MPA Restoration & Biodiversity Awards 2015

I was delighted to be included in this event this year, after being one of the three judges for the MPA Nature Photography Competition. I was joined by BBC Radio 4’s Sybil Ruscoe and Russell Savory and we chose the winners several weeks ago, before the event at The Royal Society, London.

Mineral Product Association (MPA) members’ manage or control an area of land of over 115 square miles; an area equivalent to a National Park such as the Norfolk Broads. This includes at least two National Nature Reserves, 22 local nature reserves, 15 field study and education centres and 13 nature trails. The industry plays a key role in halting the decline and providing net gains in biodiversity, establishing coherent and resilient networks of wildlife sites as required by the National Planning Policy Framework.

On Wednesday 14 October 2015, the MPA held its prestigious Quarries and Nature event at the Royal Society London with the theme ‘Building on Britain’s Natural Capital’ the event included speakers Dieter Helm, former Chairman of the Natural Capital Committee, environmentalist Tony Juniper and Alan Law, Chief Strategy and Reform Officer Natural England.

Many of the nature reserves I have visited were once quarried areas… in fact  one of my local RSPB reserves, Middleton Lakes, has been created from a quarry.

Biodiversity and restoration are not just a high priority at quarries and other industry plants across the UK – they have become second nature. This year’s independently judged MPA Biodiversity Awards (run in association with Natural England) and the long running MPA Restoration Awards demonstrated a huge level of achievement and commitment.

The MPA (Minerals Products Association) hold this bi-annual event which showcases the restoration work in quarried areas all over Britain …..

Hosted by Helen Skelton, the awards showcased the very best in Quarry restoration and displayed stunning habitat restoration. There were a  number of different awards , celebrating everything from restoration, innovation, individual achievement to wildlife and biodiversity celebrations. Some truly incredible work has  been done and this article and video summarises some of the 2015 winners, including my local RSPB reserve Middleton Lakes, which won the coveted ‘Cooper-Heyman’ Cup!

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There were some amazing photographs from both employees and volunteers alike and Sybil, Russell and myself found it difficult to choose. The wildlife images showing the diversity of life in quarried sites was incredible and images chosen by the guests in an exhibition will also feature in a 2016 calendar.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the event and meeting with some great people, including Sybil, Helen, Russell, Gill Perkins (from Bumble Bee Conservation Trust) and a wealth of other enthusiasts! I look forward to receiving the 2016 MPA calendar!

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