Nature After Minerals programme celebrates tenth anniversary and looks to the future
THE Nature After Minerals (NAM) team is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its formation this year.
2017 marks 10 years of working with stakeholders across the minerals sector to collectively secure and highlight the best options for nature and people during extraction and following restoration work on mineral sites.
Biodiversity gain through minerals restoration has come a long way since 2006 when the RSPB released a report (Nature After Minerals: how mineral site restoration can benefit people and wildlife) showcasing the huge potential that the right sort of restorations could represent for nature in England.
Today, consideration is being given to the creation of more priority habitat in the right places to create vital stepping-stone access for wildlife to travel across whole landscapes; linking conservation hotspots and putting back some of what nature has lost in past decades. Site restoration following extraction provides an excellent opportunity to create these stepping-stones.
Species on the rise include water vole, bittern, bearded tit and otter. As the multi-authored State of Nature 2016 Report acknowledges, wetland habitat creation, through minerals restoration, has helped.
However, as the State of Nature 2016 Report also points out, the rich biological diversity of life in the UK (as elsewhere) continues to decline at a worrying rate (the report found 56% of species studied have declined in recent decades), so much remains to be done to help secure the future of the country’s natural heritage.
Nature After Minerals works to help ensure that future where people can continue to enjoy and benefit from the natural environment (eg improved physical and mental well-being which a closeness to nature helps promote; local economic regeneration through green leisure pursuits on former minerals sites; and flood alleviation through appropriate and sustainable habitat creation, to name but a few) and where species can continue to have a place to call home.
Commenting on the milestone anniversary, Helen Barnard, NAM’s programme manager, said: ‘Nature After Minerals has enjoyed working in partnership with the minerals sector over this last decade to help promote the potential of the industry to deliver for nature.
‘Already, great things are happening on the ground for nature and people. We hope to be still around for the next 10 years, during which time we look forward to continuing to work with all our colleagues in the minerals industry and the wider minerals restoration community, to share best practice in biodiversity-led minerals restoration, offer advice and provide support to help bring about the future we all want to see.
‘It has been great working with all stakeholders, so far. We are grateful for the support extended towards NAM and its objectives, and will work to build on these mutually-beneficial relationships, going forward.’