CEMEX UK is one of the leading quarrying and cement producing companies in the UK, with a significant scale of quarrying activity throughout the country. The RSPB and CEMEX UK began working together in 2009, with the aim of providing more space for nature.
This aim has been worked towards through a joint programme of restoring worked-out areas in quarries, through increasing the wildlife value of the built environment, and by including the whole of the CEMEX UK workforce.
In 2012, the CEMEX UK president Jesus Gonzalez and Martin Harper, RSPB Director of Conservation signed a declaration that the partnership will continue the benefits to conservation for another 5 years.
This partnership is mirrored by a global partnership that CEMEX have with BirdLife International, with advice and expertise feeding into the management of over 400 quarry sites worldwide (nearly 20% of which are in the UK).
The CEMEX UK – RSPB partnership is working to key objectives to:
- maximise biodiversity conservation throughout the ‘lifecycle’ of quarries
- develop biodiversity flagship sites for nature and people
- deliver quality habitats / species conservation throughout the construction industry supply chain
- communicate biodiversity awareness to stakeholders
- support BirdLife International & CEMEX global partnership.
In accordance with a national biodiversity strategy, CEMEX spends £1.2m each year on restoration and has a great legacy of creating nature reserves from their restored quarries that benefit local communities as well as wildlife.
CEMEX Director of Public Affairs, Martin Casey, says “The aim of the CEMEX UK partnership with the RSPB is to ensure that while supplying our customers with the materials that they need we are also able to do so in a sustainable way; a way that is good not just for wild bird populations, but also helps protect and enhance biodiversity as a whole in this country. Being able to draw upon the expert advice of the RSPB is invaluable in enabling CEMEX UK to do that and to be the best for both our customers and the natural environment.”
The partnership’s notable achievements include:
- providing best practice conservation advice for over 1,350 hectares of habitat (around the same area as 1,750 football pitches), helping to provide space for nature recovery
- winning the inaugural Natural England/Mineral Products Association biodiversity award for restoration of Rugeley quarry
- over 100 CEMEX staff volunteering at RSPB reserves, including Saltholme and Baron’s Haugh where over 400 trees were planted
- producing biodiversity action plans for all high priority sites
- developing a quarry manager’s handbook on managing sites for nature
- development of a pre-planning assessment tool to help local RSPB officers and CEMEX staff deliver better outcomes for conservation
- running the annual CEMEX birds of prey survey (see article Birds Dig Quarries).
As the partnership goes from strength to strength; directly conserving priority species and creating priority habitats across CEMEX’s 10,000 ha estate, it is helping to create more, bigger and better-connected nature areas. At the same time we seek to extend this work through the supply chain so that the materials CEMEX supply not only come from nature enhancement areas, but go into wildlife friendly developments.