Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

John Gummer calls UK Businesses to take up the Business Bird Challenge

2008 Challenge

The Rt. Hon. John Gummer MP has launched the BTO - British Energy Business Bird Challenge 2008 - the competition to find the country's best industrial and commercial sites for birds.

The Challenge

The British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO) Business Bird Challenge has been held every two years since 1994. The scheme recognises the sensitive management of industrial sites across the country, which is reflected in the diversity and remarkable number of bird species using these sites. It provides an opportunity for the Commercial and Industrial sectors to publicise their conservation efforts, the flourishing partnerships that exist within local communities, and benchmark their initiatives against those taking place at other commercial sites throughout the UK.The 2008 Challenge will be sponsored by British Energy, the UK's largest electricity generator supplying around one fifth of the UK's electricity. The company owns and operates eight nuclear power stations, and a coal-fired power station, which have all taken an active part in the BTO Challenge for a number of years.

The Launch

The BTO British Energy Business Bird Challenge was officially launched by the Right Honourable John Gummer, MP for Suffolk Coastal, on Monday 15 October at British Energy's Sizewell B nuclear power station. Sizewell B, the UK's only pressurized water reactor, is surrounded by a diverse natural landscape including 12 miles of public and permissive paths owned by British Energy and managed in partnership with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Back in 2004, eagle-eyed staff at Sizewell B scooped first prize in the BTO award for power companies. With 150 species spotted by staff around Sizewell B the station picked up top spot, while British Energy's Heysham Power Stations and Gale Common site, near its Eggborough Power Station, were not far behind.The company's active management of the estate, in partnership with the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, had a huge impact on the success. Highlights spotted during the Challenge included three Little Egrets and two Spoonbill, a Rough-Legged Buzzard and a Bean Goose.

Rt. Hon. John Gummer (MP for Suffolk Coastal) said: With Climate Change currently at the forefront of environmental action by industry, it is important for us to acknowledge that for years many companies have been putting great efforts into maintaining and enhancing the conservation value of their own landholdings. I hope that companies across the UK will get involved in the BTO - British Energy Business Bird Challenge to celebrate their contribution to the conservation of birds and biodiversity and take advantage of this opportunity to share ideas and experience.

Dr Nick Carter (BTO Director of Development) commented: BTO Business Bird Challenge brings together industry and commerce with the environment sector. Awards enable business effort to be rewarded, and recognize the wonderfully rich and varied wildlife sites that can result from business success. I welcome the generous sponsorship from British Energy for the 2008 Challenge and urge businesses across Britain to rise to the Challenge and register their sites!Brian Dowds (Station Director of Sizewell B Nuclear Power Station) adds: Sizewell B sits on one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in Britain and, as a company, it is important we do not lose sight of the responsibility we have in protecting the environment around us. The BTO - British Energy Business Bird Challenge is one of many ways we can maintain the balance between the heavy industry of generating electricity via nuclear power, and the diversity of nature and wildlife living beside our site. We are delighted to not only be taking part but also to be sponsoring the 2008 Challenge.

While Kate Aldridge (Challenge Organiser) said: It is crucial to the success of Challenge 2008 to have the support of a company with an established commitment to managing their landholdings for biodiversity. British Energy sites have won awards in all three of the Challenge categories Conservation, Community and Bird Species in recent years. Competition in the last Challenge was fierce and, as more business sites invest in conservation and in their working relationships with conservation charities, the competition will be just as stiff in Business Bird Challenge 2008.A chance to show that your company values local wildlife and its community

It is possible for every business to have an impact on biodiversity and improve their sites for bird life. Even measures such as changing a mowing regime can cause a dramatic increase in the number of birds using a site. Add to this some shrubby cover and some weedy corners and you have a perfect habitat for many species. The companies entering are divided into ten groups, reflecting the size and range of participating sites. Businesses as diverse as major aggregate and water companies to research stations and commercial sites all have an equal chance to win awards. These are judged under three categories: Conservation, Community and number of Bird Species using the site.

The winners of the Challenge 2006 are listed on the BTO website at http://www.bto.org

4th July 2014