Green Park Reading, pioneering biodiversity and a new way of sustainable living
Ground Control is proud to be delivering grounds maintenance and biodiversity development services to the award-winning business park and residential site Green Park, on behalf of managing agents Knight Frank and site owners Mapletree.
Green Park is a flagship example of biodiversity best practice, demonstrating how people, business and wildlife can work in synergy for environmental, and societal benefit.
Our Grounds maintenance work at Green Park includes grass cutting, shrubs maintenance, annual flower displays, waterway maintenance and tree maintenance. Our teams are always on-site and can call in extra capacity when required.
We are also delighted to be leveraging the expertise of our ecologists, who are part of the project team involved in enhancing biodiversity at Green Park, advising on, and developing bug hotels, snake houses, wildflower meadows, eco maps, bat surveys, and tree works (including replanting).
About Green Park
Green Park is an award-winning business park near Junction 11 of the M4 motorway, Reading, UK. The Park opened in 1999 and is currently owned by Mapletree and managed by Knight Frank LLP.
Set in 195 acres of parkland, the business park is one of the largest office communities of its type in Europe, comprising 19 office buildings arranged around the Longwater, a central lake and wildlife habitat.
The park is home to a range of animals, plants, amenity grasslands, water creatures, trees, woodland, log vegetation piles and shrub beds including wildflower meadows.
Awards and recognition
Green Park is one of just a few sites in the UK that has repeatedly achieved a biodiversity benchmark accreditation from the World Wildlife Trust.
The park was also awarded the Legacy Award for the Big Biodiversity Challenge Awards in 2021.
Understanding biodiversity at its best!
Biodiversity reflects the number, variety and variability of living organisms and how these change from one location to another and over time. Biodiversity includes diversity within species (genetic diversity), between species (species diversity), and between ecosystems (ecosystem diversity).
Biodiversity Net Gain means that developers must leave biodiversity in a better state than they found it.
This means that they will have to quantify their anticipated impact on our plants, animals, and habitats as part of their planning application, and come up with, and subsequently fund, a long-term plan that can deliver at least 10% more of the species and habitats that they are going to negatively affect either on-site where they are building, or though ‘offsetting’ somewhere else with comparable habitat or potential to create comparable habitat.
Longwater Lake, which runs through Green Park, enables the site to be biodiverse by managing seasonal flooding and reedbeds and housing multiple aquatic and bird species.
The original Green Park site was low lying, poor quality agriculture land.
Construction and development are crucial but, with no measures in place to protect or re-house natural habitats, plants and wildlife, long term effects on the environment, our ecosystem and the future of all living species will be devastating.
The original landowners identified a clear objective to achieve a net gain in biodiversity and provide a distinct, diverse, attractive place to live without compromising the value and integrity of the environment.
The landscaping remit was to create and manage an attractive working environment through visually appealing amenity and recreation opportunities.
Green Park is a living, breathing example of the universal benefits to society, the environment, and the economy.
It illustrates how biodiversity works in synergy with a commercial setting. As home to business units and residential dwellings, Green Park has created a visionary ecosystem where biodiversity, people and commerce can live, play and work side-by-side.
The unique rectangular design subtly combines public roads, business units and wildflower meadows and wildlife habitats.
Green Park established a biodiversity management plan (BMP) in 2014, for regular review until 2025. Although the original design included biodiversity, the current BMP has expanded to include a variety of species.
This plan incorporates wildflower meadows, bird boxes, bat boxes, native planting, all of which are transferrable to other projects in adherence to the biodiversity net gain offsetting requirements.
Ten new habitats were created, which included reedbed, forested areas, wildflower meadows, hedgehog brash piles, riparian grass and relaxed mowing areas.
Habitats are linked by hedgerows and long grass supporting commuting and forging species.
In 2020, 50% of 20 birdboxes were used, plus the site has 31 bat boxes, 14 insect hotels, and two artificial grass snake breeding sites.
Through this, Green Park has become a flagship example of biodiversity innovation, being one of the first business parks to establish business and residential communities committed to empowering biodiversity on their site.
- Ground Control (Landscaping, Ecology and Grounds Maintenance),
- Stantec (Consulting Ecologists)
- Mapletree Investments Ltd (Property Owners)
- Knight Frank (Managing Agents),
- Environment Agency,
- Berks and South Bucks Bat Group,
- Berkshire Ornithological Group
- Local bird groups
The site that was once poor quality, under-used agriculture land, is now an innovative and biodiverse space which combines diverse habitats with enterprise, and human wellbeing.
