Wildlife Now Thrives on an Operational Network Rail Site in Whitemoor

Whitemoor is the National Track Recycling Centre in March, Cambridgeshire, operated by Network Rail. Before re-opening in two phases from 2009, the site had been left disused for many years, over which time it developed a flora and fauna assemblage of County importance.

Wardell Armstrong have been involved in the project for over ten years, which initially involved technical support regarding grassland translocation. This occurred at Whitemoor and an off-site receptor area at Conington sidings, adjacent to the east coast mainline. Part of the planning permission necessitated the implementation of a ten year management programme for the retained and translocated habitats. Detailed botanical, invertebrate, amphibian and reptile surveys have also been required. Wardell Armstrong prescribe the annual management, undertake or manage the ecological surveys and make ongoing recommendations to ensure the sites remain of high ecological value. The ten year planning obligations regarding management are due to end in 2022, but Network Rail have expressed their willingness to continue a level of landscape management and ecology survey due to the time and money invested to date, and also because both sites are an example of good practice.

The work undertaken by Wardell Armstrong, and Midland Landscaping (the maintenance contractors) has been a success; each site remains of County importance for flora, invertebrates and also now for breeding birds. Network Rail have been keen to use Whitemoor in particular as an example of how wildlife can thrive on an operational site. This year it is featured in Network magazine after featuring in a training video in 2019.

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