Great Bentley rail station has received a ‘Wildlife Friendly’ accreditation recognising the work of community volunteers to improve biodiversity and support nature there.
Greater Anglia has partnered with the region’s Wildlife Trusts to formally recognise the achievements of its teams of volunteer ‘station adopters’ to create wildlife havens at stations across its network, through the new ‘Greater Anglia Wildlife Friendly Stations Accreditation Scheme.’
The Great Bentley station adopter team, Peter Neale, Dawn Vinn, Jane Ryland and Daniel Ryland, received the award following assessment by an Essex Wildlife Trust Conservation Officer to determine how well the station supports local flora and fauna.
The ecologist’s report noted that Great Bentley station has great potential to make a difference to local biodiversity due to its location, which can act as a stepping stone to woodlands to the south and south-west of the village.
The station also features ‘bee friendly’ planters, installed in partnership with the Bee Friendly Trust, which are filled with nectar rich plants to support pollinating insects, an insect hotel, and a community herb garden – where people can help themselves to the herbs, which also provide a good food source for pollinators.
James Hogg, Development Officer at the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the lead Trust for the initiative, said: “The alarming decline in the abundance of wildlife and the plight of species under threat means that just protecting the nature we have left is not enough; we need to put nature into recovery, and to do so at scale and with urgency.
“This project with Greater Anglia is a fantastic example of how people can transform nature-poor areas into new nature-rich places – and change the way we think about land, seizing opportunities to help nature outside traditional nature reserves.”
Each assessment also offers tips and advice for how to make the stations more wildlife friendly and the reports can also be used as examples of best practice, to help spread good ideas around all Greater Anglia’s stations.
Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Alan Neville, said, “We are delighted to partner with the region’s wildlife trusts to formally recognise the valuable work of our station adopter volunteers in supporting wildlife and improving their local environment.”
“I’d like to congratulate the volunteers at Great Bentley station on receiving this recognition and thank them for the incredible work that they are doing that is helping to support biodiversity locally.”
There are now 19 stations across the Greater Anglia network which have received the “Wildlife Friendly” accreditation, with more expected to be certificated over the next year.
Rail stations in East Anglia are increasingly becoming havens for local wildlife thanks to the efforts of over 300 volunteers who last year transformed over 7,400 square metres of land into thriving wildlife gardens.
In a recent survey, Greater Anglia station adopters reported a wide range of creatures visiting their stations, including many different types of butterflies as well as bees, slow worms, bats, foxes, toads, lizards, deer and many varieties of birds, recording more than 200 different species.
Over the last 20 years, since the start of station adoption in East Anglia, the initiative has thrived, so that the vast majority of Greater Anglia stations now have station adopters. These ongoing increases in the areas adopted and the wildlife being seen on the stations show that the adopters are really playing their part in helping to make stations more biodiverse, as well as becoming more attractive gateways to the communities they serve.
Greater Anglia has also joined the rest of the rail industry in pledging to make stations across Britain more sustainable.
Action to reduce waste, support local wildlife and cut the carbon footprint of railway stations will be informed by the industry’s Sustainable Stations: Best Practice Guide, which details ways in which train operators can meet this commitment in support of global goals of decarbonisation, reducing waste and supporting local plant and animal life.
Photo credit: Greater Anglia