On most of our contracts, we work in partnership with our clients who are responsible for the design and specification of the nature conservation services to be delivered. However, some of our clients are now looking to outsource the management of parks and countryside and are therefore looking for their contractor to take responsibility for designing the landscape and specifying the maintenance operations. We can therefore divide our nature conservation activities into landscape maintenance and landscape management.
How the Landscape Group will protect or enhance biodiversity as a maintenance contractor
Even if we do not design the landscape or specify the operations, we take full responsibility for the manner in which we operate. As a minimum, The Landscape Group commits to the following:
During contract mobilisation, our contract manager will establish from our client the location of any sites of particular nature conservation interest, especially designated sites.
Through toolbox talks, our contract manager will ensure that all employees are aware of the locations of sensitive sites and their obligations under the WLCA through simple do’s and don’ts.
On larger contracts (£1 million+), we will become corporate supporters of our local Wildlife Trust. On contracts where there is a high proportion of nature conservation work, we will commission
external training on specific techniques and awareness - usually from the local Wildlife Trust.
We will be proactive in suggesting more wildlife-friendly ways of working to our clients.
We will listen to and actively engage with Friends’ Groups and local Wildlife Groups so that we are aware of areas of local wildlife importance and support volunteers wherever possible. This may involve the loan of equipment, the offer of transport or the active participation in conservation activities.
As part of our Carbon Reduction Plan, we will offer to plant native tree species under our Employee Tree Scheme to offset our carbon and to increase local biodiversity.
How the Landscape Group will protect or enhance biodiversity as a management contractor
Where The Landscape Group is responsible for the management of parks and open spaces, our responsibility to protect wildlife and observe statutory designations becomes significantly higher.
In these circumstances, the Landscape Group will employ an ecological specialist, either directly or through a consultancy arrangement to ensure that it and its clients deliver high standards of nature conservation. Depending on the contract, this may include biodiversity monitoring, the drawing up of management plans and the management of conservation volunteers.
The Landscape Group delivers 43 substantial term maintenance contracts across England, and many of these contain sites of high wildlife value, or are adjacent to areas of nature conservation interest or
designated sites. In particular, the following of our contracts require us to work carefully and sensitively with the client conservation officers and conservation volunteers.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - The Landscape Group has been appointed legacy partner for this landmark site until at least 2024, caring for the park's green and blue estates. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been developed with a number of social, economic and biodiversity commitments at its core. We have been involved with the creation of the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for the park from day one, consulting with local nature and wildlife groups at every stage to ensure that a fully rounded view of local biodiversity was taken into account.
The Landscape Group’s approach to horticultural management on site is also underpinned by the sustainability promise and part of this includes trials of chemical-free alternatives to pest and weed control. In the ‘Asia’ section of the London 2012 gardens currently managed by Horticultural Supervisor Kevin Pressland (an expert in organic gardening practices) we’ve been trialling a combination of garlic and seaweed within the beds to improve pest resilience. Elsewhere in the park, we have trialled Weedtech’s Foamstream process, which kills weeds with steam instead of chemicals.
Stroud District Council – Stratford Park. On this contract, our Contract Supervisor Mike McCrea carries out significant community engagement and compiles a regular biodiversity newsletter.
Sefton Council at Ainsdale, Southport (a Europa 2000 Special Area of Conservation) is one of only two sites in the UK with a significant population of Natterjack Toad.
Bristol City Council – we are working with our client Bristol City Council and Bristol University to pilot wildflower verges – this is a project where traditional amenity grass mixes are replaced with low maintenance wildflower mixes. The benefits to be delivered include lower maintenance costs, higher visual/aesthetic value, safety (in terms of less maintenance visits and no pesticide application) and higher value for insects.
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