By the very nature of the services we provide as a green contractor, The Landscape Group carries out work in areas that are of value to wildlife. This will vary from informal green infrastructure in urban environments to formally ‘designated sites’ of nature conservation interest. Designated sites include Local Nature Reserves (LNRs), County Wildlife Sites (CWS), Sites of Biological Interest (SBIs), National Nature Reserves (NNRs) Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Ramsar sites.
Biodiversity is short for ‘biological diversity’ and is a measure of the variety of life forms in any given area. So in its simplest form, high biodiversity means lots of different plant and animal species in an area, whereas low biodiversity means only a few different plants and animals. An area of mown amenity grass with ‘lollipop’ trees will be relatively low in biodiversity, a rural hedge made up of several different native shrubs will support medium biodiversity and ancient woodland will
be very high in biodiversity.
All green areas have some biodiversity value. Even a closely-mown roadside verge will support a range of insect life and hence provide a food supply for birds and mammals. ‘Brownfield’ sites (open areas that were formerly industrial or built upon) can also support more biodiversity that you might think. There are only six species of reptiles in the UK (three snakes and three lizards) and they are all particularly fond of brownfield sites. In addition, bats and swifts will breed in abandoned buildings on brownfield sites.
Designated sites mean nature conservation sites that have some kind of formal protection. The level of protection varies depending on whether the site is important locally, nationally or internationally. Local authorities and other landowners have a duty to ensure that they manage designated areas in a sensitive manner and do not carry out any damaging operations. There are also restrictions on planning and what can and cannot be built on or near to designated areas.
Although the consequences of mismanaging designated sites are more severe than non-designated sites, for many of The Landscape Group’s customers, their contact with nature takes place in local neighbourhoods – a village common, the local park, the plot of land at the bottom of the street. We should maintain these places with no less care than the statutory designated sites.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act (WLCA) 1981 is the most important piece of wildlife law in Great Britain, and although there is other legislation relating to biodiversity, it’s the WLCA that is most relevant to The Landscape Group and its activities. The WLCA is made up of a number of Sections, and contains a list of Schedules setting out birds, animals and plants that have the highest levels of protection.
For details on how we protect and enhance biodiversity within our work
please click here.
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