The Power to Protect Our Wildlife; PhD Student on Field Study of Alcan Land

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicola Weatherall

ANORTHUMBERLAND power station has teamed up with Newcastle University to examine the ecology of its land and protect the surrounding wildlife.

The new partnership will see conservation enthusiast and PhD student Lucinda Scriven undertake a four-year field study covering more than 2,000 hectares around Rio Tinto Alcan's aluminium smelter and power station in Lynemouth, near Ashington.

Richard Anderson, environmental regulation manager at Lynemouth smelter, said: "Through our partnership with the university's School of Biology, we hope to obtain a more detailed understanding of the biodiversity value of our landholdings to enable us to maximise the benefits to wild plant and animal species.

"Environmental stewardship and sustainability are high on our agenda and we believe we have an opportunity to help plant and wildlife species to flourish, whilst operating a responsible manufacturing process, providing employment and contributing to the region's economy.

"The more we know about the site's value to biodiversity and the impact we have on it, the better informed we are when it comes to decision making and developing an action plan which specifically supports and enhances local habitats."

The study will primarily research species of pollinators which are creatures that assist in plant fertilisation. Most pollinators are insects which feed on nectar like honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies.

Lucinda, from Ryton, Gateshead, said: "At present, there is international concern about declines in the numbers of pollinators. …