Happy World Habitat Day

 

World Habitat Day Banner

What is World Habitat Day?

World Habitat Day was established in 1985 by the United Nations General and was first celebrated in 1986.

UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.

 

How are we helping?

Lots of our company land is in ‘urban areas’ which may be disconnected from the wider landscape. By creating small pockets of good green areas, we can help to re-join land for wildlife, even in the towns.

We have many different habitat types on our land. Some habitat types are considered Nationally to be of principal importance. Some of these principally important habitats that we have on our land are below:

Chalk grassland

Chalk grassland is mainly found on limestone and chalk valleys in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, the Chilterns and the Isle of Wight in southeast England.

Lime-rich, but low in nutrients, the thin soils don’t hold much water and heat up quickly. These stressed conditions stop the dominant lush grasses from taking over which allows a diverse range of smaller herbs and lower plants to flourish, many of these are rare.

 

Wildlife you’ll find there:

Insects like bees, butterflies and moths, beetles and dragonflies all love chalk grassland and the variety of food-plants that grow there.

Common lizards, adders and grass snakes can be found basking too.

 

Where can you see it?

Many of our reservoirs have fabulous chalk grassland banks with South facing slopes. If these are managed well with an appropriate cutting regime, they can flourish and act as great connecting points between other green spaces like parks and gardens.

 

Chalk Grassland in Upper Works

  Upper Works, Southeast Region

Reedbeds

Reedbeds are wetlands dominated by stands of common reed, where the water table is at or above ground level for most of the year. They tend to incorporate areas of open water and ditches, and small areas of wet grassland. Reedbeds are amongst the most important habitats for birds in the UK.

 

Wildlife you’ll find there:

Rare birds such as bittern, marsh harrier and marsh warbler

Amphibians like the marsh frog and smooth newt

Mammals such as water vole and otter

 

Where can you see it?

Dungeness in the Dour community and Springwell Lake in the Misbourne community both have excellent examples of reedbed habitat.

 

Springwell Lake Reedbed

  Springwell Lake Reedbed

Hedgerows

Hedgerows can be found around the boundaries of lots of our sites, even in urban areas. Hedgerows are important as they provide corridors which connect wildlife from other sites, allowing populations to migrate.

 

Wildlife you’ll find there:

Mammals like mice and shrews will use the cover of hedgerows to move around. Most species of bat also use hedgerows for navigation. Birds that love a hedgerow include song thrushes, warblers and the iconic robin.

 

Where can you see it?

Hedgerows surround many of our sites both urban and rural alike.

Hedgerow

   Hedgerow on a production site

 

What work are we carrying out?

Biodiversity

We are carrying out surveys for wildlife across our company sites to determine the quality of the habitats we are managing. Generally speaking, the more species diversity, the better the condition of the habitat. We are making recommendations for management of the site and carrying out work where we can to improve the habitat.

River Restoration

There are many river restoration projects taking place by the team that are improving river health, making the river more accessible to the public and creating habitats for a variety of aquatic and terrestrial life.

If you’re in the Luton area, have a look at Manor Road Park, or Upper Gadebridge Park if you’re in the Hemel Hempstead area!

This is just a snapshot of works that are being carried out to provide sustainable habitats across the business.