The Pirbright Institute is proud to have its own Biodiversity Interest Group - staff members that give up their time to improve the wildlife environment on site. The group meet on a regular basis and complete conservation activities from the creation of biodiversity habitats to monitoring reptile populations.
During construction of the BBSRC National Virology Centre a number of different reptile species were found living on site. As common reptile species are protected by UK legislation under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Development Team were required to translocate the reptiles away from the new building to designated receptor sites. Volunteers from the Institute stepped up to help out in this great ecological effort and from this, the Biodiversity Interest Group was born.
The Biodiversity Interest Group assisted ecology consultants AECOM with the creation of a 6.5 hectare receptor site complete with a mosaic of hibernacula, grass mounds and brash piles. After the completion of this reptilian retreat, the Group continued their conservation work around site. Activities included: the rejuvenation of an old pond; the erection of dead wood for a stag beetle habitat; the construction of a large bug hotel; the installation of bird boxes in the small on-site woodland; and the creation of an enclave for bee hives. A landscape management plan for Bullswater Common was also agreed with the Estates Team, this included the maintenance of field margins, reduced mowing and the removal of dense scrub.