Spring is nearly here and it’s very welcome after the long winter months. Sean Cassidy and colleagues will soon be getting on with the job of monitoring wildlife as required by the Biodiversity Action Plans.
Sean explains: “We get a lot of help from CEMEX staff, the RSPB, several NGOs (e.g. Butterfly Conservation, Wildlife Trusts) and visitors to our sites. We are very grateful for the help and enthusiasm we’ve received over the last year. I have prepared a summary of 2019 which was another good year. This subject is becoming more important for the business because of changes to UK law requiring Biodiversity Net Gain and also because it links to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.”
69 species of birds on the red or amber lists were spotted in our quarries in 2019. Our Twite project at Dove Hole quarry continues to help prevent this species from going extinct in England.
Our sites are also important habitats for insects especially as we don’t use pesticides. Bumblebees were present at all of our sites with BAPs and some rarer solitary bees were also spotted. Some sites found nearly 70 species of insect. Of the UK butterfly species 70% of them were spotted at CEMEX sites during 2019. The rarest find was a Blind Cave Spider in the lesser Garth Cave at Taffs Well quarry – this spider is an IUCN listed species.
Our sites are also home to many mammals. With 14 sites housing badgers, 12 have spotted brown hares and two sites are home to our largest mammals – red deer. Mammal populations in the UK are in decline so it’s important for our BAPs to focus on projects designed to help them such as the Dormouse – found at only one of our sites in 2019.
Legally protected amphibians and reptiles are also present at many of our sites. The best site for spotting reptiles is West Heath in Sussex as they’ve created specialist hibernacula and spotted Adders, Grass Snakes, Slow Worms and the Common Lizard.
Wildflower diversity at some quarries is exceptional. We have three quarries with over 100 species, these are helped by the presence of pollinators.
Fungi are regularly spotted at our sites as they need undisturbed land to thrive. They play a vital role in the ecosystem by breaking down biomass and putting nutrients back into the soil.
Our BAPs help us create many different types of habitats across our sites and stakeholder engagement is also key to our success. For example, in the summer of 2019 a Butterfly Day at one of our ‘mothballed’ quarries in Fife, Scotland was held. We worked with the local community and the Scottish Butterfly Conservation Society to spot butterflies. They managed to spot 128 species in all, including wildflowers and 12 species of butterfly.
Our sites continue to provide a haven for British wildlife and create important spaces in which we can encourage and support some of the rarest plants and animals.