Appropriate and sustainable minerals restoration represents potentially the biggest terrestrial habitat expansion opportunity across large swathes of land in the UK.
Over 64,000 hectares (in England alone) have a planning requirement to restore 2,000+ quarries and associated manufacturing sites.
Building on this potential, the minerals industry, through its restoration work, is uniquely placed to help deliver against national and international biodiversity targets to directly help safeguard the future of all 960 priority species requiring immediate action and protection within UK government conservation plans.
A long-term, strategic minerals planning approach can help deliver biodiversity gain on a landscape scale, helping to connect and buffer sites of ecological importance and re-connect local communities with the natural environmental, with all the knock-on benefits to health and well-being that that entails.
Biodiversity-led restoration is on the increase, helping to create bigger nature areas; buffer existing habitat and create stepping stone access for species to move across the landscape. Since 2010, NAM has provided over 3,600 ha worth of priority habitat restoration advice to minerals restoration stakeholders.
The 2013 multi-partnered State of Nature Report found that 60% of species studied had declined in recent decades. Biodiversity-led minerals restorations can help counter such declines – for example, 15% of endangered bittern nest in UK restored quarries.
Through close collaborative working, biodiversity-led minerals restoration can also provide opportunities for local communities to re-connect with nature, helping to regenerate local economies and provide ecosytem services benefits along the way.
Nature After Minerals,
Charity Number: 207076
Copyright RSPB 2016