Lord De Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, commented on the nature conservation work of minerals companies at the
Mineral Products Association's Restoration and Biodiversity Awards on Wednesday 16 October.
It celebrated MPA member companies’ work, including some of the best examples of quarry restoration and wildlife conservation anywhere in Europe.
“These awards demonstrate the close relationship MPA and its members have built with wildlife organisations to enhance and protect biodiversity and will deliver a lasting legacy for wildlife," Lord De Mauley said.
At the event the MPA has launched its new National Nature Park, a nationwide network of quarries that have been restored for wildlife and which are accessible to the public.
The websiteshows 50 sites around the country where MPA member sites provide facilities including nature trails, viewing hides and visitor centres.
An area of priority habitats five times the size of London’s Richmond Park has already been created on minerals sites, with this set to double as currently worked sites are restored.
RSPB research indicates that mineral sites could meet 100% of the targets for nine out of 11 priority habitats previously identified in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the
“Once again our members have demonstrated how much good work they are doing to achieve high quality restoration and to protect and enhance biodiversity throughout the country. The innovations and partnerships are delivering progress, priority habitats and assets locally and for the UK. The industry is uniquely placed to benefit nature, its legacy is growing, its potential is being realised and now we hope that this is being recognised.”
"Furthermore, we are beginning to build a potentially new asset for the UK with our new National Nature Park. It is our aim to double the number of quarries in the network to 100 over the next two years or so.
“The new Park will become part of the industry’s legacy. This is part of our contribution to what Sir John Lawton was aiming at in the review of England’s wildlife and ecological network, 'more, bigger, better, joined up.’ This great industry has hidden its light under a bushel for far too long."
MPA’s Restoration Awards have been recognising exceptional practice for over 40 years.
The 2013 winner of the Cooper-Heyman Cup for Outstanding Restoration was Lafarge Tarmac's Ibsley Quarry, Hampshire, which has been restored to a mix of open water conservation lakes, wetland and grassland.
It has already won an award from the British Trust for Ornithology for attracting birds, and is particularly significant because of the way it fits into the wider strategies for the area in terms of landscape, ecology, biodiversity, access and restoration.
For the first time this year, MPA’s Biodiversity Awards had three categories: Landscape Scale Restoration, in association with Natural England; Innovation; and Individual Contribution.
The winner of the Landscape Scale Restoration category was the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits in Northamptonshire entered by Hanson UK. With considerable help from Hanson UK’s network of operational and restored quarries in the area, a 16-mile long string of carefully managed wetlands has been created.
The winner of the Innovation category was Ardley North Quarry in Oxfordshire entered by Smith & Sons (Bletchington) Ltd with their landscape consultants, Environmental Solutions through Partnership (ESP) Ltd. They used Pond Conservation’s ‘Aggregates Pond Creation Toolkit’ to adapt their restoration scheme in 2009.
The winner of the Butterfield Trophy for Individual Contribution to Biodiversity was Phil Harding, Farms and Restoration Manager at Brett Group.