Environment and nature 2022
“It has been a very rewarding partnership working with Tarmac for more than a quarter of a century developing Holborough Marshes as a diverse place for nature and for the local community to enjoy. It is refreshing to work with a landowner who recognises the importance of supporting the management of their most biodiverse land.”
Stephen Weeks, area manager for Kent Wildlife Trust
Kent Wildlife Trust celebrated over a quarter of a century managing Holborough Marshes nature reserve, a 35-acre nature reserve near Snodland, Kent, which is owned by Tarmac.
Holborough Marshes is on the flood plain of the river Medway and has been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its diverse range of wildlife. Tarmac gave the management of the reserve to Kent Wildlife Trust in 1996, subsequently transforming the post-industrial land into a space for nature to thrive.
Substantial cutting back of vegetation has also allowed better accessibility and diversity of flora, as well as natural grazing by ponies and four of the trust’s longhorn cows over summer. In addition, priority safety works are regularly undertaken, including regular litter picks and the removal or relocation of hazardous trees affected by bad weather and/or ash dieback.
Orchids including common spotted, pyramidal, early marsh and southern marsh orchids have been recorded at the reserve, as well as evidence of the presence of the nationally-endangered water vole. The diverse range of wetland habitats at the reserve support a range of birds, including warblers, wildfowl, swallows and nightingales.
In late 2021 in Yorkshire, Tarmac donated 30 tonnes of gravel to the Wild Trout Trust charity, to help rewild local rivers and streams, such as the Haw Beck and Dauber Gill, in a bid to increase biodiversity. One year on, a particular stream, the Haw Beck – that runs alongside Tarmac’s Skipton Quarry – is seeing positive results, with trout numbers rising by 36% since last year.
Professor Jonathan Grey, of Lancaster University, and research and conservation officer for the Wild Trout Trust charity, surveyed the rivers and streams in 2022, following on from the initial use of the gravel. Professor Grey started the TROUT (Tackling Resilience on Underperforming Tributaries) project in 2020, with support from the Biodiversity Enhancement Programme of Yorkshire Water.
He said: “Since the project began in 2020, the Haw Beck has seen an overall 928 per cent boost in trout numbers. Out of them all, it is the highest performing one, so Tarmac should be proud. Within the rivers and streams, the gravel has been used to create habitats for the trout, as they use these areas to make redds (nests).”