It is unmistakable that we are living in a climate and biodiversity emergency. Most people agree, that it is past the time for half-measures. If we are going to tackle the climate emergency, we need to go way beyond current practice for sustainable building design. Sustainable development is not just about ‘green’ building, but about having a positive overall impact on the building users and surrounding areas. It is time for something to be done.
Farmers have been working alongside conservation specialists for years, using more and more farming practices that improve habitats for our native flora and fauna. Nationally, the threat to biodiversity is starting to gain press and media attention, and not a moment too soon.
The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is the first intergovernmental Report of its kind. Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries, the Report paints a worrying picture, finding that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history.
The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture, said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson.
The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide1.
- IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson.
In order to address the issues underlying these findings, it will fall to both landowners and developers to introduce revolutionary practices to improve biodiversity in our cities, towns and farms, not just in conservation areas. Lower Drayton Farm in Staffordshire is a good example of how farmers can develop a biodiverse and profitable farm. They are continually developing new habitats to encourage wild flora and fauna. The latest developments on the farm include a strip tillage crop establishment, which has excellent erosion control and soil moisture conservation. As well as an Anaerobic Digester, which produces biogas from animal manures and CO2 for the purposes of pharmaceutical and beverage industries.
Farm Wildlife have an extensive library of resources for farmers wanting to increase biodiversity on their land. This includes practices like wildflower margins around arable fields, provision of wetland areas, improved grassland management and the use of cover cropping, which can all help to increase biodiversity, pollinators and pest control on farmland.
Closer to home, the development of the new Eddington area of Cambridge shows how biodiversity can be put at the heart of an urban development, with wildflower verges, eco–drains and buildings with the highest sustainability specification available. This sustainable development needs to continue everywhere and accelerate to meet targets set out by government.
Many modern commercial office parks are now including biodiversity enhancing elements such as wild planting and wetland areas to their developments. Our proactive plans for ARC include sustainable water management, as well as extensive regeneration of the hedges and woodlands on the site. This will increase biodiversity and improve the environment for employees on the site. The creation of this high-quality parkland will not only contribute to the community-based space, but also will enhance the natural habitats, and therefore achieve our goal of contributing to tackle the biodiversity emergency.
Through careful design and attention to detail, we believe developments and farming can and should be sustainable, while also helping our area continue to be one of the major economic drivers for the UK.
Read more in our Green Futures series.
Find more information about our proposed ARC project here.