Providing gains for biodiversity - one year on.
Winning the BIG Biodiversity Challenge Overall Award last year has
helped further raise the profile of delivering biodiversity within Kier
Highways and Highways England. The project was born out of a realisation
that roadside verges could be further enhanced to provide real gains
for biodiversity, in particular for pollinators such as butterflies,
bees and hover flies.
The initiative used the ‘whole crop’ method, harvesting the seeds from
existing local species rich roadside verges and introducing them at
pre-prepared sites where invasive scrub and self-seeding trees had taken
The introduced species, including oxeye daisy, poppy, corn cockle,
tufted vetch, knapweed, bird’s foot trefoil, wild carrot and yellow
rattle provide a vital source of pollen and nectar for the UK’s insect
and butterfly species.
The scheme was so successful it was replicated on the A30 in Devon and
there are plans to roll it out to other sites along the A38 in Devon and
A30 in Cornwall.
These schemes align with DEFRA’s National Pollinator Strategy and
environmental charity’s Buglifes’ B-line initiative, which aims to
create a nationwide network for pollinating species such as bees.
Since the delivery of this scheme Highways England have announced an
ambitious Biodiversity KPI to halt biodiversity loss by 2020 and achieve
biodiversity net gain by 2040. They also have a new target to create
3500 hectares of new species rich grassland.
This new target had led to similar schemes being promoted across the
country which is a great result for species rich grassland and the vital
pollinator species that rely on them for survival.
Matt Tompsett, Environmental Solutions Manager, Kier Highways
The BIG Biodiversity Challenge is free to enter
and the deadline is August 8, with the 2016 awards ceremony taking
place on September 15 in a central London venue. There are also fantastic sponsorship opportunities for organisations wanting to be involved in this year’s Awards
ceremony. For further information on how to enter, and to be inspired by
last year’s entries, please visit www.bigchallenge.info