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Active quarries can provide opportunities for biodiversity,BGS©NERC

A common misconception is that active quarries are noisy, dusty and sterile places where native plants and animals are absent. In reality, many quarries provide wildlife havens in areas where biodiversity is otherwise limited by other forms of land–use such as intensive farming. Through careful management, quarries can significantly enhance the biodiversity of an area and provide much needed habitats and refuges for wildlife.

The opportunities for biodiversity can be managed at a quarry through an environmental management system.

Quarrying provides a unique opportunity to enhance the nature conservation, recreational and/or geological value of a site. This contribution is demonstrated by the fact that about 20% of all Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in the UK are linked to minerals extraction.

Sand martins often nest in active quarries, BGS©NERC

The Minerals and Nature Conservation Forum was established to ensure environmentally sustainable development within the UK minerals industry. The forum is particularly concerned with the conservation of our wildlife and earth heritage (‘biodiversity’ and ‘geodiversity’).

The forum has produced a Biodiversity and minerals handbook that acts as a guide to planning, operating, restoring and managing mineral sites for biodiversity.

The Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group recently produced ‘A review of the biodiversity of aggregate sites in Nottinghamshire’. This document demonstrates the important contribution the minerals industry has made for Nottinghamshire biodiversity.

For more information contact: Nottinghamshire Biological and Geological Records Centre.