With a new agreement being formed by the UN at Cop15 last week to protect the natural world, our thoughts have turned to the results we’ve achieved throughout 2022 to protect our planet. As part of our six responsible business ambitions at St. Modwen, we have made a commitment to biodiversity and sustainable environments, aiming for 10% net gain across our developments and delivering new schemes that work with nature, not against it.
Over the past twelve months, we have taken significant steps to give back to the environment, managing and providing spaces for rare and endangered species to call home, and working alongside our colleagues, partners, and local communities to boost the roots of nature throughout their local community spaces.
In February, Warwickshire County Council awarded the Meon Vale development, in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Local Wildlife Status due to the site’s outstanding biodiversity and home to an array of endangered species. Meon Vale Residents Association (MVRA) received £4,900 in Warwickshire County Council, Green Shoots funding to support planting of new wildflower meadows.
To accomplish Local Wildlife Site status, St. Modwen designed and manages the wetland area as a nature park, adding new habitats and pathways, installing and monitoring bat boxes, furthering enhancing streams and ditches, and restoring grassland through more sympathetic management to create wildflower meadows.
Today, the area is home to a wide variety of animals including water voles, butterflies, newts, birds, and bats, including the very rare Bechstein’s bat, which was the site of the first sighting of the species, and the specially protected bird, the Little Ringed Plover.
May saw the beginning of the Queens Green Canopy, a nationwide initiative to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. The initiative’s aim was to leave a living legacy for future generations to appreciate, whilst also having a positive effect on biodiversity and carbon capture.
St. Modwen joined businesses, individuals and groups across the nation to take part in the event by committing to plant over 1,400 trees across 30 of its logistics, residential and regeneration developments.
Partners, customers and communities joined our tree planting events as a way of getting involved in the initiative to learn about the environment, encouraging community and celebrating their local area.
With some developments now home to over 300 trees, they have the potential to store up to 6 tonnes of carbon if they live to 100 years, whilst supporting up to 2,300 different species by providing shelter and food for wildlife, from birds and butterflies, to woodland mammals and insects.
In June, the ongoing regeneration project at Longbridge began it’s greenest project yet. Following the announcement of plans to bring more green space to the area in January 2021, a plan began to be formed to bring this to fruition.
The agreed plan would see the delivery of environmental and health benefits, such as enhancing air quality and biodiversity within the local area and creating natural spaces for the community.
Just six months after the plan was agreed , the ‘Green Heart’ of Longbridge was finally revealed, featuring 46 new trees, 3,500 new shrubs and plants, and 6,500 bulbs and wildflowers, creating a calm space for people and nature to enjoy.
An endangered species returned to Trentham Estate in August. Over 200 water voles were reintroduced to Trentham as a result of collaboration between Trentham’s biodiversity team and specialist water vole ecologist, Derek Gow.
220 water voles reclaimed their home at Trentham, with the hope that they’ll establish a self-sustaining breeding population.
This marks a milestone moment for protecting the species and maintaining the local ecosystem, as water voles had previously not been recorded in Trentham since the 1980s and they are currently believed to be extinct throughout 97% of their former range
In September, a team of St. Modwen colleagues volunteered to restore heathland at Trentham.
The team cleared areas of scotch brooms, gorse, and silver birch saplings for new diverse shrub layers to grow, removed vegetation to mulch for new tree plantings, and built nesting habitats for local rare bird species.
The activities of the day provided growth opportunities for new land areas, habitats for local species, and natural materials to help encourage the growth of new trees and plantings in the coming year.
In October, Glan Llyn was awarded Best Biodiversity Enhancement on a Brownfield Project at the Brownfield Awards 2022. The award was received for the transformation of the former 600-acre Llanwern Steelworks site into a new community in south Wales.
When the site was first acquired in 2004, the area was still largely part of the heavily concentrated Llanwern Steelworks and required extensive treatment. St. Modwen worked with consultant project teams including SK Enviromental Solutions and Pleydell Smithyman to transform the once steelwork site to a bloom home of biodiversity benefiting both wildlife and residents wellbeing.
Glan Llyn now has a high quality and sustainable community, including 80 acres of open space encompassing parkland and wildlife habitats which support wildfowl and wetland creatures including waterfowl and reedbed nesters. The site has also inhabited one of the rarest bumblebee species in the UK, the shrill carder bee which has only been spot in six other locations outside of Glan Llyn.
The Kingsgrove community of Wantage came together on a brisk morning in mid-November and planted over 800 flowering bulbs around the edges of the play park and woodlands near the public square as an opportunity to bring colour to the area.
As the day progressed more people from the local community and nearby villages offered a helping hand, creating a connection through nature. The bulbs planted should begin to bloom within a few months as winter turns into spring. We are proud of the achievements our colleagues, partners, and communities were able to deliver throughout 2022, and we look forward to the milestones we can achieve next year to continue to boost biodiversity and sustainability throughout our developments.
You can find out more about how we’re committed to protecting biodiversity and ensuring sustainable environments by visiting this page: https://www.stmodwen.co.uk/delivering-responsibly/