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New visitor facilities open at Hanson-RSPB wetland project

Published by , Deputy Editor
World Cement,

New visitor facilities are being opened at RSPB Ouse Fen nature reserve in Cambridgeshire to allow the public to visit the latest restored areas of the wetland.

With the RSPB Hanson is creating the UK’s biggest reedbed – an extremely rare habitat – and the opening of a new entrance way and two new trails provides new routes to the heart of the nature reserve. At the new entrance is a short access-for-all path to a viewpoint and picnic area, with onward routes to new trails and connections to long-distance public rights of way.

Earlier this year, Hanson transferred a further 80 ha. of restored land from its Needingworth quarry to the nature reserve, which now covers 298 ha. By the time the project is complete in 2030, this is expected to more than double.

Unit manager, Hilton Law, said: “We’re proud to be a part of this important project with the RSPB to create thriving new habitat for wildlife. It’s great to see the new entrance opening to allow visitors to enjoy the site as much as we have enjoyed working with the RSPB to create it.”

Jonathan Taylor, RSPB senior project manager, said: “Our partnership project with Hanson is the largest planned nature conservation restoration scheme of its kind in Europe. It shows how collaborative working between industry and the conservation sector can deliver bigger and better habitat restoration.”

Over the lifetime of the project, Hanson will extract over 28 million tonnes of sand and gravel at Needingworth quarry. As quarrying is finished, Hanson will restore the land to wildlife-rich wetland habitat and then hand it over to the RSPB to be managed for and enjoyed by wildlife and people alike.

RSPB Ouse Fen is already home to a nationally important population of bitterns, a rare heron family species, as well as other iconic wetland wildlife including marsh harriers, bearded tits, otters and water voles.

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