Leading UK hard landscaping manufacturing company Marshalls plc has been awarded The Wildlife Trusts' Biodiversity Benchmark for the sustained work it has carried out at its Maltby manufacturing facility. This is the first time in the history of the scheme that an active manufacturing site has ever received the rigorously audited accreditation in the UK.
Since starting its unique Biodiversity Action Plan, Marshalls’ Maltby works has created a new conservation area around its old pump lagoon with bespoke man-made island retreat, spread in excess of 200 tonnes of soil for new planting, placed reeds to form new wetland areas, sited a total of 150 new trees and sown areas with grass and wild flower seed. It is now also actively managing its hedgerows and remaining habitats to encourage new flora, fauna & wildlife. This action has already led to new breeding pairs of birds visiting the site to accompany the yearly return of a flock of Sand Martins who make home around the lagoon area.
The pioneering Biodiversity Benchmark enables organisations across the country to assess the quality of their land management, improve their contribution to the environment and demonstrate their commitment to biodiversity. Similar to other standards for management systems, the Biodiversity Benchmark is composed of a set of detailed requirements which an organisation must be able to meet. Furthermore, it is the first truly recognised endorsement to acknowledge organisations who continually commit to biodiversity improvement.
Throughout all its operations Marshalls is dedicated to achieving the highest standards of environmental performance and constantly aims to conserve natural habitats, and create additional areas of wildlife value wherever possible. It also recognises the need for sympathetic restoration, considering the character of the local environment and the concerns of the community when planning such matters.
The accreditation for Marshalls Maltby works is a real life expression of this value in practise. In fact, the sites commitment to the environment is a key objective at the facility. This is exemplified by having its own bespoke Biodiversity Policy that is included as part of its 14001 Environmental Management System.
To achieve the Biodiversity Benchmark Marshalls’ Maltby works produced an exacting Biodiversity Action Plan to ensure that the site would be properly managed to improve its wildlife value for the long term. With an already keen interest from within, its site employees have been actively involved throughout the process. This has now grown to include the involvement of the local community, arranging site visits for schools and developing partnerships with Doncaster MBC, Rotherham Chamber of Trade and Doncaster Biodiversity Action Partnership.
Ian Manley, Health & Safety Coordinator, Marshalls’ Maltby Works, who has been pivotal in managing the Biodiversity Action Plan said:
“We are delighted to have achieved accreditation to The Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark. Whilst it has been hard work we feel it has been well worth the effort and have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of flora, fauna & wildlife already within our site boundary.
“The team here at Maltby has given 100% to achieve the accreditation. It has given up weekends to help clear the lagoon of debris, create the island, plant the reeds and help in conducting the survey. We would also like to thank all the people outside of Marshalls who have helped us to achieve the award especially Keith Rich & Louise Hill.
“We now plan to continue this excellent work and will be updating people on any further progress.”
From an initial starting point of regularly evaluating the impact of its operations on the environment this diagnostic approach highlighted the best environmental practises to enhance and improve upon its position. A part of this process was a detailed survey to record what types of flora, fauna and wildlife inhabited the space and then to continually measure the future development as the programme progressed.
From the outset the Maltby site was already unique. Within its boundaries it encompasses areas of ancient woodland and grassland, one of which is a post glacial feature that is registered as a site of scientific interest. It also has an active magnesium limestone quarry, which the company is still extracting from and a pre-cast concrete production site.
Amy Underwood, Biodiversity Benchmark Manager, said:
“Marshalls has worked incredibly hard to achieve the Biodiversity Benchmark – a commitment that should be applauded. I hope that the site in Maltby is the first of many manufacturing sites to take the challenge of seeking Biodiversity Benchmark.”
Following the success of the project Marshalls is now looking forward to working with The Wildlife Trusts partnership, including Yorkshire, to improve biodiversity at all its sites.