Biodiversity

Biodiversity

Alongside our everyday business activities there also exists a less obtrusive world that shares our surroundings – a world of plants, birds, mammals, invertebrates, fungi and microorganisms.

As land managers, biodiversity conservation is an important part of our environmental management at all AG sites by means of careful planning, operating and restoration.

Biodiversity is actually an important consequence of our quarrying operations as we provide wildlife havens in areas where biodiversity is otherwise limited by other forms of land-use such as intensive farming.

Within our limestone quarries and sand pit we have increased habitat diversity. For example: species-rich grasslands for insects and butterflies; cliff exposures for breeding Ravens and Peregrine Falcons; nesting banks for Sand Martins and wetlands areas for amphibians and Dragonflies.

AG demonstrate their commitment to protecting and enhancing biodiversity by contributing to the Quarry Products Association NI Biodiversity and Geodiversity Action Plan for the Aggregates Industry; partnering in a number of environmental projects ensuring that nationally and locally important species and habitats are conserved and enhanced.

“…biodiversity is at the heart of sustainable development and its conservation is one of the key sustainable principles … Acheson + Glover have clearly stated their commitment to sustainability by implementing objectives, targets and actions on the ground. I commend Acheson + Glover Ltd. on delivering their commitment to environmental issues with integrity and enthusiasm and for integrating biodiversity conservation into the core of operations.”

Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland

Working with a number of environmental agencies, we have been able to develop biodiversity management schemes for each of our quarries. This also involves transforming our disused quarries into protected natural habitats where wildlife has the opportunity to thrive.

 

Sand Martin

Sand Martin

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Species Championing

White-clawed Crayfish

As part of our duty to biodiversity, AG joined forces with a local rivers conservation group, Ballinderry River Enhancement Association, in a bid to conserve native White-clawed Crayfish disappearing from the Ballinderry River and Lough Neagh Wetlands.

The White-clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius Pallipes) was once found in rivers, streams and lakes across western and central Europe, however, pollution, damage to habitat and the introduction of non-native crayfish species has put the White-clawed Crayfish on an ever growing list of globally threatened species.

Numbers in the rest of the British Isles have fallen dramatically, as it is under attack from the bigger and more aggressive Signal crayfish introduced from the USA. Northern Ireland remains free of the invader species, however, the White-clawed Crayfish still faces threats from water pollution and destruction of its habitat. The non-intensive breeding programme aims to re-establish traditional White-clawed Crayfish numbers in the local area and to ensure sustainable populations for the future.

At our Pomeroy sand and gravel site (Evishanoran) we have created an innovative ‘habitat bay’ designed for a unique breeding and reintroduction programme. The lake in the sand pit was chosen because of its naturally alkaline water which provides perfect conditions for Crayfish.

Over 150 native Ballinderry White-clawed Crayfish have been introduced to the lake’s specially constructed ‘habitat bay’ in order to establish an isolated and protected breeding population. Each year, juvenile crayfish are collected from the lake by BREA’s fish hatchery team and reintroduced to newly restored habitat in the Ballinderry River and Lough Neagh Wetlands, ensuring the sustainability of populations in the river and wetlands.

The White-clawed Crayfish have been breeding successfully and are even finding new homes in the company’s home building bricks.

The Ballinderry White-clawed Crayfish Breeding and Reintroduction Project is a Ballinderry River Enhancement Association project in association with Ballinderry Fish Hatchery Ltd and AG.

The project is jointly funded by:

  • The Lough Neagh Partnership through the Lough Neagh Strategic Fund via the EU BSP Programme
  • Ulster Wildlife Trust through Cookstown District Council’s Landfill Communities Fund
  • Ballinderry River Enhancement Association (www.ballinderryriver.org/)
  • WWF Northern Ireland (http://ni.wwf.org.uk/)

The project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), Environment and Heritage Service (DoE), Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (Inland Fisheries) and Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland.

To our knowledge, the Ballinderry White-clawed Crayfish Breeding and Reintroduction Project is the only conservation project for White-clawed Crayfish on the island of Ireland.

 

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