A Stafford-based business park is up for a prestigious international environmental award.
Staffordshire County Council’s Redhill Business Park is a major economy boosting initiative delivering opportunities for up to 2,500 jobs.
The 80 acre site was made up of fields grazed by cattle with small woods and several ponds. Knowing that these supported a range of wildlife such as bats, great crested newts, bluebells and rare wetland plants, the site was specially designed to retain these important natural habitats.
Specially designed tunnels allow newts and other wildlife to cross under the business park road. New ponds and the sustainable drainage system provide additional habitat, while a new Wildflower meadow has been created, with the help of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, using hay harvested from Mottey Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest. Native trees and shrubs have also been planted to enhance the site.
Now, the Business Park has been shortlisted for the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) 2016 Best Practice Award for Practical Nature Conservation.
Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth at Staffordshire County Council said:
The Redhill Business Park is a great example of how multi-million pound sites can be developed while at the same time protecting the natural habitat and wildlife.
We worked closely with the developers, wildlife and landscape advisors right from the outset and it’s now great to see the wildlife flourishing. The business park is also on track to generate millions of pounds of inward investment and create thousands of jobs for the local area too so it’s a real win-win situation.
In addition to wildlife benefits the business park has been designed for people too. Footpaths lead through the woodlands and grassland and benches made from site timber provide places to rest. The site of a WWII Mustang crash on the site has been marked by a commemorative plaque for the American pilot Harry Kerr who lost his life.
Recent studies have shown that the new ponds and drainage features have attracted at least eight species of dragonflies and damselflies, while the great crested newt population has increased. At least eight different wildlife species, including newts, frogs and voles, have also used the road tunnels which were specially designed.
The Business Park was developed by Staffordshire County Council with their partners Amey and Balfour Beatty in 2014.
The CIEEM award winner will be announced at a ceremony at Birmingham Botanical Gardens on June 30th.
Notes for Editors:
The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) is the leading professional membership body representing and supporting ecologists and environmental managers in the UK and Ireland. Established in 1991 and receiving a Royal Charter in 2013, CIEEM has members drawn from across the employment sectors including local authorities, government agencies, NGOs, environmental consultancy, academia and industry. Each year, CIEEM presents a series of awards with an overall aim to celebrate achievements of both the profession and of individual practitioners. The Best Practice Award for Practical Nature Conservation is a project-based award recognising high standards of professionalism and ecological and environmental management practice by CIEEM members.
Redhill Business Park is located off the A34 on the northern edge of Stafford.
The sustainable drainage system is made up of an attenuation basin, roadside swales and spreader diches which capture and store water during heavy rainfall events and mean that no more water leaves the site than if it was still pasture, avoiding increased flood risk. The system is also designed to maintain sensitive habitats and important species on the Business Park.
Staffordshire County Council contacts Ali Glaisher Principal Ecologist Member of CIEEM, Chris Evans Landscape Architect Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute.
Other CIEEM members involved in the project: Helen Ball and Max Robinson Apex Ecology, David Smith and Charlotte Lea Middlemarch Environmental Ltd, David Cadman Staffordshire Wildlife Trust (nominator).