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Developing a haven for wildlife in Wootton

29th March 2016

Leading recycling and renewable energy company Viridor has successful attained the Wildlife Trusts’ Biodiversity Benchmark at the Wootton landfill site, Northamptonshire, symbolising the commitment to restoring and enhancing the natural environment once operations cease at their nationwide portfolio of landfill sites. The Biodiversity Benchmark is a National standard that recognises continual biodiversity improvement to restore and manage existing wildlife, to recreate new habitats once alternative land use has ceased and finally to work towards developing a network of habitats in the local area.

Closing in 2001, during the lifetime of the site, it received over 1,000,000m3 of waste, that’s enough to nearly fill Wembley Stadium! Prior to being used as a landfill site, a sand and gravel extraction operation was located there. Now the site has closed, Viridor will actively manage the site’s aftercare, ensuring that the landfill gas from the decomposing waste is continues to be harnessed using a gas engine to generate vital renewable power.

Now well into its aftercare phase there is an ambitious biodiversity action plan across the 12 hectare site to ensure that the habitat can not only be sustainable but nurture rare fauna and flora for the coming years. Among the target species are bats, hedgehogs and common lizards, the team were rewarded for their hard work last year, when a pair of buzzards chose to make their nest in the tree line on the boundary of the site.

Use of landfill sites to dispose of waste is sharp decline across the UK, as recycling and energy recovery technology provides more sustainable and resource efficient option for the waste materials we produce that cannot be recycled. Viridor is currently accelerating its landfill wind-down and aftercare programme, reducing its operational landfill portfolio from 18 to three strategically located sites nationwide over the next few years.

Ian Morrish, Director of Landfill Energy for Viridor commented: “We are delighted to have secured the Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark on eight of our closed landfills and Wootton becomes the latest in our strategy to increase this number. The site has offered a sustainable and safe disposal option for Northamptonshire’s waste over the previous decades and now we are able to recognise a valuable habitat. Once we finish delivering waste into our sites the focus switches to restoring the site by ensuring the landform is sustainable and the habitats are reinstated. The team have worked tirelessly to ensure that we are able to celebrate our efforts by receiving the Biodiversity Benchmark and we look forward to attaining more over the coming years.”

Peter Dorans, Corporate Relations Manager for The Wildlife Trusts said “I am delighted that we are able to recognise the fantastic work that Viridor has done at Wootton. Wild places and our ability to access them are vital to our wellbeing. This certification goes to show that with positive management, old landfill sites can leave a very positive legacy enabling wildlife and people to thrive. Our assessor was particularly impressed with the partnerships with local groups which had been able to input into Viridor’s plans for the site and the integration of the site into wider efforts for wildlife in the Nene Valley.”

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