Cement and aggregates supplier CEMEX UK has won the Natural England Biodiversity Award for its restoration work at Rugeley quarry in Staffordshire.
A total of 80 hectares of high quality wildlife habitat has been created and restored to lowland dry heathland, complementing the adjoining Cannock Chase Special Area for Conservation. The site was described by the judges as “stunning”.
The restored area of the Staffordshire quarry provides habitat for priority species such as nightjar, woodlark, tree pipit, adder and hybrid bilberry and by 2032, CEMEX estimates that it will have created over 200 hectares of the nationally prioritised heathland habitat at Rugeley for wildlife to live, breed and thrive.
The judges were impressed by the fact that CEMEX had voluntarily decided not to quarry sand and gravel to the permitted depth to ensure that the new heathland remained dry.
The company has also worked closely with the local RSPB manager, James Baker and volunteers from the Friends of Cannock Chase who joined working parties to clear scrub from an area known as Bevin’s Birches to create an open mosaic habitat with lichen heath characteristics.
The award was presented by Natural England Chief Executive Helen Phillips at the Mineral Products Association’s biodiversity event “Building on our legacy …. Realising our potential” at the Royal Society in London.
She said: “There are countless inspiring examples of what happens when restoration and conservation are planned into the early stages of mineral extraction and the Mineral Products Association Awards are a great way of highlighting the efforts that have been made.
“I am delighted to be able to recognise the commitment, knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife shown by the high standard of entries and the dedication shown by so many of MPA’s members and in this instance by CEMEX UK.”