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New project aims to give nature a home in quarries

New project aims to give nature a home in quarries

A multi million pound project to turn quarries into wildlife havens has been hailed by conservationists as a vital lifeline for nature.

Restore, a project financed by the EU's Interreg IVB North West Europe fund, will see €3.3m spent on creating priority habitats, turning spent mineral extraction sites into reedbeds, meadows, woodlands, and heathland. The extra funding comes as a host of sites across the UK have recently recorded species bouncing back as a result of restoration work.

A variety of insects, crayfish, otters and bitterns are just some of the species which are thriving in newly-created habitats and the new funding means conservationists and the minerals industry can do even more for wildlife in the future.

The recent State of Nature report, launched by Sir David Attenborough and 25 leading nature organisations revealed that 60 per cent of UK species are in decline. Loss of natural habitat was singled out as one of the biggest causes.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said: “The State of Nature report was a wake-up call for all of us that we need to do more for wildlife, and quarry restoration can really help us do that.

“In recent years the minerals industry and conservationists have forged a vital link and we have seen some truly inspiring work happen as a result. I have walked through wildlife havens alive with birds, butterflies and wild flowers where once there were diggers, excavations and conveyor belts. These transformations show that with the right expertise and dedication it is possible to bring wildlife back to our countryside, for all to enjoy.

“This money and the project it will support are vital if we are to carry that work on. I want to say thanks to the minerals industry for all that they have done for our wildlife so far – and I want to challenge them to go even further so we can turn even more of these sites around.”

Conservation successes on quarry sites include the recording of a rare spider-eating wasp, identified for the first time in England at the LafargeTarmac Sandy Heath quarry in Bedfordshire.

Numbers of breeding great crested newts are at record levels at ponds specifically created at Ryder Point quarry in Matlock, Derbyshire, worked by independent operator Longcliffe Quarries and member of the British Aggregates Association (BAA). Acknowledging this success, Peter Huxtable, BAA Secretary, said: “Our members are endeavoring to do their bit for nature. They recognize the great potential to create homes for nature on their sites.”

Ouse Fen in Cambridgeshire – a nature reserve being created from a Hanson quarry site – reported its first otter earlier this year and numbers of bitterns and marsh harriers are increasing on the reserve.

At Kemerton Lake in Worcestershire, a former sand and gravel extraction site, native white-clawed crayfish have been reintroduced by Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust. More individuals are set to be released into the lake this summer to help the species which has been decimated by the influx of invasive American crayfish in our lakes and rivers.

This summer has also seen increased sightings of the threatened small blue and grizzled skipper butterflies at restored Cemex quarry sites in Warwickshire.

Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), said: “This funding is a great development. MPA members do a fantastic job working to restore sites for wildlife and collaborate with partners on all fronts, at home and overseas.

“Together, we can help reverse the decline in biodiversity by creating priority habitat and providing vital footholds for endangered species. The minerals industry is in a unique position to be able to make a difference.”

The Restore project will see the RSPB, Surrey County Council and five other partners from across northwest Europe coming together to work collaboratively and invest in demonstration sites which show what can be achieved for nature through appropriate and sustainable quarry restoration.

A new online interactive map will be created to help the minerals sector plan restorations within the context of neighbouring nature conservation designated areas. The scheme will also help local planning authorities develop better policies to encourage restoration for biodiversity. The project will be officially launched at a reception at the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining in London on September 25.

- Ends -

For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Nik Shelton, RSPB media officer: 01767 693554 Out of hours: 07739 921464.

Broadcast-quality radio interviews:

To arrange an ISDN broadcast-quality radio interview please contact Nik Shelton at the RSPB press office.

Editor’s notes:

1. The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

2. The State of Nature report was launched in May by 25 leading wildlife organisations. It found that 60% of the species studied have declined over recent decades. More than one in ten of all the species assessed are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether. For full details visit -

3. The RESTORE project is made up of 7 partner organisations, with the RSPB acting as the lead partner and incorporating much of its on-going work under the Nature After Minerals programme (a partnership between the RSPB and Natural England).

The RESTORE project partners are:

RSPB, Surrey County Council, VLM – the Flemish Land Agency, Limburg Province – regional government in the Netherlands, ILS – an economics institute based in Dortmund, ENCI Development Foundation – associated with the HeidelbergCement Group in the Netherlands - and IKL – a landscape conservation trust in Limburg.

Partners will be looking to engage with stakeholders in and around the minerals industry both in the UK and throughout northwest Europe.

INTERREG IVB NWE is a financial instrument of the European Union's Cohesion Policy. It funds projects (through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)) which support transnational cooperation. The aim is to find innovative ways to make the most of territorial assets and tackle shared problems of Member States, regions and other authorities.

4. Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. With the recent addition of The British Precast Concrete Federation (BPCF) and the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), it has a growing membership of 465 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of GB cement production, 90% of aggregates production and 95% of asphalt and ready-mixed concrete production and 70% of precast concrete production. Each year the industry supplies £9 billion of materials and services to the £120 billion construction and other sectors. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors. For more information visit:

5. BAA is the recognised voice of the UKs independent and SME aggregates sector with 110 members of which over 70 are quarry operators representing 13% of national output and with nearly 300 active quarry sites.

Natural England joins CRI Project Board

Natural England joins CRI Project Board

One more organization joined the Board of the Central Rivers Initiative, bringing the number to 14. CRI Project Manager, Julie Wozniczka said ‘We are delighted to welcome Natural England to our Project Board. Through the Environmental Stewardship schemes they have already done so much to enhance the Central Rivers Area, working with farmers and landowners to improve the environment for key species.’

Events at the National Memorial Arboretum in November 2012

Events and activities at the National Memorial Arboretum November 2012

Mondays - Walking for Health at the Arboretum
2.30pm. On-site - report to Reception a few minutes before to check muster point. Free.

Contact Tor Pitts at the Rosliston Forestry Centre on 01283 563483 or 07977439309 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Until Tuesday 27 - Exhibition: NMA Friends Photographic Competition

9am to 5pm. Long Gallery. Free, donations appreciated.

Sunday 4 - The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain - Annual Service of Remembrance

10.00 am. Onsite. Contact Keith Miller, 01784 461805 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Saturday 10 – The Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade - Annual Service of Remembrance

2.00 pm. Onsite at Millennium Chapel and The Brigade Memorial Garden . Contact Maynard Scott on 01827 894265 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Sunday 11 – Service for Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday

10.00 am. Onsite. Special parking arrangements in operation. Check our website

Sunday 11 – Allied Special Forces - Service of Remembrance
12.00 noon. Onsite at the Sun Room, Allied Special Forces Grove. Contact Mike Colton, ASF Secretary on 07929 118598 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Saturday 17 – Wildlife Watch Group – Build a Survival Shelter

2.00 pm – 4.00 pm. Onsite. Parents of interested new members should initially contact to check on availability. £1.00 per session.

Activities and walks for children and young persons aged 8 – 14, led by Richard Thorpe, Arboretum’s Volunteer Wildlife Officer. Always great fun and lots to discover!

Saturday 17 – HMS Neptune Association – Service of Remembrance and AGM

12.00 noon. Onsite and the Rose Room. Contact Mrs Diana Clayton or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Sunday 18 – Royal Mail – Annual Service of Remembrance

12.00 noon. Onsite. Contact Peter Armitage on 07895 890110 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Monday 19 – Arboretum Story Circle

12 noon. Chapel or onsite. Free, donations appreciated. No advance booking required.Maria Whatton, award-winning professional storyteller, returns this year for the popular monthly Arboretum Story Circle .

Look out for our exciting Christmas events and activities in December…

* SUNDAY 2 - Christmas Launch – a festive fun-filled programme for the whole family.
* THURSDAY 6, THURSDAY 13, FRIDAY 14, WEDNESDAY 19, THURSDAY 20 & FRIDAY 21 - Christmas Lunches with 1940’s Entertainment by Lola Lamour
* FRIDAY 7 ONWARDS – Christmas tree sales
* SATURDAY 8 – Christmas Pudding Club
* SUNDAY 9 – Wine Tasting with Worth Brothers
* SUNDAY 9 – Winter Wildlife Walk
* TUESDAY 11 – Festive Flowers with Anne Brown
* SATURDAY 15 – Winter Photography Workshop
* SATURDAY 15, SATURDAY 20 & SUNDAY 23 – Winter Wonderland Horse Drawn Carriage Tours
* SUNDAY 16 – Carols in the Chapel
* MONDAY 17 – Arboretum Story Circle
* THURSDAY 20 & FRIDAY 21 – Crafts with Sylvia Royal
* SATURDAY 22 ONWARDS – Family Bauble Trail
* SATURDAY 22 & SUNDAY 23 – Children’s Drop-Off Craft Sessions
* VARIOUS DATES - Santa’s Grotto

And if that’s not enough…

take a New Year’s Day Walk – blow away the cobwebs with a two-mile guided stroll.

Unless otherwise stated, contact the Arboretum for more information or to book places. Event details are subject to change so do check before travelling.

Aggregate Industries proposes solar farm at Newbold Quarry

Aggregate Industries proposes solar farm at Newbold Quarry

The proposal to develop a solar farm forms part of Aggregate Industries’ commitment to reduce the carbon emissions associated with the construction materials it produces. Countrywide the company is developing a number of renewable energy projects with a target of generating 25% of the energy the company needs from renewable sources.

The proposed solar farm, which would have a maximum installed capacity of 15MW, is being progressed with Aggregate Industries’ renewable energy developer partner, AGRenewables Ltd.

