OBJECTIVE – to incorporate the low nutrient habitats associated with brownfield sites within planned, viable urban ecological networks that provide ecosystem service benefits to local communities
Key strands of activity for development with EU partners include:
· researching the characteristics of the ecological networks associated with key species and habitats for brownfield sites – including the migration and behaviour patterns of rare invertebrates to show how key species respond to habitat change. What are the minimum habitat requirements for maintaining viable populations and what does the concept of ‘stepping stones’ mean in practice for key brownfield species?
· demonstrating innovative approaches to the management of brownfield sites and creation of open mosaic habitat with options for mitigating habitat that is lost due to redevelopment - scope to use different types of substrate, including secondary waste aggregates, as habitat for rare flora and fauna
· developing integrated systems for habitat monitoring and evaluation, including sites where preliminary surveys have already been undertaken so that we can benefit from lessons learned
· developing guidance for future planning, design and land management decisions in regeneration areas – toolkit approach. Information on habitat and priority species management alongside requirements for mitigation and compensation (through biodiversity offsetting)
· changing attitudes to the appearance of informal open spaces and encourage understanding and appreciation of the untidy, ephemeral landscape aesthetic associated with this form of low nutrient habitat
· delivering case studies – identify sites and viable urban ecological networks for conserving (and possibly creating) Open Mosaic Habitat, taking account of the critical habitat requirements to sustain viable populations. Set up systems for monitoring and evaluation
Thames Gateway case study
The Thames Gateway, to the east of London, has extensive post- industrial landscapes with Open Mosaic Habitat and it is also one of the UK’s prime regeneration areas where there are intense pressures for large scale development. It is an excellent case study location.
Our UK partnership is led by Essex County Council (local authority to the east of London and to the north of the River Thames) with Natural England, the University of East London and Buglife. We are keen to develop an Interreg VB NSR project and we are looking for partners to work with us on this venture. The UK team is particularly interested in developing innovative approaches to the management of brownfield sites and creation of open mosaic habitat. The Thames Gateway is known to have a concentration of Open Mosaic Habitat, for instance on post- industrial land, landfill sites and sea walls, and Essex County Council would like to explore the relationship with the private sector landfill operators working in the area because they are importing large volumes of material as a result of construction activities in London. Essex County Council is the Minerals and Waste Planning Authority for Essex and so has good links to minerals and waste operators in the area. This project could draw up a way of working that is beneficial to biodiversity, the planning authority and developers.
Partners Found Already
Project is being put forward by a partnership of Essex County Council, Natural England, University of East London and Buglife. Other potential project partners are:
- Scottish Natural Heritage