Net environmental gain
It is our intention to create a net gain in biodiversity. That means we will create more natural habitats than we need to remove.
The project will sit on land which is currently used for grazing. There is land that we do not intend to use for the facility that we could rewild to attract wildlife and insects.
Potential area for environmental gain.
We have options for how we treat the land on the site that is not needed for the facility. They include the possibility of maintaining it as a grazing paddock rewilding the area with a range of plants known to attract and encourage wildlife and insects, or even creating a ‘tiny forest’ with a tree planting density of three native trees per metre square. These can absorb up to 30 times more carbon dioxide than a traditionally planted woodland.
What is rewilding?
Rewilding is about creating the conditions for nature to thrive and establishing the natural processes that repair ecosystems and boost biodiversity. More on rewilding can be found at www.rewildingbritain.org.uk. If the land is to be rewilded, we will work with rewildingbritain.org.uk to connect the land to the Rewilding Network and bring this initiative into the local community.
What is a tiny forest?
The close-knit style of planting is known as Miyawaki method and is based on the work of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, who found that wild pockets of densely planted woodland were thriving in a way that far exceeded the narrow, limited habitats of managed commercial forests. Mini forests are known to grow thicker and faster than traditional woodland, using space in an efficient way and making the most of sunlight, shade, leaf litter, pollinators, fungi, wildlife and general ecosystem health. If the land is to become a tiny forest we will work with earthwatch.org.uk to plant, maintain and monitor the space.
"English chalk streams are one of the most precious and beautiful things in the natural world. They are known for their clear waters, rich wildlife and for providing a beautiful place for people to enjoy."
Jake Rigg, Director of Corporate Affairs at Affinity Water:
"The chalk aquifer provides 65% of the public drinking water in the south-east of England. These precious resources are under increasing pressure from abstraction and issues such as climate change and population growth. Affinity Water is taking a new approach and investing in water sources which ensure regional resilience. The conditioning facility at Sundon will play a fundamental role in our plans for protecting chalk streams."
Environment Agency – Meeting our future water needs: a national framework for water resources (March 2020):
"Unsustainable abstraction still diminishes some of the most iconic catchments and important habitats Bishop’s Stortford in the country, such as chalk streams, which are a globally important habitat. There are more than 224 Stort chalk streams in the UK. These represent 75 to 80% of this habitat Chel type globally and must be protected. Sustainably abstracted water bodies are more resilient to climate change and drought so addressing Harlow Roding unsustainable abstraction will help improve resilience."