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Insights and Stories

Enhancing Biodiversity across Quality Grassland Habitats

July 01, 2022

With sustainability as our business, most of Sembcorp’s environmental initiatives are focused on contributing towards a greener future. Through environmental conservation and ecological restoration, we hope to potentially increase biodiversity, create self-sustainable environments and slow down the impact of climate change.

Rewilding is a hot topic in the conservation world, with projects focusing on restoring and reclaiming habitats. However, it need not only apply to large landscape areas and can be relevant to any sites with the aim to reverse the decline in biodiversity.

Sustainable use of non-operational land

As part of the maintenance of amenity grassland across Sembcorp Energy UK’s operations at Wilton International, our facilities management team was required to mow a combined area of 29 hectares or 77 acres 16 times per year. This was very resource-intensive and resulted in closely mown grassland with no value to wildlife.

Our employees recognised the opportunity to utilise the land productively by creating an interconnected network of quality grassland habitats. This connectivity allows movement of populations between suitable habitat areas, compared to existing in isolated pockets that render wildlife more vulnerable to local extinction.

“We altered the cutting regime in selected areas of grasslands to only 3 times per year at specific times to avoid impact to wildlife. By reintroducing plant and animal species, our rewilding initiative helps struggling ecosystems self-regulate and return to their natural processes,” Jennifer Thomas, Environmental Technical Manager of Sembcorp Energy UK shared. The site grounds maintenance team worked closely with the Industry Nature Conservation Association (INCA) who provided advice and survey expertise.

Transforming land into flower-rich areas

A wildflower meadow at our Wilton International site
A wildflower meadow at our Wilton International site

By scarifying the surface and seeding with wildflowers of local provenance, these new meadows have been colonised with enhanced habitat, which will help to reverse the decline in populations of beneficial pollinating insects such as bees, butterflies, hoverflies and moths. The wildflower seed mix contains over 20 different kinds of flowers in a variety of colours that will grow to heights between 10cm to 180cm.

“Wildflower meadows usually take 2 to 3 seasons to become fully established. 20 acres could support 80 hives of bees!” added Jennifer.

Close-up of our wildflowers