Amber Valley Info

A local business with international reach has been making nature-friendly changes to its site near Alfreton in Derbyshire.



Ecological solutions in Somercotes

by Amber Valley Info on Wednesday 28 November 2018

A local business with international reach has been making nature-friendly changes to its site near Alfreton in Derbyshire.

It’s all thanks to the work BASF has been doing with Derbyshire Ecological Services (DES), a consultancy launched by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to help companies and businesses across the county take advantage of their specialist knowledge and services.

BASF products are used by most industries across the world. The company has nine production sites in the UK, but the polyurethane solutions site at Somercotes near Alfreton is now their leading wildlife location.v

When the DES team, from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, first surveyed the BASF grounds in Somercotes, it was a typical industrial space managed for convenience – the grass was cut short, many areas were covered in tarmac, and the trees were poorly managed. Working with BASF’s environmental improvement group, they came up with a plan which would vastly improve the benefits to local wildlife; allowing more of the grass to grow and building raised wildflower beds, installing a pond, nest boxes and bat boxes, and planting a hedgerow of native species and trees that will screen the factory as well as providing a wildlife corridor and food source. It took just two days for great tits to move into one of the nest boxes next to the security office!

The team wanted to make sure any changes would be sustainable into the future, so as well as giving Derbyshire Ecological Services the contract to install the new features, they’re also managing the site for the next five years. It’s already making a massive impact; several important species have now been recorded there, including southern marsh orchids and bee orchids, and the nationally important small heath butterfly. DES are now working to attract the locally scarce dingy skipper – BASF’s Site Manager Nick Maybury has offered a prize to the first member of staff to spot one of these rare, difficult to see butterflies!

Dave Savage, Chesterfield Area Programme Manager said:
“Relatively speaking, the BASF site is only a small part of the sprawling, grey, industrial estate. But if every single company on the estate did something - even a small thing - to protect or encourage wildlife around 800 hectares of land could be improved – that’s 800 times the size of Trafalgar Square!”

Any company inspired by the results at BASF to improve their grounds for wildlife can get in touch with Derbyshire Ecological Services at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust by emailing or calling 01773 881188.

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