Managing Biodiversity on Greenabella Marsh

Article excerpt

Huntsman Pigments is one of the world's leading manufacturers of titanium dioxide pigments.

These white pigments are widely used to give brilliant whitness to paint, plastics and paper. Huntsman Pigments' Greatham Works is at the northern edge of Seal Sands, close to Hartlepool Power Station. Immediately to the west of the site, on land owned by the company, lies Greenabella Marsh, one of the most important wildlife habitats in the Tees Valley.

Huntsman Pigments has a long-standing commitment to support the wildlife which flourishes on Greenabella Marsh. Greatham Works has a strong environment, health and safety culture and has run many environmental initiatives on and around Greenabella Marsh over the last 20 years. In addition to opening up the area to the local communuity, the aims and initiatives are to promote healthy habitats for birds and other species of wildlife and to raise awareness about the environment.

These initiatives include: - Providing hides for viewing birds and seals - Expansion and deepening of ponds - Creation of specific habitats e.g. for water voles - Building pathways and observation points and hosting visits by community groups, clubs and schools - Species surveys e.g. seal counts, moth and water vole surveys - Sponsored bird watches - Special environmental impact reduction plan during construction of new plant equipment - Participation in the British Trust for Ornithology's Business Bird Challenge - An on-line biodiversity database to capture information on the species found near to the site.

One problem with leaving marshes like Greenabella Marsh entirely to nature is that certain species, such as reeds and coarse grass, can gradually take over the site. So it is important that some management is carried out to encourage the rarer species which might otherwise be overwhelmed.

Employees at Greatham Works have been involved with numerous projects to maintain and enhance the variety of habitats on the marsh, such as creating new ponds. This has encouraged a wide range of flora and fauna to flourish. Since 2003, this has been managed through the site's Industrial Biodiversity Action Plan - one of the first of its kind in the UK.

Partners in Biodiversity The past 10 years has seen a much more co-ordinated approach to encouraging biodiversity across Teesside as a whole.

Tees Valley Wildlife Trust has led this approach creating a forum for discussion, guidance and advice for industry, the public sector and NGOs alike. A Tees Valley Biodiversity Action Plan has been developed which targets the creation and maintenance of habitats for priority species in the area.

Huntsman is actively involved in this forum and has developed links to various expert groups including the Industry Nature Conservation Association (INCA), Tees Valley Wildlife Trust Natural England, Teesmouth Bird Club and the Hartlepool Borough Council ecologists.

These groups provide a wide range of expertise on ecology, habitat improvements, implementing environmental projects, and advice on external funding.

Recent projects to enhance the biodiversity on the marsh have been carried out in partnership with these groups. …