Nature-friendly biodiversity strategy launched in partnership with The Wildlife Trust
We’re pleased to announce the launch of our ‘Nature for People’ biodiversity strategy, established as part of our long-standing partnership with charity The Wildlife Trusts.
The strategy sees us commit to objectives under three key themes - Nature Gains, Rewilding Lives and Flourishing Legacy, and comes at a time when the links between nature and individual well-being are becoming increasingly widely recognised, with new research from the Mental Health Foundation showing that nearly half of UK adults surveyed who felt stress due to COVID-19 said that being able to visit green spaces helped them cope.
Nicola Johansen, our Group sustainability manager, comments: “More and more evidence is emerging of the benefits of nature to well-being, particularly in light of the current global pandemic. Throughout lockdown, people have taken solace in the natural environment and we’ve seen first-hand how the pandemic inspired residents across our communities to better connect with nature in their local neighbourhoods and the positive impact it has had on their wellbeing.”
Nature Gains: Connectivity for wildlife
Prior to purchasing land we will assess the wider potential impacts on high-quality habitats in our decision making, and will, in turn, design developments to contribute to existing or potential nature recovery networks. This ‘landscape-led’ design approach means that we will retain existing natural features such as hedgerows, streams and trees and design the new community around them. The aim is to make the most of these natural features to create a great place to live as well as maintaining existing wildlife routes through the development, whilst also creating new routes. It is often the case that wildlife such as foxes, hedgehogs, dormice, barn owls and bats will have established routes through a development. The new approach will ensure these routes are maintained and enhanced, and will ensure that routes traditionally designed for people, such as footpaths, cycle paths and roadside verges, are also designed with wildlife in mind.
Rewilding Lives: Encouraging community participation
The involvement of the community and other organisations, including management companies, in caring for and effectively managing and using natural areas is essential in delivering thriving spaces that are cherished. We will now specify within each of the respective developments’ Community and Nature management plans, how our management companies will support community use and requirements for organising community activities and volunteering programmes. Each community will have opportunities to find out about the wildlife and plants that live alongside them. This will be achieved in a variety of ways, from art, home-owner welcome packs and brochures and videos, through to wildlife and cultural trails, community events and volunteering.
We recognise the need for people within developments to come together and share experiences, and so we’ll also be providing edible planting and opportunities for community food growing. Eating local produce also promotes a healthy diet, and food for people can also provide fare for wildlife. At our Ebbsfleet Green development in Kent, which is part of the Edible Ebbsfleet initiative, edible produce has been very popular with residents. Spearheaded by Ebbsfleet Garden City Healthy New Towns, Edible Ebbsfleet provides people of all ages with free access to fruit and vegetables and aims to encourage people to think about where their food comes from.
Flourishing Legacy: Effective management
With many habitats taking two or more years to reach their target condition, management plans need to be considered carefully to ensure appropriately resourced and skilled contractors are in place to achieve the net gain result. Therefore, we have pledged to work only with management companies who have a proven track record for delivering positive outcomes for nature and people and share our ambition to deliver a vibrant and natural legacy.
As part of this commitment, we will be considering management implications earlier in the design process of each of our new communities and working collaboratively with management companies to design plans that prioritise biodiversity. Management plans are often considered by those implementing them on the ground as overly technical and so, going forward, our plans will include clear and straight-forward information for those carrying out the work on the development. In addition, upon purchasing a new home, our customers will also receive their own version of the plan, which will overlay the management plan onto a map of their community. This will help residents to fully understand which wildlife habitats are on site and how our management companies will be maintaining the space and coordinating community activities.
Nicola Johansen adds: “Our biodiversity strategy, and continued partnership with The Wildlife Trusts, demonstrates how committed Redrow is to creating nature-rich and active communities, and ensuring it plays a role within every function of our business. The next stage of our partnership with The Wildlife Trusts is to develop a rigorous framework that will measure the wellbeing of our residents and the improvements in nature following implementation of our new commitments. With the expertise of The Wildlife Trusts providing us with invaluable, external scrutiny and robustness, we are excited to see how our new commitments improve biodiversity on site and the wellbeing of our residents.”
Peter Dorans, corporate relationship manager, The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy of wildlife in their daily lives. Daily connection to nature has a profound effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, and so The Wildlife Trusts are committed to bringing the natural world closer to where we live, work and play.
“Redrow’s strategy and our partnership will enable houses to be built in a way that makes a positive contribution to nature’s recovery and brings people closer to wildlife. It will inspire new residents and communities to access and care about the nature on their doorstep and it will make sure that natural places are looked after forever.
“It is vital that we all, including the Government, look to solutions that help address the loss of nature and climate change, not make it worse. This strategy places Redrow at the vanguard of the housing sector’s response to these twin crises. We hope that together, we can inspire others in the industry to build in a way that is great for people and wildlife.”
Read more about our biodiversity strategy here.