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Bristol Airport has commissioned local charity Goblin Combe to implement the first phase of the Nature Conservation Strategy which will help to mitigate the effects of its development over the next decade. Goblin Combe will undertake woodland management and nature conservation work in Cornerpool Farm, located to the south of the Airport site.
Goblin Combe is a charity committed to delivering educational, training and employment programmes to young people and those groups most at risk of social exclusion. The charity manages a 130 acre woodland site and residential lodge in nearby Cleeve and is a specialist provider for the Government Work and Families programmes.
Cornerpool Farm, one of a number of newly designated conservation areas around the site, formed part of the original World War Two airfield which was a forerunner of the current Airport. It includes a small wood which will be extended through the planting of native, broad leaved trees and managed to promote natural regeneration and enhance species diversity. Surviving wartime buildings will be adapted to provide roosting opportunities for bats and a number of features to provide enhanced habitats for reptiles and amphibians will be created. In addition hedgerows bordering farmland to the south of the airport will be infilled with new native plants to enhance the foraging areas for bats. The grazing and management regimes for the area have been modified, in conjunction with a local farmer, to benefit particular species of bats.
Working with Remploy and Work Programme partners Goblin Combe is using the project to deliver an employment training programme to 20 disabled customers who are facing barriers to their employment. Goblin Combe will carry out coppicing and tree planting in the wood to promote natural regeneration and enhance species diversity. Airport staff will also be offered the opportunity to get involved, with volunteering and team-building activities encouraged, under the stewardship of the Goblin Combe team. Following the completion of the project, the stewardship of the land will fall to local farmer, Roger Ashman, who will graze cattle on part of the site.
The Nature Conservation Strategy focuses on areas least affected by light spill from the Airport’s operations. New planting and habitat creation will link the existing ‘darker’ areas of habitat around the edge of the airport and reinforce existing links so that a route is provided for foraging fauna.
Alan Davies, Planning and Environment Director at Bristol Airport, said: “Nature conservation is a key consideration in our development plans. We have a clear strategy to mitigate any effects on biodiversity and, in some cases, even improve the environment around the Airport for wildlife. It is particularly pleasing that we can work with a local partner like Goblin Combe to put this strategy into action.”
Andrew Tandy, Chief Executive at Goblin Combe, said: “We are very excited by this project. It demonstrates our innovative approach to training and employment programmes and how some of the Government’s employment objectives can be achieved. Our unemployed customers are working on real, live projects which prepare them for work and in many cases creating opportunities for long term employment. We are immensely grateful to Bristol Airport who had the confidence in Goblin Combe and courage to be the forerunner in using our services to deliver their woodland management programme.”
For further information please contact the Bristol Airport Local Community Fund Administrator on 01275 473615 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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