CONTRACTORS could earn up to £209 million by overseeing the maintenance and management of woodlands along the HS2 route. 

The potential five-year contract has specific requirements for ensuring there is "no net nature loss" and Natural England's environmental minimum requirements are met. Workers will also be expected to avoid any "unnecessary reputational damage" by failing to protect habitats. 

As well as woodlands, contractors will be expected to care for hedgerows, grasslands and ponds, with the deal – potentially for multiple organisations – worth between £148m and £209m. 

The contract notice states: "As part of the HS2 Act, HS2 Ltd has a legal requirement to mitigate its environmental effects. In addition, HS2 has a requirement through agreements with the Department for Transport to provide environmental benefits. These requirements and provision of benefits include the provision of green assets.

"HS2 Ltd has acquired much of its land temporarily to construct the railway. Some of this land has been or will be developed into environmental mitigation sites (Green Assets), which range from sites compensating for the loss of grassland, scrub and woodland habitats to new receptor sites for ancient woodland soils, amphibians and reptiles as well as other ecological and landscape mitigation sites. Collectively, this is referred to as our Green Corridor, which, once delivered, will span 3,500 hectares.

"HS2 Ltd has adopted a hierarchical strategy to transfer Green Assets not required to safely operate the railway, firstly to original landowners, then with other third parties such as NGOs and charities, and then commercial use before any residual assets become part of the operational asset portfolio." 

Potential suitors have until February 27 to apply. For more information, visit the government's website