Construction company puts biodiversity on its agenda

Sensemaking / Construction company puts biodiversity on its agenda

Lafarge transforms old quarry sites to give a new home to indigenous flora and fauna.

27 Jan 2012

Lafarge transforms old quarry sites to give a new home to indigenous flora and fauna.

Wildfowl and birds have a new haven on the site of a former sand and gravel quarry in North Yorkshire, thanks to a wetland restoration project by Lafarge.

The wealth of biodiversity at Marfield Wetlands was commended in the inaugural Natural England Biodiversity Awards, part of the 2011 Mineral Product Association’s restoration and biodiversity event.

The Marfield area has a long history of mineral extraction, dating back to the 16th century, according to parish records. The site was initially quarried on an ad hoc basis by the Swinton Estate, before it was sold in the 1950s. Extraction stopped in 1989, before Lafarge acquired the land in the late ’90s. The concrete and aggregates group recognised the potential for biodiversity, and revised the original restoration plans.

“It boasts a diverse range of habitat including lakes, lowland fen and lowland mixed deciduous woodland”, says David Park, regional restoration manager for Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK. “But most importantly, it features wetland which was once very common in North Yorkshire, and has now declined by a staggering 80%.”

Better news yet is that Marfield is not a one-off. Lafarge is planning the restoration of the remainder of its sand and gravel extraction sites. The RSPB estimates that the mineral products industry alone could deliver biodiversity targets for nine out of 11 priority habitats in the UK. - Anna Simpson

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