Biodiversity Net Gain
Biodiversity – ‘the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat, a high level of which is usually considered to be important and desirable.’
We have been mindful of our impact on the natural habitat (or/ wild inhabitants and plant life) of our sites since we started building 16 years ago. In the UK, between 1970 and 2013, wildlife species have declined by 56%. Our aim is simple, to leave each site in better condition than when we found it, enabling and encouraging more species than before to survive and thrive.
Ecologists survey the existing biodiversity of all of our sites, observing who it is already home to (birds, bees, bats, reptiles etc.) and report how we should proceed without displacing or harming them. Their findings affect how we plan and build. Mindful of the decline of so much wildlife we often go beyond their recommendations.
We are passionate about our thriving wild life meadows. Species rich, a typical wildflower space will have from 20 to 60 species in a few square meters. Bugs, bees and butterflies migrate to them within days.
We also plant native trees, shrubs and flowers; having occurred naturally they support and strengthen the local eco system.
Secure habitats & nesting sites
In the last 20 years the Hedgehog population has declined by 50%. Their movements are thwarted by fences so we ensure there are hedgehog holes for them to come and go. We are also going to add hedgehog houses to our newer sites so they’ll have a safe place to hibernate.
Using native logs we have been making log pile houses for years, hotels for local mini beasts. The creepy crawlies make great snacks for birds, hedgehogs and frogs.
Bats, the night time equivalent of the bee, these nocturnal mammals are great pollinators. They also eat up to 1,200 insects an hour (no more flies!). We have been installing bat boxes to give them somewhere safe to roost, raise their pups and sleep during the day.
Between 1995 and 2016 we lost over half of all the Swifts breeding in the UK. Entirely dependent on buildings in which to nest we have been adding Swift bricks (integral nest boxes) to our sites to encourage breeding.