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What one thing could you do for biodiversity?

Alison Guscott 22 Oct 2014

Set in the beautiful Kew Gardens, The BIG Challenge - ‘Do one thing’ award ceremony last week highlighted the efforts that the construction industry is making to enhance biodiversity on construction sites and it got me thinking about what we could all do for biodiversity.

The evening reception at Kew Garden's conservatory

CIRIA’s BIG Challenge to ‘do one thing’ had over 100 case studies submitted, including six from BAM Construction, showcasing initiatives which had been implemented on construction sites to increase their biodiversity. 

There were some great examples of how sites have created new habitats for wildlife, from creating ponds and wetlands, installing green roofs and underground animal passages, to working with schools and local communities to teach them about the importance of biodiversity. But there were also great examples of smaller scale initiatives which are simple, cheap and easy for sites to replicate, such as building small raised beds out of reused materials, the creation of insect hotels and the use of bat boxes. Although some of these may seem like small steps, they all help contribute to a site’s biodiversity.

Many things can help increase biodiversity, from simply planting along walkways to creating a school garden 

Although I work in the built environment industry, I don’t usually work on a construction site. But you don’t have to be on site to do one thing for sustainability! After all, surely it is not just up to designers to design a sustainable building, or just up to the contractors to manage environmental issues during construction – but everyone’s responsibility to try to improve the environmental footprint of the building they live in. 

Could any of the ideas showcased in the case studies be reproduced in your garden? A green expanse of neatly mown lawn may look nice, but it does not necessarily make a good habitat for flora and fauna. CIRIA’s BIG Challenge showed that there are many ways that biodiversity could be increased, and not all of them have to be hard work or even need a garden! Some BAM sites had reused old wellies and tubs, and planted them with bee-friendly plants –an easy way to brighten up a balcony! Or those few old bricks and some untreated wood from a DIY project could be stacked in a corner to provide a habitat for insects. 

Planting up old tubs creates new habitats

Many of the small scale case studies submitted to the BIG Challenge could easily be transferred to a small garden or patio. So why don’t you take the challenge of doing one thing – you don’t have to wear a hard hat to get involved!

Alison Guscott is an Assistant Sustainability Advisor at BAM



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