Construction Firm and Charity Join Forces to Boost UK Biodiversity

A new partnership to support biodiversity in urban and rural environments will see Morgan Sindall Construction work directly with Groundwork on 14 projects that will benefit communities across England, Scotland, and Wales.

Groundwork, a charity that mobilises practical action on poverty and the environment across the UK, will work with Morgan Sindall Construction teams and their supply chain partners to source proposals and manage the biodiversity outcomes. Each selected project will be backed with a grant of £10,000.

The initiative is well-timed given that, as of February 2024, the UK government is implementing new legislation to ensure that land managers, developers and local planning authorities achieve at least 10% increase in Biodiversity Net Gain, with around 14 Local Authorities already targeting a 20% increase.

The partnership will be looking for sites where investment at this level can make a discernible improvement to biodiversity to benefit the community. A range of habitats, including estuaries, moorland, chalk bed streams and highly urban sites will be part of the programme.

Tim Clement, Director of Social Value & Sustainability at Morgan Sindall Construction, said: “We recognise that as one of the leaders in the UK construction industry we have a key role to play in understanding and promoting biodiversity. We are taking proactive measures to meet biodiversity net gain targets and invest in natural capital. Groundwork has an impressive and long track record of making a positive difference, supporting over 7,000 community organisations around the country each year, and we are delighted to be partnering with them as a route to meeting our objectives.”

Morgan Sindall Construction launched its own Project Carbon award internally last year, to celebrate work which had made a significant contribution to protecting the environment. The business has made £140,000 available for selected projects and this will now be directed into the Groundwork partnership. In each case, the teams will work with Groundwork to help reach out and provide more support around biodiversity improvements.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive, said: “We know from our long history of supporting communities to improve the environment that there is a huge appetite among people of all backgrounds and all walks of life to get involved in protecting and developing local green spaces. We’re delighted to be working alongside Morgan Sindall to bring the benefits of this approach to more communities across the UK.

“Practical action to protect and improve biodiversity is not just good for the environment but can also help people improve their physical and mental health and ensure local areas are better prepared for the likely impacts of climate change. Even small changes can make a huge difference – bringing nature back to urban areas and giving people the confidence and encouragement to tackle bigger issues in their local community.”

Planters, bug hotels, bird and bat boxes are all great examples of achieving low level biodiversity. But they offer only a small contribution to what’s needed to achieve both legislative requirements and deliver positive, long-term biodiversity in our communities. Morgan Sindall Construction teams around the country are already delivering other practical and substantive solutions. For example, at Bishop’s Waltham Fire Station project in Hampshire, who have also been selected for a £10,000 Project Carbon award, bat cavity wall boxes were installed into the structure. They were also combined with a green roof featuring a sedum-mix of eight species of plant that will provide foraging grounds for bats in an urban habitat as well as sensitive lighting to ensure the retention of existing bat commuting routes.

The Groundwork partnership follows on from other major natural capital initiatives Morgan Sindall Construction and its parent group have fostered. In February 2023, Morgan Sindall Group created a long term partnership with the RSPB at Lakenheath in Suffolk by purchasing 54 hectares of neighbouring farmland to add to this important nature reserve. The RSPB has acquired the site to restore its wetlands and incorporate them into the conservation charity’s Lakenheath Fen reserve, on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.

The business has also established nine new woodlands in partnership with the Blenheim Estate in Oxfordshire, planting more than a quarter of a million trees to transform the land in conjunction with Grown In Britain, and invested in the development and restoration of 300 hectares of severely damaged blanket bog in the North Pennines AONB, UNESCO Global Geopark and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Morgan Sindall Group also recently retained its  ‘AAA’ status – the highest level –  from the international ratings agency MSCI for its environmental, social and governance performance. In addition, the not-for-profit organisation CDP that created a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states to help manage environmental impacts has awarded Morgan Sindall Group a CDP ‘A’ score for carbon reduction for the fourth year running, reflecting both transparency and performance on climate change.

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