Heathrow’s Biodiversity engineers have discovered stoats now living in the 13 biodiversity sites the airport manages. These stoats join the weasels on Heathrow land and together, will undoubtedly begin to hatch their mischievous plans against the toads also present. But these much loved characters are not alone at Heathrow. This year the airport has counted a record number of moths as well as a number of rare and notable species such as: Bee Orchids, Cetti’s Warblers and Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Bats thriving on its lands this year.
The news comes as Heathrow Airport has won its Biodiversity Benchmark Award for the 7th year running in recognition of its sustainable management of over 100 hectares of land, and four reserve areas open for local people to enjoy, as well as the protection of over 2,000 species of flora and fauna on its grounds.
The airport’s success is not only restricted to the furry, scaly or feathery: Heathrow also reportedly holds the last known wild population of Water Avens, a flowering plant with a distinctive purple colour, in Greater London. In addition, following on a successful trial last year, this year Heathrow has extended its wildflower planting areas this year, a move which will not only promote further biodiversity at the airport, and a visual treat to passengers, but also reduce the risk of bird strikes and increase safety.
The Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark award is the only national award recognising responsible land management. Independent assessors visit over 40 organisations sites to judge their compliance against a stringent set of environmental requirements.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow Director of Environment and Sustainability said: “People may be surprised that Heathrow manages more than just runways and terminals, and that we have a species count rivalling the London Zoo within the airport grounds. Protecting and fostering these species is an important part of being a responsible business and yet another way in which Heathrow can give something back to the communities around us.”
Heathrow is a founding supporter of the Colne Valley Park Community Interest Company, providing valuable habitats for protected wildlife as well as important community facilities. Heathrow’s work also involves encouraging community volunteering and environmental education, part of our commitment to running Heathrow responsibly.
Heathrow's plans for expansion include surrounding the airport with significant areas of new and enhanced parkland, providing a connected 15 mile corridor of publicly accessible green space for local residents and wildlife. Taken together the plans would result in new or enhanced parkland that is approximately four times the size of London’s Hyde Park.