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EXTRACTING THE BEST FOR WILDLIFE

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West Sussex CC is hoping that using a new handbook will really become a case of 'second nature' for managers and st...
West Sussex CC is hoping that using a new handbook will really become a case of 'second nature' for managers and staff at minerals sites.

'Extracting the Best for Wildlife' is designed to show how sand and gravel operations can have a positive impact on wildlife.

The handbook contains advice for site managers and staff on how to look after the wildlife they find on their sites without compromising working operations.

It will also help them avoid any possible breaches of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

The handbook follows the publication last year of the West Sussex Mineral Sites Biodiversity Action Plan, which was produced in conjunction with the minerals industry.

This identified the need for guidelines to help make sure that 'all living things' were given the chance to thrive and prosper in and around minerals sites.

It also contains advice on how the industry can make a positive contribution to wildlife when mineral sites come to the end of their working life, and are restored to their original form.

Don Baker, an ecologist with the county council, said: 'The handbook is intended as a brief summary of the most important biodiversity issues affecting mineral sites. It includes information on a range of topics, and points the way to where managers and staff can obtain much more detailed information or help.'

A£17,000 grant from English Nature's Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund has met 95 per cent of the cost of the project.

The handbook can be seen at West Sussex libraries and is also available on the council's website or by ringing 01243 777610.

Notes

The Aggregates Levy is a tax on the production of primary aggregates (sand, gravel and crushed rock used, for example, in the construction industry). Introduced in April 2002 part of the money raised is to fund the Sustainability Fund.

This fund, the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund or ALSF, aims to address the environmental and social cost of aggregate extraction by delivering environmental improvements, minimising the demand for primary aggregates, promoting environmentally friendly extraction and transport, encouraging the us of recycled and alternative materials, and reducing the local effects of aggregate extraction.

English Nature is one of a number of organisations selected by Defra to award Sustainability Fund Grants for projects, which reduce the effects of aggregate extraction. English Nature's ALSF grants specifically target biodiversity, geological conservation, and education and local community issues. Further information is available from www.english-nature.org.uk

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