Land Management and Biodiversity
Biodiversity in the UK continues to decline dramatically due to increasing intensification of agriculture, urbanisation and the impact of chemicals and other pollutants in the environment. Since the 1930s lowland wildflower meadows have declined by 97% and hedges, home to birds and shelter for other types of wildlife, have been ploughed away to create huge fields supporting monoculture crops. Recent research has shown that where land management is carried out with a focus on wildlife, an increase in biodiversity can be seen across a range of plant and animal species. Reflecting our origins and on-going link with the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT), one of the core objectives of WWCE is: Advancing, promoting and furthering the conservation, maintenance and long term protection of wildlife and its habitats.
We manage our two main solar sites - Chelworth and Braydon Manor - according to landscape and ecological plans agreed as part of our planning permissions. Our objective is to manage the land at both sites in order to maximise biodiversity of plant and animal life in a way that is consistent with the operational requirements of the solar arrays. At our Braydon Manor site we are working to increase the biodiversity of the grassland between and around panels through the application of ‘green hay’ containing wildflower seeds and we will be moniotirng the long-term impact. At the current time we are focussing our biodiversity activities on our Chelworth site. The site is owned and managed for WCCE by WWT. The site is directly adjacent to the WWT Blakehill Farm Nature Reserve where over 140 flowering plant species have been recorded. At over 250ha in size this is the largest area of lowland neutral meadow restoration in the country and at WWCE we are working to make sure that our management of Chelworth is consistent with extending wildlife habitats from the reserve next door.
The main aspects of our land management approach at Chelworth include:
Links to Wiltshire Wildlife Community Energy Presentations on Biodiversity
Presentation to Westmill Solar
Presentation to WWCE 2018 AGM: