Operator: CEMEX UK
The lowland heathland project at Rugeley Quarry has two compartments, the restored heathland and the Bevin’s Birches. The heathland restoration project is 70 ha surrounding a former quarry and adjacent to the main working quarry. CEMEX have removed non-native trees and created open mosaic habitats across the site. Subsequent work to control bracken has now created a developing heath with regeneration coming from the previously suppressed seed-bank.
Much of the quarried land site lies within the Cannock Chase Special Area of Conservation, which is one of the most extensive stretches of lowland heathland in the Midlands. CEMEX will, by 2032, have added over 200 hectares of this priority habitat. The site also provides towards both the UK BAP and Staffordshire LBAP targets for lowland heathland expansion.
Bevin’s Birches is a 10 ha site rich in biodiversity with interesting lichen, insect and amphibian species resident. Small stone mounds created produce micro climatic variation for lichens and invertebrates. Further habitats include dwarf shrub heath, acid grassland and wet grassland with freshwater features. A schedule of works has been commissioned to maintain the specialist biodiversity interest of the site.
This commitment to biodiversity after-use is further shown by CEMEX voluntarily deciding not to quarry to the permitted depth to keep the heathland dry and it has even imposed a 4p-per-tonne levy on sand and gravel from the site to pay for biodiversity work. While the company has done most of the work itself, it is now being advised by the RSPB. CEMEX has also made large donations to a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust volunteer centre nearby and to the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre.
Priority BAP Species to be found at this site include nightjar, tree pipit, woodlark, great crested newt and adder.