UK celebrates 1000th hectares of restored land

UK celebrates 1000th hectares of restored land

23 October 2017
  • Special partnership between conservation charity RSPB and building materials supplier, CEMEX UK results in the creation of 1000 hectares of remarkable priority habitats.
  • The demanding 1000 hectares target has been delivered three years ahead of schedule, as part of the partnership’s Biodiversity Strategy. 
  • 46 threatened species of birds have been helped from the brink of extinction by creation of species specific habitat.  

1000 hectares of land in most need of conservation has been created thanks to the special partnership between the UK’s largest conservation charity, the RSPB and building materials supplier, CEMEX UK. 

1000 hectares, which would covers an area twice as big as the 2012 Olympic Park in London, have been restored to provide a much needed diverse range of habitats including nearly 600 hectares of diverse grasslands, over 177 hectares of woodland, 100 hectares of heathland and 190 hectares of ponds and open water.  

These habitats provide homes for 46 threatened of birds such as Twites, House Sparrows, Swifts and Turtle Doves, plus many species of wildlife - Brown hares, Water Voles, European Eel, Small Blue Butterfly and an extensive range of plant life including rarer species such as Bluebells. 

In 2010 the partnership developed a Biodiversity Strategy with the aim of creating outstanding habitats on CEMEX land. The demanding target of 1000 hectares was set for the year 2020, but has just been reached with the 1000th hectare created at Hopwas Quarry, near Tamworth in the West Midlands.  

Andy Spencer, Director of Sustainability, CEMEX UK comments: “The partnership with the RSPB has enabled us to enhance the natural environment surrounding our operations. While supplying our customers with concrete, cement, sand and stone we also aim to balance the needs of operations with the protection and enhancement of the natural world. The RSPB has been pivotal in helping us achieve this aim.  

“The 1000th hectare that has just been created is a significant and outstanding milestone and our partnership to date has helped create some amazing places for communities and nature,” he concludes. 

This is endorsed by Mike Clarke, Chief Executive RSPB “Our nature is in trouble and we need to be creating habitats to reverse the population declines we have seen in many species, some of which are in danger of disappearing entirely.

“Working in partnership with CEMEX we have seen how land can be transformed from being an operational site or exhausted quarry into a vibrant home for wildlife. These new much needed habitats are attracting and becoming home to wildlife including threatened species. They are also offering fantastic amenities for local communities and nature lovers.  

“The successes we are seeing are great examples of how conservationists and businesses can come together to create something special for wildlife and future generations to enjoy.” 

The 1000th hectare was created at Hopwas quarry, an exhausted sand and gravel quarry. Heather cuttings containing seeds and other flora from an adjoining Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) site has been spread over part of the site. This will encourage and help create heathland, typical of the surrounding area. 

The first hectare to benefit from the partnership in 2010 was Eversley Quarry in Hampshire where, over the years, a mosaic of different habitats has been created alongside community sports facilities. The latest project includes the creation of reed beds to encourage Bitterns, which currently have a small population of around 80 breeding pairs in the UK. 

Other quarry sites that have made a significant contribution to nature include Southam in Warwickshire with a dedicated area of sparse wasteland for the Small Blue Butterfly, Dove Holes in Derbyshire where a meadow has been planted with a flower rich mix including sorrel for the Twite bird and Cambusmore in Scotland, with its rich grasslands and open waters, the perfect environment for wildfowl and birds of prey. 



Notes to editors: 

For further CEMEX information contact Elizabeth Young; email: t: 01932 583214  

For further RSPB information contact Gareth Brede, RSPB senior media officer: 01767 693221 /

  • “The story of the 1000 hectares” video can be found on YouTube 
  • More news stories can be found on Twitter @CEMEX_UK and on our website
  • Helping to build a Great Britain – CEMEX’s vision is to help build a greater Britain by providing solutions to construction problems through our innovative building materials, our expertise, our understanding of the construction issues and our people. We aim to create the best service and the best solutions for a better future.  
  • About CEMEX: CEMEX is a global manufacturer of building materials and the biggest Mexican investor in the UK, with 3,000 people employed across 450 sites nationwide. In this country, we are a leading provider of aggregates, cement, ready-mixed concrete and rail sleepers with annual sales of around £1 billion. 
  • The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
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