor of Biodiversity as demonstrating, ‘An understanding of the need for considered, long-term thinking around our woodlands and an appreciation of the crucial role they play in creating spaces that contribute to creating natural capital and enhancing human wellbeing’- enables us to deliver what is best for the landowner, the community and of course the environment.
The project also demonstrates the importance of legacy: while it will have an immediate impact in terms of biodiversity, flood mitigation, water filtration, and cleaner water, it will also sequester 22,000 tonnes of carbon over the longer term – potentially thousands of years.
Morgan Sindall has demonstrated long-term commitment in undertaking a 25-year programme with Blenheim. In future, we hope to undertake similar equally transformative approaches elsewhere in the country - enabling the universal goal of net zero to be met through the power of partnerships.