National Stepping Stones

Buglife’s National Stepping Stones project builds on the progress we have made so far in showing how important brownfield sites are for wildlife, by scaling up to national level.

‘All of a Buzz in the Thames Gateway’ was the largest brownfield biodiversity project ever undertaken in Britain, and developed a new approach to the identification and protection of brownfield wildlife.

The project mapped over 6,900 hectares (17,000 acres) of brownfield, and assessed the ecological value of almost 500 sites.

The key finding was that over 50% of brownfield land in the Thames Gateway area supports a high level of biodiversity.

The project then worked with local authorities and others to ensure that the best sites are protected, through planning policy or, where appropriate, statutory designation (into an SSSI, for example).

Buglife now wants to apply the knowledge, expertise and lessons we learnt on the project more widely… in fact, across the whole of Britain.

Celebrate brown…

  • Brownfields support an incredibly rich variety of wildlife, with the best sites supporting as many rare and endangered species as ancient woodland.
  • Brownfields are particularly important for bugs of all shapes and sizes, and are often their last refuge.
  • Key brownfield sites are under threat from development all over the country.

There is still little awareness of how rich and important brownfield biodiversity can be, particularly in local authorities and regeneration agencies. The tools that Buglife has developed (including an information pack for planners and a rapid site assessment methodology) need to reach the widest audience if the loss of brownfields and their wildlife is to be stopped.

Without prompt and concerted conservation action by Buglife and others these sites and their rich ecological interest – particularly their invertebrates – will be lost.

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