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London Stansted celebrates 5 years of habitat area on World Environment Day

Lifestyle / Wed 12th Jun 2024 at 06:48am

WILDLIFE and flowers aren’t something most passengers think about before taking off on a flight from London Stansted.

However, a secluded corner of the airport has become a haven for small animals, insects, and plants five years after it was created by the airport’s environment team.

Located north of the airport’s runway, the 2.5 acres features four large ponds, grassland, and a small, wooded area.

It is not open to the public, enabling plants and wildflowers like sneezewort, wild angelica, marsh marigold, water figwort and skullcap to flourish.

The lack of disturbance and dense vegetation are also beneficial for animals, such as deer, rabbits, and badgers who would otherwise be intimidated by people.

Great crested newts have also been attracted to the contoured ponds, which are covered with netting to prevent birds from nesting near them.

Martin Churley, Group Head of Environment and Sustainability, said:

“This area of the airport was long underused, so we decided to return it to nature in 2019 and almost immediately wildlife moved in, including a family of newts. We also installed cameras around the site to monitor its progress, and they’ve captured deer, rabbits, muntjacs, and badgers visiting the area over the last five years. On World Environment Day, it’s wonderful to see our habitat area thriving. This really is a magical place that contributes to our aim to reduce the impact of airport operations on wildlife habitats and species, setting a target of zero net loss in biodiversity.”

World Environment Day, now in its 51st year, aims to raise awareness and action for the protection of the environment. To celebrate, a variety of activities are being held across the airport this week, including Aerozone talks for children, litter picks, competitions, and giveaways including free packets of wildflower seeds for employees.

“While we all recognise how important the environment and biodiversity are every day, these events give us a chance to reflect on how every small action counts, and how together, we can make a positive difference. This year we’re focusing on biodiversity and ecology, so we’re encouraging employees to adopt eco-friendly habits and sustainable practices,” said Martin.

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