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MPA Restoration and Biodiversity Awards 2013

First published in the December 2013 issue of Quarry Management as A Lasting Legacy

Report on the MPA’s awards celebrating restoration and biodiversity enhancement in the quarrying industry

DEFRA Minister Lord de Mauley praised members of the Mineral Products Association (MPA) for their valuable contribution to nature conservation at the Association’s prestigious Restoration and Biodiversity Awards 2013, which took place at the Royal Society in London on 16 October.


The event, which had the theme ‘Realising the Potential...Progress and Partnership’, celebrated and shared excellence in restoration and biodiversity enhancement and highlighted the value of working in partnership. Almost 200 delegates attended, including more than 50 environmental and other stakeholder organizations, along with those from industry, government departments, academia and local authorities.

Speaking at the event, Lord de Mauley said: ‘These awards demonstrate the close relationship the MPA and its members have built with wildlife organizations to enhance and protect biodiversity and will deliver a lasting legacy for wildlife.’

Several speakers from nature conservation groups addressed the delegates, highlighting how they are working in partnership with the mineral products industry. They included Stephanie Hilborne OBE, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts; Paul Lambert, executive director of Natural England; Gill Perkins, conservation manager with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust; and Jeremy Biggs, director of the Freshwater Habitats Trust.

Stephanie Hilborne said: ‘The Wildlife Trusts recognize that MPA members take their responsibility for nature very seriously and have an impressive track record of investing in wildlife habitats. Few sectors have so many staff who are so genuinely committed to the natural environment; and few companies can rival the strength of some of the partnerships we have built between minerals and wildlife charities. Our complementary skills and expertise allow us to work in close partnership to generate real benefits for the environment and society.’

She continued: ‘Now the wider corporate sector is beginning to recognize the value of natural capital, the MPA and its members have an opportunity and a responsibility to lead the way. More businesses need to learn how to go about investing in nature’s recovery and the creation of Living Landscapes, involving local communities all the way along. We need your continued support and commitment, and as other businesses learn the ropes, we need the minerals sector to be pushing the boundaries further and building even more profound partnerships with organizations like The Wildlife Trusts.

‘Given the pioneering role the minerals sector has played, it seems appropriate to use the MPA’s Restoration and Biodiversity Awards to thank members for their genuine and continued commitment to wildlife.’

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said: ‘Once again our members have demonstrated how much good work they are doing to achieve high-quality restoration and to protect and enhance biodiversity throughout the country. The innovations and partnerships are delivering progress, priority habitats and assets locally and for the UK. The industry is uniquely placed to benefit nature, its legacy is growing, its potential is being realized and now we hope that this is being recognized.’

MPA Restoration Awards

The MPA’s long-standing Restoration Awards have been recognizing exceptional practice for more than 40 years and the 2013 winner of the Cooper-Heyman Cup was Lafarge Tarmac’s Ibsley Quarry, in Hampshire, which has been restored to a mix of open-water conservation lakes, wetland and grassland. It has already won an award from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) for attracting birds, and is particularly significant because of the way it fits into the wider strategies for the area in terms of landscape, ecology, biodiversity, access and restoration.

Hanson UK’s Pateley Bridge Quarry, in North Yorkshire, in partnership with Nidderdale Visual Arts, Golder Associates, Nidderdale Plus and Harrogate Borough Council, was highly commended in the Restoration Awards and also won an MPA Special Award. Hanson UK and Nidderdale Visual Arts commissioned the huge Coldstones Cut sculpture on a 92ha screening mound, which was created by moving more than 2 million m³ of soil. The company also relocated large areas of high-value grassland and created a series of ponds and a marsh area for amphibians.

Lafarge Tarmac’s Threshfield Quarry, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, was also highly commended. Here, the company has planted new trees, created three large ponds, rebuilt dry stone walls and created footpaths, while much of the rest of the regeneration will happen naturally over time. Old lime kilns and other buildings are being retained in an area of the quarry that is being leased to a community group for arts, heritage and business uses. The vision is of a place that will become a tourist venue within the national park.

MPA Biodiversity Awards

For the first time this year, the MPA’s Biodiversity Awards had three categories: Landscape Scale Restoration (in association with Natural England); Innovation; and Individual Contribution.

Winner of the Landscape Scale Restoration category was Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits, in Northamptonshire, entered by Hanson UK. Here, with considerable help from Hanson’s network of operational and restored quarries in the area, it has been possible to create a 16-mile long string of carefully managed wetlands, resulting in the creation of one of Europe’s newest Special Protection Areas for vulnerable bird species.

Runner-up in the Landscape Scale Restoration category was Bayston Hill Quarry, in Shropshire, entered by Lafarge Tarmac and Shropshire County Council. Lafarge Tarmac have created a large new screening bank which also incorporates 20ha of priority habitat on what was previously farmland. After only a short time in existence, the bank is making a major contribution to Shropshire’s biodiversity targets.

Winner of the Innovation category was Ardley North Quarry, in Oxfordshire, entered by Smith & Sons (Bletchington) Ltd in conjunction with their landscape consultants, Environmental Solutions through Partnership (ESP) Ltd. They used Pond Conservation’s ‘Aggregates Pond Creation Toolkit’ to adapt their restoration scheme in 2009.

Runner-up in the Innovation category was Hanson UK’s Whiteball Quarry, in Somerset. One of Whiteball Quarry’s ponds was developed as an ‘ark site’ for native white-clawed crayfish, away from the threat of invasive signal crayfish.

Winner of the Butterfield Trophy for Individual Contribution to Biodiversity was Phil Harding, farms and restoration manager with Brett Group. His individual efforts have helped to deliver a long list of first-class restoration and biodiversity projects, as well as a continuous stream of awards, including the MPA’s prestigious Cooper-Heyman Cup for top-class restoration on no fewer than five occasions during his time with the company.


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