Since March 2010, 15 of our sites have achieved the prestigious Biodiversity Benchmark award.
This is the only award issued to businesses by The Wildlife Trusts, the UK’s leading conservation organisation, recognising continual improvement in biodiversity management. As an independently assessed award, the benchmark certifies businesses making a significant contribution to enhancing biodiversity in support of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).
As only 40 sites in the UK have secured the Biodiversity Benchmark, our 15 certifications represent a significant achievement. In total, the minerals and extractive industry holds 22 certificates – Tarmac leads the way, with our sites making up 68% of the sector. The sites that achieved the award include Wensley, Scorton, Ellerton, Nosterfield, Swinden, Arcow, Skipton Rock and Threshfield quarries, and a greenfield site at Killerby.
In common with all our active quarries, each site has a BAP in place to help guide ongoing land management and restoration practice. These prioritise biodiversity at the heart of land management, with key habitats and species targeted.
These targets mirror those in local authority BAPs, as well as the targets set in the UK-wide BAP. As an example, the national BAP seeks an increase in reed beds. We have been able to contribute these at Nosterfield as part of our ongoing restoration. This in turn creates a habitat for the rare bittern and other bird species.
An independent auditor visited all the sites in mid-2011, inspecting the monthly wildlife records and discussing biodiversity with a wide range of staff working at our quarries, including contractors. He was impressed at how integrated the system is, how restoration plans have been amended to improve biodiversity on site and how staff are enthusiastically embracing the subject. No non-conformances were recorded, which meant all these sites successfully achieved Benchmark status.
The Benchmark status provides external validation by the UK’s largest conservation organisation of our ongoing commitment towards biodiversity improvement in North Yorkshire and Northumberland to date.