Energy from waste firm is funding biodiversity

Mark Vallance of BBOWT at Finemere Wood near Edgcott.'120814M-A049

Mark Vallance of BBOWT at Finemere Wood near Edgcott.'120814M-A049

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More than £200,000 of funding is coming to protect the remains of an ancient hunting forest on the Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire border.

The region is littered with former hunting lodges, include Bicester’s Garth House, home to the town council and the money will be spent on improvements to five nature reserves within the area once covered by the Bernwood Forest.

The money comes after a successful grant bid by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) to WREN to restore important natural habitats.

WREN distributes landfill tax gathered from firms like FCC Environment which has recently been awarded the contract to build an energy from waste incinerator at Calvert.

Mark Vallance, BBOWT’s head of nature reserves in Buckinghamshire said: “Funding to enhance biodiversity is crucial for our organisation.

“This grant will enable us to carry out important conservation work in woods and meadows in Bernwood during the next three years.”

BBOWT’s Bernwood project is one of 10 projects to receive a share of WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund, to help the UK meet biodiversity targets.

Mr Vallance added: “The wildflower meadows and species-rich hedgerows of the former Bernwood Forest are just as important for butterflies and birds as the woodland.

“Thanks to the grant of £222,910 from WREN we will be able to start work this winter on the hedgerows at Finemere Wood, Asham Meads, Bernwood Meadows and Rushbeds Wood. Our work at Whitecross Green Wood includes cutting back into the woodland in places along the grassy rides. These ‘scallops’ create warmer conditions in the lee of the woodland which is the perfect habitat for butterflies.

“Later in 2013 we will be preparing for livestock to graze the wildflower meadows.”

Conservation, biodiversity or wildlife projects that are interested in WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund can check their eligibility by visiting www.wren.org.uk.

The next deadline for applications is January 2013, and the WREN fund will continue to a sixth year.