The South Essex is a national hotspot for brownfield invertebrates, due to its unique combination of a warm, sunny, continental climate and industrial heritage.
The South Essex Stepping Stones Project aimed to enhance and restore brownfield habitats across the region to benefit nationally important populations of rare and scarce invertebrates, such as the Brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis) and Shrill carder bee(Bombus sylvarum).
At least 15 UK Biodiversity Action Plan species are strongly associated with the increasingly threatened South Essex brownfields. South Essex has suffered from significant losses of wildlife-rich brownfields due to development pressure as part of the Thames Gateway regeneration. By maintaining stepping stones of habitat, invertebrates are better able to disperse across the landscape, helping them survive in the face of habitat loss.
Thanks to funding from the Tubney Charitable Trust, Veolia ES Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Trust and Essex Environment Trust, five key sites were improved for invertebrates.
Wat Tyler Country Park
In partnership with Basildon Council, we installed a demonstration living roof and created a novel succession trail, both with interpretation highlighting the importance of brownfields and invertebrates.
A south-facing bee bowl was created to provide habitat for ground-nesting Hymenoptera and management across the site influenced for rare bumblebees.
Buglife safeguarded the future of Untidy Industries, a former vehicle wrecking yard with an outstanding invertebrate assemblage. We cleared scrub to reinstate a mosaic of wildflower-rich grassland and bare substrates. Additionally we helped secured funding to introduce long-term management and allow public access.