Nottinghamshire quarries win top restoration award
Two Nottinghamshire quarries that have been restored to create 600 hectares of countryside loved by people and wildlife alike has carried off the top honour in this year’s Mineral Products Association (MPA) Restoration Awards.
Tarmac’s former Bellmoor and Lound quarries, have been the focus for a massive exercise in the recycling of countryside since the 1940s with operations moving progressively along the Idle Valley north of Retford. In the wake of quarrying, has come not just restored farmland and woodland but a string of wildlife, community and leisure uses – and huge public enjoyment.
The outcome of the restoration work won Tarmac and its restoration partner, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the MPA’s coveted Cooper-Heyman Cup. The award was presented at a ceremony at the Royal Society in London yesterday (19 October).
Neil Beards, Tarmac’s estates Manager for the area, said: “I was delighted to have won. I have been involved with the management of the site since 1990 and have seen it evolve from a mixture of sand and gravel workings and pulverised fuel ash pits to the natural haven it is today. The partnerships we have built with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and with our neighbours and local interest groups have enabled us to maximise the value of the restoration and at the end of quarrying in the area next year after over 50 years it is fitting and highly gratifying that we have been honoured with such a prestigious award”.
At the heart of the site lies a 300-hectare area that was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 1992 and has been the focus for the long-running restoration partnership with the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
The original planning permission for this area envisaged it being filled with pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from a nearby power station. It was when the PFA dried up that the plans of necessity became more “watery” and nature took over with a helping hand from the restoration team.
One of the great achievements is the development of the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre, a joint initiative between North Nottinghamshire College and the Wildlife Trust, which forms the base for the Trust’s Heritage Lottery Funded education and community outreach programmes.
Amongst the other valued facilities is the 70-acre Linghurst Lakes parish park at Lound, an area restored in the early 1990s. Thousands of trees have been planted, wildflower areas created and grass paths defined. The site is now managed by a sub committee of the Lound Parish Council and is widely used by villagers.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive MPA said, “MPA members have a long and proven legacy of high quality restoration. The MPA Restoration Awards have now been running for over 40 years to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievement in quarry restoration. The winning sites have gone above and beyond the norm to provide impressive environmental, social and economic gains, proving the industry’s strong commitment to sustainability. Tarmac’s Bellmoor and Lound site is an excellent example of the benefits to wildlife and the local community that our members’ hard work can achieve.”
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21 October 2011