What it's about
The BIG Biodiversity Challenge is an innovative, but simple, initiative that challenges companies to add just one biodiversity enhancement, either temporary or permanent, on each of their sites, depots or offices. The initiative has given our employees the opportunity to show to a wider audience that we care about the environment. Since the launch of the Challenge in 2014 Kier have completed 90 biodiversity enhancements. The best biodiversity enhancements are recognised at the annual BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards.
Kier Local Highways has created a wild garden area within the Aspen Way Highways Depot which incorporated beehives built by facilities management to improve pollination of wild flowers and provide a home for bees. Insect hotels were made from wood, pallets and plastic pipe sections providing two new insect habitats, helping to populate and enhance the new biodiversity area. The voluntary monitoring of the area by employees has increased the awareness and importance of biodiversity conservation.
Maintenance and management
Kier Highways won this award for going above and beyond business practice at a site on the A30 in Devon. Blackhall Farm is part of the Highways England operational soft estate next to the A30. It is 1.5 hectares in size, of which 50% is grassland and 50% is woodland. Undertaking a 'Habitat Connectivity Study' highlighted the importance of Blackhall Farm on a landscape scale. Sticklepath and Okehampton Conservation (StOC) are a group of volunteers who came on site to help our in-house ecologists and arborists manage and maintain the site. StOC have helped lay new hedges, coppice woodland and create a new wetland, as a result turning the grassland from a species poor area to species rich.
BIG Biodiversity Champion, Victoria Pollard
Victoria Pollard, environmental manager, was voted 2017 BIG Biodiversity Champion by her industry peers for her work on the Mersey Gateway Project, showing enthusiasm and commitment to the environment and continually promoting biodiversity to engage employees and members of the public in various innovative ways.