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Gatwick wins Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark Award

Posted: 18 December 2014 | Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport has been awarded The Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark Award for the first time…

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Gatwick Airport has been awarded The Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark Award for the first time. The Biodiversity Benchmark is a nationally recognised standard for commitment to biodiversity and responsible land management.

Gatwick achieved the award for its enhancement of the biodiversity across 125 acres of land on two non-operational sites including the River Mole and the ancient Horleyland Wood.

These areas contain a range of meadows, scrub, ponds, hedgerows and woodland and the biodiversity has been improved through a range of measures, including wildlife surveying and habitat enhancement. 

In addition, Gatwick Airport has supported the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership with the introduction of an Assistant People and Wildlife Officer, overseeing habitat management and coordinating volunteers who help maintain and improve the wildlife around the airport.

According to The Wildlife Trust, the assessment and certification of Biodiversity Benchmark is ‘unashamedly challenging and rigorous’.

On achieving the award, Hannah Deacon, Gatwick’s Environment Leader, said:

“We are proud to achieve this award, which is something Gatwick Airport, our grounds maintenance contractor JSA and Gatwick Greenspace Partnership have been working towards over the last few years.

“Gatwick has some amazing woodlands, grasslands and riverside habitats which are home to Kingfishers, Grass Snakes, Harvest Mice and the very rare Long-horned Bee. We have been looking after our wildlife very carefully, but work does not stop just because we have achieved the award.”

Gatwick’s plans for a second runway will build on this award-winning work by diverting the River Mole and Crawters Brook into an open channel replacing more than 500 metres of culvert.

These diversions have been designed to enhance aquatic ecology through encouraging natural flow.  The new water course will be in a natural park and the river corridors will provide excellent wildlife habitat. This will serve to improve biodiversity in the area.

Today’s news comes just weeks after Gatwick published an environmental report stating that the airport had never breached UK and EU air quality targets, and committed to maintaining this 100% air quality record if it built a second runway.

The ‘Decade of Change’ report tracks progress on all of Gatwick’s sustainability targets and also shows that Gatwick has reduced carbon emissions by 20940 tonnes – the equivalent of more than 37 fully-laden Airbus A380s – since the Decade of Change began in 2010. The airport aims to be carbon-neutral by 2040.

The reduction has been achieved by reducing electricity use, including by being the first airport in the world to replace the airport’s runway and taxiway lights with LEDs – cutting energy use on the airfield by 50%. Gatwick also employs single engine taxiing to reduce fuel burn and emissions.

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