First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com
Cemex UK is the first ever winner of the new Natural England Biodiversity Award for its restoration at Rugeley quarry in County Staffordshire, England, where 80 hectares of high-quality wildlife habitat has been created and restored to lowland dry heathland, complementing the adjoining Cannock Chase Special Area for Conservation. The site was described by the judges as “stunning”.
The restored area of the quarry provides habitat for priority species such as nightjar, woodlark, tree pipit, adder and hybrid bilberry and by 2032, Cemex estimates that it will have created over 200 hectares of the nationally prioritised heathland habitat at Rugeley for wildlife to live, breed and thrive.
Cemex voluntarily decided not to quarry sand and gravel to the permitted depth to ensure that the new heathland remained dry.
“The sheer extent of the restored lowland dry heath and the quality of the habitat produced was outstanding,” said the judges' report.
The company has also worked closely with the local RSPB manager, James Baker and volunteers from the Friends of Cannock Chase who joined working parties to clear scrub from an area known as Bevin’s Birches to create an open mosaic habitat with lichen heath characteristics.
The award was presented by Natural England chief executive Helen Phillips at the Mineral Products Association’s biodiversity event Building on our legacy...Realising our potential at the Royal Society in London.
She told guests “There are countless inspiring examples of what happens when restoration and conservation are planned into the early stages of mineral extraction and the Mineral Products Association Awards are a great way of highlighting the efforts that have been made.
"I am delighted to be able to recognise the commitment, knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife shown by the high standard of entries and the dedication shown by so many of MPA’s members and in this instance by Cemex UK.”
The award entry was made in partnership with the RSPB [the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds] and was one of 15 entries.
The RSPB estimates that the industry could, on its own, deliver UK biodiversity targets for nine out of 11 priority habitats.