Facilities and asset management provider Amey is working to transform local grassland in Scotland into havens for wildlife as part of its defence housing contract.
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) granted Amey permission to transform about a hectare of short-mown grass at its Service Family Accommodation site in Helensburgh into meadow fields.
Amey is now reviewing ground maps to identify opportunities for other initiatives.
During the scheme’s first year, Amey’s team will assess which grass and flower species are naturally present, and this will guide future development with bulbs, seeds or plug plants. The company said the site will not only increase the biodiversity of the estate, but offer visual interest, and a focal point for the community. Such schemes also have commercial benefits for clients - with the untamed nature of these areas resulting in reduced maintenance programmes.
As the site develops, the team also aims to introduce other community benefits including benches, tree planting, bug hotels, and educational spaces for nurseries and schools.
Since the 1920s, the UK has seen a sharp decline in meadowland because of agriculture and urban areas. But long grass and wildflowers form vital habitats for insects and pollinators and also attract bird and mammal species that are all essential to the environmental sustainability of the countryside.
Catherine Whiteside, grounds manager for defence housing, said: “Helensburgh is the first meadow field project we have seen on our defence housing contract… The benefits are huge to both local wildlife, and the wider community. As a society, I believe we are becoming more aware of the impact we are having on the environment around us, and this is a simple step we can take as a contractor to improve biodiversity across our areas of operation.”