As part of project W2R, Veolia Environmental Services 25 year contract for Staffordshire County Council to construct and operate an Energy Recovery Facility, a Site of Biological Importance at Four Ashes will be maintained for the period of the contract.
Sites of Biological Importance are identified by the county council. Before construction began at Four Ashes, the site which is just to the south of the new facility was firstly enhanced to enable it to act as a receptor site for the Great Crested Newt. The enhancement work has also included the addition of two newt ponds and mounds for newt hibernation.
Once all this work had been completed the next stage of work on the land was to stock proof the site because we will have cattle grazing the land instead of maintaining the land by mechanical means.
Whilst construction has been taking place we have being looking for a partner to work with who could supply us cattle for the land. Over the last twelve months we have being having discussions with South Staffordshire College who are based up the road from the site and last Friday we took delivery of the cattle. They were delivered to site by Farmer John Giles from the college who has being working with Sarah Caterer – Project Engineer – from Veolia on this project. The cattle will remain on site for the next few weeks until they have had a good munch!
Once the vegetation is under control they will be taken back to the farm at the college and then bought back to site a couple of times of year to keep the vegetation under control and by doing this we will attract wildlife.
When construction is complete this land will be part of the visitor experience for the site. We will be working with the college on other projects such as land management and also environmental surveys.