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Essex County Council plants huge meadow for Biodiversity Net Gain

The new green asset is the latest addition to Essex Forest Initiative, a six year project that will see 375,000 trees planted by the authority.

yellow petaled flower selective focus photography

Spanning 5,000 square metres, the new meadow at Mersea Island is aimed at promoting biodiversity and reintroducing natural habitats vital for the survival of many species. It includes around 600 metres of hedgerow, along with a vast spread of shrubs and other flora. 

The initiative contributes to a wider Essex County Council goal of protecting close to one-third of its ‘natural zones’ in the Essex Climate Focus Area, covering the Blackwater and Colne rivers. It’s also the first significant step towards biodiversity net gain, one of the UK government’s key environmental policies. 

‘I am delighted we have been able to begin the delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain by creating what will be a beautiful natural meadow. This new meadow also helps us achieve our aims for the Essex Climate Focus Area,’ said Cllr Peter Schwier, Climate Czar and Cabinet Member for Environment, Waste Reduction and Recycling at Essex County Council. 

‘I am really excited to see this field, which was growing peas last year, being converted to a wildlife site,’ said John Meehan, Head of Climate Adaptation & Mitigation at Essex County Council. ‘We can see the native meadow grasses emerging and now we are planting native trees and shrubs. In the summer, we will move sheep onto the site, and it will become a haven for meadow-loving birds such as turtle dove, corn bunting and yellow wagtail. We have extended the footpath network so local people can enjoy the site too.’

More on biodiversity: 

Inside the Eco Hubs preparing school kids for green industries

Robots used to maintain gas pipes could monitor biodiversity

It’s all in the genes: eDNA explained

Image: Annie Spratt

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