A survey in 2020, identified hedgehogs in two locations with similar results found in early 2021. In 2018, 11 dragonfly species were observed.
A 2013 survey found 11 noteworthy invertebrate species. This means that Green Park can be considered of regional importance.
Green Park is open to everyone via the many signposted public footpaths, often used by cyclists, runners and dog walkers.
The biodiversity on site, created in the design, has now been included in CSR initiatives, KPI’s and awards. CSR includes community engagement, working groups and newsletter articles. KPIs are incorporated into the organisational KPIs and are targeted towards indicator species Bats, birds, botanical species, hedgehogs and invasive species. The Biodiversity Benchmark accreditation has been awarded to Green Park, successively, over the last six years.
The space demonstrates that business and people can live and work in harmony with biodiversity. Biodiversity enhancements are installed using guidance from the biodiversity management plan, produced by qualified ecologists. These enhancements are continuous, being divided into a five-year plan for installation. The baseline data was produced in 2013 with ongoing yearly monitoring of key species.
The key to the success of the park’s biodiversity initiatives has been the strong partnership between the key stakeholders who share the biodiversity vision.
Residents are on board advocating biodiversity in their community. They are invited to take part in community activities including nature walks, litter picks and bat walks as part of an interactive community who are proud to protect and advocate the natural environment they live alongside. The have been educated about the ecological and societal benefits of these living species, that they subsequently pass on to fellow residents.
Active biodiversity management plans are included, workplace well-being and new business contracts, inspired by what’s happening at Green Park.
Members of the Green Park team actively participate in CSR activities, cleaning up River Kennet and picking up litter. Staff-led volunteering initiatives like litter picks are open to the wider community.
Continuous improvements for a sustainable legacy
The first biodiversity action plan, produced in 2011, is continually reviewed, updated and expanded.
A plan is in place until 2025 to regularly review the BMP twice yearly with stakeholders.
The landscape team has regular biodiversity-based toolbox talks plus yearly training and management reviews with stakeholders occurring every six months.
Onsite, tree works chippings are used as mulch, plus grass cuttings for artificial grass snake breeding pens. All green waste is kept for panting projects. Green park has an environmental working group which regularly volunteers.
Of the key species that are monitored, there has been a noted increase in nesting birds and hedgehogs. Botanical species and bats remain stable and invasive species have been proactively managed.
We want to congratulate and thank our partners for allowing us to be part of this innovate legacy – a flagship example of biodiversity changing lives and changing the world.
Opportunities to grow our partnership through additional services:
Our offering of additional services creates economies of scale and we are looking to offer Green Park:
- Winter maintenance
- Electric Vehicle ChargePoint installation
Highlights of our current Grounds Maintenance service:
We have a full-time field team on site committed to keeping Green Park in pristine condition whilst caring for the environment and protecting all living species. Here’s a few highlights:
- First-class customer care: An Account Management Team that focuses on customer care, continuous improvement and up-skilling of the current site team
- Advice from leading experts: Leveraging our wider experience on prestige sites to bring the very latest innovations and best practices to Green Park
- Working together to create a greener environment: Ground Control is a carbon-neutral company. Our teams use battery-powered tools that do not rely on fossil fuels to operate or produce any carbon emissions, making them ideal for protecting the environment. Work is delivered by our field teams based local to Green Park, which drives maximum operating efficiency, minimises travel time by leveraging site density, ensures rapid response in case of emergency and also reduces our carbon footprint by minimising miles travelled.
- Award-winning technology: Real-time tracking and reporting of performance, is available to Knight Frank stakeholders at the touch of a button to get up to the minute reporting.
- A seamless mobilisation process with a focus: welcoming the current site team to Ground Control whilst ensuring pro-active engagement and communication with Knight Frank
- People focused: We are on a journey to become an inclusive employer and are consulting with Business in The Community to create sound Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion foundations. These foundations, once embedded, will allow us to set ambitious goals to guide our efforts, measure our progress and hold ourselves to account. This strategy marks a step-change in putting Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of who we are as an organisation. Our aim by 2025 is to be fully representative of a modern Britain with a fully inclusive culture that makes us employer of choice.