A plan to encourage greater biodiversity at a key industrial site in the East Midlands has been given a boost with 29,500 trees being planted this year; this is an important part of the progressive restoration of Saint-Gobain Formula’s Bantycock Gypsum Quarry, near Newark.
The trees, which will all be planted by the end of the 2017-2018 planting season, have been specially selected to create a mix of wet woodland and native woodland species and will provide important habitat for birds and wildlife, while contributing to the region’s biodiversity targets, across this 25-acre part of the site.
It is planned that the woodland area will be extended further as other parts of the wider site are regenerated. The Quarry currently supplies thousands of tonnes of gypsum annually for use in technical applications including the manufacture of ceramics (such as tableware), decorative work & dentistry. It also supplies construction grade gypsum into the plaster and plasterboard manufacturing processes operated nearby at East Leake and Barrow by Saint-Gobain Formula’s sister company, British Gypsum.
Alongside this major investment in tree planting, the latest ecological monitoring work recorded 160 grassland and herbaceous plant species. The restoration plan for the former operational parts of the site seeks to enhance the land and encourage further biodiversity. This plan, approved by Nottinghamshire County Council as part of Formula’s planning permission, also includes footpaths, woodland, wildflower grassland, wetlands, a lake and farm land.
Bantycock Quarry Manager Kevin Glasper says: “Managing the restoration of the worked-out quarry area in a way which is most beneficial to the environment is very high on our priority list. We work with expert ecologists and landscape architects DRaW (UK) Ltd to monitor the site and ensure the land is regenerating in a positive way, and compliments both biodiversity and the local landscape character.
“We are delighted to say that the latest monitoring work has identified three new species on the site - the Vestal Moth (a migrant moth species from southern Europe); Soapwort (which has, as the name suggests, been used as a mild soap in the past) and the most exciting discovery to date – Annual Beard Grass, which is classified as ‘scarce’ in the UK.
“In addition to the new species identified, we are also seeing growth in the population of established species such as Bee Orchid, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Lady’s Bedstraw and Common Knapweed. These are visited by the four different bee species recorded on the site. As the trees grow, we hope to see more butterflies beginning to colonise the site, including the Grizzled Skipper, which is becoming increasingly rare in the UK.”