Ecological enhancement at The Met Office site
Photo caption: Reptile Hibernaculum behind pond
Truro-based Cornwall Environmental Consultants (CEC) are helping with a scheme to improve biodiversity and habitats on the Met Office Weather Station site in Kehelland, Camborne. CEC’s ecologists and landscape architects were brought in to design and deliver improvements to enhance the habitat value of the site and the benefits it provides to wildlife. Graham Sansom, CEC’s Landscape Architect, developed the design, incorporating ecological recommendations from a recent habitat survey. The scheme will provide habitat for bats, birds, bees, butterflies, amphibians and insects. Works on site were carried out in April by R.H. Olds Landscape Contractors, who have been responsible for maintaining the site for many years.
The improvements include a wildlife pond and hibernaculum (a hibernation and basking site for reptiles and amphibians), planting new native-species hedgerows, installing a range of bird and bat boxes, creating raised beds planted with flowers beneficial to wildlife and building compost bins. Areas of grassland will be managed as a hay meadow, which in time will encourage the growth of wildflowers.
The works have improved the habitat for the wildlife currently using the site and should also attract new species to use the site to nest, forage, and shelter. It is hoped that the improvements will benefit common pipistrelle bat, swallows, common toad, common frog, palmate newt, slow worms, common lizard and grass snake.
CEC will be keeping an eye on the site to ensure it receives appropriate maintenance, both for the new features and to further enhance existing habitats. An interpretation board will shortly be installed, providing information on the improvements to staff and visitors. CEC ecologists will also be providing training to Met Office staff on site.
A spokesperson for The Met Office said: “At the Met Office, we understand the importance of biodiversity within the environment. Working in cooperation with other organisations, such as the Wildlife Trusts, we seek to conserve and enhance biodiversity performance through responsible stewardship of our landholdings.”
CEC Ltd is the consultancy of Cornwall Wildlife Trust. It is an environmental consultancy based in Allet, near Truro, which offers ecological, landscape architecture and design services, including full masterplanning. If you are interested in using CEC’s services, please call 01872 245510 to discuss, or alternatively visit www.cecenvironment.co.uk for more details.