The oak genus (Quercus) has over 500 species of trees and shrubs native to regions across the northern hemisphere. It is difficult to overstate their ecological, economic and cultural value. Oaks provide an essential source of timber for furniture, flooring, interior finishing and veneer. Cork is sourced from oak and the impervious heartwood of oak is used for shipbuilding and wine and whiskey casks. Oaks are prominent in many forest ecosystems and their acorns are a vital food source for wildlife, high in fat and nutrients.

In addition, oaks have an important role to play in urban and suburban landscapes as they are durable, long-lived and majestic trees. They can be an outstanding feature in any park with a large and spreading growth habit. The grand size, longevity and sturdiness of oaks have made them a familiar symbol in many cultures around the world.

Open Access Government reports the full story.

Aerial Footage Shows Vast Scale of £225m Construction Project in Countryside Near Hinckley

construction projectStunning aerial footage shows the vast scale of a business park going up on the edge of a county town.

The drone footage, made for construction company Winvic, shows work on Hinckley Park – a new £225 million warehousing and industrial site, on land between the A5 and M69 in Hinckley.

Parcel company DPD is creating £150 million new super-hub on the 82 acre site which is set to eventually create around 2,000 jobs.

There will also be a 532,000 sq ft speculative warehouse as well as room for up to 450,000 sq ft of industrial space.

Head over to the Leicester Mercury for the full story.

Council Houses Built in Wales for First Time in Decades

council houses in walesCouncil houses are being built in parts of Wales for the first time in decades in response to a shortage of affordable housing.

The Welsh Government wants councils to take advantage of new rules allowing them to borrow more money.

But Cardiff council said it could raise more cash if the Welsh Government allowed it to increase people’s rent.

More than 8,000 council homes were completed in 1976, compared to an annual average of 15 since 2000.

The BBC reports the full story.

Concrete Spiral Staircase Twists Through Open-Plan Office by Hildebrand

staircase builtA spiral staircase made of concrete rises through the centre of an open-plan office designed by architecture studio Hildebrand in Steinhausen, Switzerland.

Winding its way up the building’s four levels, the staircase ends with a large elliptical skylight that brings light into the centre of each floor.

Hildebrand designed the headquarters for Hapimag, a Swiss holiday company. As well as providing access, this stairway was designed to double as an informal gathering space for the office workers.

Dezeen reports more on their website.