Hillington’s Biodiversity Benchmark ‘a first’
Hillington Park, Scotland’s largest business location, has become the first such site in Britain to be awarded a Biodiversity Benchmark by the Wildlife Trusts. The Benchmark is designed to ‘Manage, Measure and Improve Environmental Performance’ in a wide variety of commercially-developed land situations.
MEPC, the majority landlord at the historic 75-year-old estate on the Glasgow and Renfrewshire boundary, has in recent years pursued a policy of continuous environmental improvements, including initiatives that recognised the potential for encouraging local wildlife to thrive at Hillington Park.
Confirming the award, Peter Dorans, Corporate Relations Manager for the Wildlife Trusts, offered his warmest congratulations: “The Benchmark is a process which enables any organisation which owns or manages land to assess its impact on the natural world, improve its contribution to the environment and demonstrate its commitment to biodiversity. It is designed to ensure that sites are managed to the highest standard.
“Only a handful of organisations have achieved the standard of site management which meets the requirements of Biodiversity Benchmark,” said Mr Dorans. “To be the first to achieve it in a sector where there may be more limited opportunities for biodiversity enhancement on such sites further enhances your success. I have informed the chief executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust of the award.”
Dotted around the Hillington Park estate are numerous small ‘green’ sites which have been deliberately used to support various kinds of wildlife activity. Protective nesting boxes for small birds, precious wild orchids conserved, a wetland area allowed to remain, a moth recording project, uncut grassland for over wintering insects and seedpod development for birds are among the initiatives which helped win the award.
MEPC has also enabled local schoolchildren to create a ‘new forest’, with some 30 saplings provided by the Woodland Trust. And, this summer, a new wildflower meadow is being established, to encourage bees and other insects. More such projects are likely to follow.
Grant Edmondson, managing director of MEPC Hillington Park, received the news on his return from holiday. “This is a tremendous endorsement of the work which has been led by our marketing and customer manager Alison Clark.
“I am truly delighted, as no other business park in Britain has previously won such an accolade – although sundry quarries, a nuclear power station, parts of Heathrow Airport and a Center Parcs site have been recognised. It’s good to be in their company.”
Congratulations have also been received from Chris Palmer, the ecologist who has supported MEPC’s efforts at Hillington Park: “This is fantastic! Great news. To be the first site of this kind anywhere in the UK to get the award deserves a genuine reaction of ‘Wow’.
“I was on site yesterday. Three of the tit boxes are now occupied by blue tits. And I saw a whitethroat on the south side of Mossland Road – another bird for the Hillington list!”
MEPC have employed Barrie Scholefield as its landscape consultant and Land Engineering were the landscape gardeners.