The solar panels are proposed to be installed on land within the quarry site that has already been extracted, infilled and restored. The proposed fields have been restored to pasture and would continue to be managed as a wild flower meadow throughout the life of the solar farm. Low carbon electricity generated from the solar panels in the first phase of development will feed directly into the on-site grid infrastructure providing power direct to the quarry operations. Any electricity not used by the quarrying operations at Newbold will be ‘bought back’ by Aggregate Industries under a power purchase agreement to help reduce the overall carbon emission associated with the company’s wider operations throughout the UK. This site is one of a number of renewable energy sites being progressed by the company together with AGRenewables.

Tim Claxton, Aggregate Industries’ Senior Estates Surveyor at Newbold Quarry commented today, “We are very pleased to announce our plans for a solar farm at Newbold Quarry and look forward to the first generation of low carbon electricity reducing the carbon emissions associated with the quarrying operations here.”

“As a company we are committed to sustainable construction and the solar farm at Newbold will help our company reduce the carbon footprint of our operations.”

Tim Claxton said, “Although we looked at the feasibility of siting a wind turbine at Newbold, it became clear to us that we had the space required to progress a solar application which had the capacity to generate more energy at the site. In addition, the areas we have chosen to develop with AGRenewables are well screened, will have no impact on quarrying operations at the site and have no impact on our approved restoration plans.”

Aggregate Industries is proposing a two-phased programme to deliver the solar farm that would see a planning application for the initial 2.2MW installation being submitted to Staffordshire County Council in November. This would be followed by a second application for phase 2 early next year. For more information on the proposals, to post any comments you may have or to sign up for project updates, you can visit the project website Alternatively you can also contact the project team via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Duke plants 8millionth tree in Forest

The Duke of Cambridge has planted the 8 millionth tree in The National Forest.

He planted a pin oak in the grounds of St. George’s Park, when he and the Duchess of Cambridge came to The National Forest recently to open the new national football centre near Burton upon Trent.

A scarlet-leaved pin oak was chosen to reflect the red of St George, and the Duke planted it on raised ground between the stunning new training facilities, the education centre and the hotels that form part of the development.

It was a great honour to welcome the Duke and Duchess to the Forest, and even though the day was very much a sporting occasion, they took time to talk about the tree and the setting of St George’s Park in the forest landscape.

The national football centre has been over a decade in the making, and the National Forest Company has worked closely with the Football Association throughout this time to ensure that the design of the new centre made the most of its wonderful setting within the Forest. It lies in the historic landscape of Byrkley Park, the former home of the Bass brewing family, in the ancient forest of Needwood. The development has been made with sensitivity and care to sustain the heritage and wildlife habitats of the Park.

The centre boasts two Wembley size pitches and two hotels - a Hilton and Hampton by Hilton - not to mention a major sports health facility and conference centre. Outside, the Park is graced with many magnificent established trees, and new planting complements the parkland landscape; now its undulations are echoed in the stunning timber, glass and burnished steel architecture of the new national football centre.

Catherine Graham-Harrison, Chair of the National Forest Company, said: “We are delighted and grateful that the Duke of Cambridge has planted such a significant tree in the development of The National Forest, and in such an auspicious setting. It is a remarkable occasion in this very successful sporting year - the opening of a national landmark for one of our best loved sports.

“Ours is a robust forest with plenty of room for kicking a football around – these trees are pretty sturdy! We hope all the guests at the new national football centre will enjoy the magnificent trees in this beautiful park, a gem in the midst of this burgeoning Forest.”

The National Forest is the largest environmentally-led regeneration project in the country. It spans parts of the three counties of Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Since the early 1990s, thousands of native broadleaf trees – predominantly oak, ash and birch – have been planted each year with farmers, charities, local councils, schools, businesses and individuals throughout the 200 square miles of the Forest.

The National Forest has always been about much more than the trees. Planting trees and creating woodlands can help regenerate communities, create work through tourism and woodland management, improve wildlife habitats, and indeed, human habitats, by providing opportunities for leisure and recreation: where people can walk, cycle, picnic, watch the birds. Trees are essential for our mental and physical well-being.

More than 400 new woodlands have been created or brought back into management since the start of The National Forest, and three times the amount of land has been made publicly accessible, where previously people could not walk or enjoy the outdoors.

Previous ‘millionth’ tree planters have included Jonathon Porritt and John and Irene Cox of Nottingham, a local couple who celebrated their 62 nd wedding anniversary in 2006 and were invited to plant the 7 millionth tree in the same year.

The planting of the tree at St. George’s Park is significant as it is in line with the 20 year Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) which is being implemented at the site. The action plan has been prepared by the Football Association in consultation with the National Forest Company to provide a framework so that the site can be managed to maintain and promote biodiversity without compromising the primary function of the national football centre.

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