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Biodiversity 

Our biodiversity programme is committed to protecting, restoring and enhancing the different forms of living organisms on our company sites, which act as links to the wider landscape.

In addition to the importance of promoting the ecology and conservation of biodiversity, this also contributes towards meeting the National Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act objectives.

As part of our commitment to biodiversity, all our sites are subject to specific management plans, which vary in detail depending on the use of the site. These can range from basic ground maintenance and tree surveys; through to detailed ecological surveys and management plans. When works are planned for a site, a more in depth survey may be carried out so that appropriate action can be taken to avoid disturbance and, where possible, enhance species and habitats.

Below is a list of some of the surveys and monitoring that has been carried out:

Conservation management
  • Tree remediation work such as pollarding, coppicing or planting of new trees
  • Installation of bird and bat boxes
  • Reed bed management
Invasive species management
  • Japanese Knotweed removal
  • Himalayan Balsam removal
  • Quagga Mussel monitoring
Ecological surveys
  • Bird surveys
  • Butterfly surveys
  • Tree surveys
  • Reptile surveys
  • Water Vole surveys

Tree inspections and surveys

There are a great variety of tree species on our sites. The three most common native species seen are:

  • English Oak - the most common tree species in the UK
  • Hornbeam - a common tree in southern England which is commonly pollarded and coppiced
  • Beech - due to its large stature, this tree plays an important role for rare flora including a variety of orchids, (source Woodland Trust)

We aim to manage and conserve trees across our company land holdings, together with the biodiversity they support. We promote additional planting of indigenous (native) species such as English Oak, Field Maple and Hazel. In 2015, we completed tree surveys that covered 69 of our landholdings, bringing the overall total to 124 surveys across all of the central communities we serve. We have chosen these particular sites having prioritised them according to biodiversity value, access provisions and recreational potential.

The surveys are conducted to promote proactive tree management on sites and removal of dead trees which were posing a safety risk on public footpaths and roads. The surveys have helped us to make recommendations for remediation work and biodiversity enhancement.

Birds and butterflies around our sites

Bird and butterfly surveys are carried out over a number of sites within our central region. Detailed surveys were undertaken in 2014 to establish how varied the biodiversity for the two species groups was and to suggest ways to enhance habitats to encourage greater biodiversity, especially for protected species.

The bird surveys were very encouraging with some unusual sightings including rare Goldeneye at Springwell Lake.

These birds usually breed in the Highlands of Scotland, but recently, a pair bred at Springwell, which was one of only a handful of records of Goldeneye breeding in England.

The butterfly surveys also revealed encouraging results with 20 different species recorded over eight sites. These included declining species such as the Essex Skipper and the Small Copper (pictured left). This data has provided important ecological information about our sites going forward.

River restoration

Working in our communities to improve the habitat and flow of rivers.

River Restoration

Catchment management

Dealing with challenges that impact on water quality at source.

Catchment Management
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