On 3 September, the Conference for Nature took place in Westminster, London. Supported by conservation groups such as the RSPB, National Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and Butterfly Conservation, the conference focused on halting wildlife declines. Speakers included Sir David Attenborough and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as well as representatives from the minerals industry. Andy Spencer, Sustainability Director for Cemex UK, discussed the company’s efforts to protect wildlife at its sites, while Nigel Jackson, Chief Executive of the Mineral Products Association (MPA), spoke about the biodiversity and restoration work carried out by MPA members.
“MPA totally supports the aim of protecting and enhancing the state of nature and biodiversity delivery across the UK and EU and we will play our part where we can. Our industry is uniquely placed to make a difference, more than any other. Our industry operators are practitioners working in the environment, with the environment, and mainly for the environment,” said Jackson.
“Supporting biodiversity is a key aim for us: it is a key part of our license to operate. It also makes good business sense to restore sites to high quality and help deliver national and local environmental priorities and biodiversity targets. We can demonstrate the overall gains in environmental quality as result of our operations, and community support of, and use of, our sites,” he added.
“MPA launched its MPA Biodiversity strategy in 2011, which shows our commitment to extend knowledge, share best practice, develop partnerships, celebrate successes, understand contributions, increase influence and promote education. Our two-yearly Restoration & Biodiversity Awards help recognise and showcase best practice by our members and harden commitment. Last year we launched our National Nature Park – a nationwide network of quarries that have been restored for wildlife and which are accessible to the public. The online resource includes 50 sites around the country, with a range of facilities including nature trails, viewing hides and visitor centres. It is our aim to double the number of quarries in the network to 100 over the next year or so. Furthermore, the RSPB and Nature after Minerals (NAM) have helped us realise that we can deliver nine priority habitats.”
“And what of the actual delivery on the ground, what about those priority habitats that NAM identified? At least 5000 hectares of priority habitat has been created to date on restored sites; and at least 5000 hectares of priority habitat is committed to (but not yet delivered) in restoration plans – and growing all the time. We have developed other important partnerships with The Wildlife Trusts, Natural England, The Freshwater Habitats Trust, The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Bat Conservation Trust. This is good because it encourages dialogue, shares thinking, enriches practice, accelerates progress and helps tell our story – but it is important not to be complacent. So where next?” asked Jackson.
“We will build and validate the database, we will evaluate the asset better, we will capitalise on offsetting and ecosystem services, we will write the story better, we will tell the story better. Our aim is to see the industry shake off historic and false perceptions and become recognised as a very significant national biodiversity asset."
Adapted from press release by Louise Fordham
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/04092014/nigel-jackson-mpa-speaks-at-conference-for-nature-419/