Greater Anglia boosts the local environment with wildlife initiatives

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Many railway stations are bustling places which welcome thousands of people every hour.

But some stations are so quiet, you can even hear the birds sing.

Over the past year, Greater Anglia has worked with volunteers, station adopters and community rail partnerships on initiatives across the network which have helped welcome wildlife and boost the local environment.

Community Rail Partnerships across Essex, which aim to help promote the local rail lines, have worked with the Bee Friendly Trust this year, an organisation which focuses on helping honeybees thrive in local habitats.

Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership (ESSCRP) worked with the trust to install planters at Great Bentley and Clacton to attract bees.

Children from Great Bentley primary school helped to create bee-friendly planters at the station. The structure, which is three metres long, is on the platform towards Clacton-on-Sea. The trust taught them about bees and pollination, explaining how their efforts will help bees. Four planters were also installed at Clacton-on-Sea station in the summer. Local schoolchildren helped to plants seeds to attract bees the local area.

Across the network, station adopters, who volunteer their time to help care for stations and maintain the gardens, have also worked on their own projects to help nature bloom.

Philip and Kathryn Ball, adopters at Shelford station near Cambridge, have a dedicated approach to nature gardening. Since becoming station adopters they have kept detailed records of all the plants at the station, even wild ones, and observed the impact that they have on butterfly and moth populations and other wildlife. The records and photography are then displayed in the waiting room for all to see.

On the line between Norwich and Cambridge, the team of volunteers at Thetford station have installed bird boxes to encourage different species to nest there.

Volunteers from Greater Anglia, the Department for Transport and Essex County Council moved six tonnes of earth to turn waste ground into a wild flower garden at Marks Tey rail station.

The teams spent a total of two days clearing weeds and rubbish from the huge area of waste ground and then moved six tonnes of soil using just two wheelbarrows.

Wildflower seeds have been scattered to create an attractive flower bed that will be enjoyed by wildlife and station users.

Paul Haynes, Community Rail Partnerships Manager at Greater Anglia, said: “We’re very pleased with the hard work our station adopters and CRPs have contributed this year. While we serve some great cities and destinations, much of our network is rural and we always seek to enhance the local environment wherever possible.

“Rail stations form an integral part of the local community and it has been great to work with the Bee Friendly Trust this year. At Greater Anglia we are committed to helping the environment.”

Other environmental initiatives carried out by Greater Anglia this year included installing new energy-saving lighting at Crown Point depot in Norwich, solar panels at Cambridge North, a brand new station which opened in May, and trialling a new waste recycling project at Norwich station with Veolia.