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Photo: Philippa Gedge/CIRIA

Isle of Wight companies Artecology, Arc and ferry operator Wightlink have been recognised for their work supporting wildlife in the built environment at a national industry awards ceremony in London this week.

Construction sites, housing developments, concrete port walls and sea defences, roads and rail infrastructure aren’t perhaps the obvious places you’d expect to find wildlife. But as the world looks towards addressing species extinction and creating sustainable coasts and cities, things are changing and the construction industry is increasingly recognising that building for biodiversity is the business.

The Biodiversity Challenge Awards, hosted by industry authority CIRIA and sponsored by a range of multi-nationals, reward those projects making genuine space for nature across the construction industry, housing-building, civil engineering and infrastructure.

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Artecology’s ecological design product, artificial rockpools or ‘Vertipools’ received a Highly Commended Award for Innovation in the Built Environment, and this fascinating collaboration with Wightlink and ABPMer at the Fishbourne terminal was also shortlisted for best Client Award.

Nigel George, Director at Artecology says:

“Designing integrated habitat for biodiversity, or eco-engineering, is a fast-emerging industry but Vertipools have been at the head of the wave in demonstrating how art/science-led habitat creation on hard infrastructure can support marine wildlife”.

Bourne Business Park, a new office complex in Woking, won an award after ecological input from the Sandown-based consultancy Arc. LaSalle Investment Management, with landscape architects MacGregor Smith, ensured the business park estate exceeded standard requirements, blending formal landscaping and neighbouring greenspace for a seamlessly graded shared environment for people and wildlife. A riverside garden, conservation woodland management, food-plant landscaping, nest and roost space provision, viewpoints, even sedum-roofed bin stores and honeysuckle green walls combined to bring wildlife to work and vice versa.

Andrew Derry, Development Director at La Salle explained:

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“The Bourne Business Park is an exemplary scheme for LaSalle, meeting the highest standards of building performance. But we realised that there was more to be done, beyond the requirements of our planning permission and even our own corporate sustainability guide.  With the help of our project team here and landscape architects MacGregor Smith, we wanted to make the external environment at Bourne as valuable to the health and wellbeing of our business community as its internal quality. By imaginatively pursuing direct gains for biodiversity we could build a space that was good for people and good for wildlife in equal measure. With suggestions from Arc and Artecology, Bourne’s marketing team are fully on board going forward too with the riverside garden and shared spaces an ongoing source of engagement with the park’s tenants.  It’s great to see so many of the office employees take such an interest”.

Ian Boyd, Director at Arc and Artecology sums up:

“We were very proud to see the Isle of Wight appearing on the big screen so many times in front of major players in the construction and engineering world. It’s testament to the Island’s great spirit of innovation that it is already a leader in the emerging field of bioreceptive engineering and ecological design. We have more research and university partnerships in the pipeline, and with the Island’s application to be a UNESCO Biosphere in 2019, there is much to look forward to!”

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