Quarry Products Association of Northern Ireland
  Good practice  

Biodiversity and Geodiversity Good Practice

To ensure that biodiversity and geology is conserved and enhanced during any active phases opportunities to contribute substantially to the achievement of targets in LBAPs by way of habitat creation and geological conservation in restoration schemes. Restoration requirements can be linked to the creation of priority habitat to meet UKBAP targets. Mineral planning permissions typically have a long life-span and the active extraction phase can continue for many years. These active phases can be very beneficial for biodiversity and geological conservation. Specific habitats that benefit specialist species can be created in an active quarry and previously unknown or unrecorded geological features can be uncovered. Therefore it is good practice to ensure that biodiversity and geology is conserved and enhanced during any active phases in addition to those relating to restoration schemes.

Operating your site to benefit biodiversity:

Never underestimate the value of your site to wildlife, many species are able to adapt to quarry environment and associated human activity and take advantage of the temporary habitats that can result from the extraction process. During most operations there is a proportion of the land/habitat retained which also acts a refuge for wildlife and it is important to manage this land for biodiversity.

Awareness is the key to managing for wildlife during the operation of a site, and will not be difficult issue for the site manager. Being conscious of the site’s wildlife locations and a flexible approach will enable the site to be managed without loss to colonising flora and fauna.

A variety of bird species breeds in quarries and pits including the Sand martin, Ring Plover, Peregrine falcon, Kestrel, Raven. Leaving areas of suitable habitat undisturbed during the breeding season can encourage these birds to nest in non-operational areas. In this way, they can be encouraged to nest where they will not conflict with quarry operations. Some of these birds like the peregrine falcon are territorial and will return to the same ledge to breed each spring.

Plant Native - Tree and hedgerows planting for biodiversity

Planting Trees and hedgerows Planting Trees and hedgerows

Woodlands and Field Boundaries
Trees and woods are crucial to sustaining life on our planet. They generate oxygen, filter pollutants from the air, and provide a sanctuary for our wildlife. Northern Ireland is the least wooded region in the European Union, with a mere 6 per cent woodland cover, compared with the EU average of 36 per cent. Furthermore, most of this cover is coniferous, meaning that our native, broadleaved woodland occupies only 1.2% of the Northern Ireland landscape. Trees and hedges are important wildlife habitat and feature in our countryside. Most of our hedges are now 100-150 years old, most field boundaries in Northern Ireland are small (less than 2 ha/5 acres), hence our large number of field boundaries is a vital resource for wildlife, as they act as wildlife corridors.

Plant Native Trees and Shrubs And When Possible Always Plant Local Provenance!
When selecting tree species for a site, take into account soil type, drainage, exposure and look at the trees growing in the surrounding location. Native trees and shrubs support a wider range of plants and animals than introduced species; maintain local character and conservation value. They thrive in particularly harsh local conditions and are more likely to survive and flourish than most introduced species. The genetic makeup of local provenance native trees and shrubs ensures that they are better adapted to local conditions, as they are better suited to Northern Ireland’s soil conditions, temperature fluctuations, high rainfall, local competitive flora and local diseases and populations of grazing insect larvae: Did you know that most of our ‘native’ trees bought from tree nurseries are sourced from Eastern Europe. Bud burst and fruit ripening is dependent on seasonal timing. Imported trees come into leaf and fruit at different times than local stock, upsetting the fine balance between native trees and the wildlife they support.

Planting bare roots should commence in the winter months (between late autumn to mid-February). Good ground preparation and aftercare will be important to establishment. Please contact Laverne Bell for a list of local provenance suppliers.

Native Trees and shrubs

Native species & biodiversity

Planting a hedge for biodiversity

Improvement Measures guidance notes 4.3 Biodiversity


Sand Martin Advice Notes Download advice sheet here

Sand martins are attracted to quarries and pits where stockpiled faces and spoil heaps provide suitable nesting sites. They are one of the first spring migrants to appear, arriving between mid-March and Mid-April to breed, before moving south from late July to September to winter in sub-Saharan Africa. Sand martins are listed on the Amber List of the UK birds of conservation. Current factors affecting the species are droughts in wintering grounds in Africa and loss of nesting sites and young broods as a result of habitat destruction / disturbance. Be aware of nesting sand martins on your site and inform your staff. We can play a part in them breeding safely and increasing their populations to withstand any future threats or declines.


Sand Martins Sand Martins nesting site

Wildlife Law in Northern Ireland – Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985

Download Wildlife Law and You document here



"The preservation of biodiversity is not just a job for governments. International and non-governmental organisations, the private sector and each and every individual have a role to play in changing entrenched outlooks and ending destructive patterns of behaviour"

- Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General on the 2003 International Day of Biological Diversity.

Ballyginniff Sandmartin Closeuo
You are in: Biodiversity - Case studies 1
also relevant
Biodiversity and Geodiversity
Quarries and Pits
Our Nature with Aggregates
Good Practice
Case Studies
Northern Ireland LBAPs
Biodiversity Advice and Resources
Print PagePrintable page
Top of page I Disclaimer I Sitemap I Valid HTML 4.01 and CSS