Chris Bawtree
Chris Bawtree Nature Recovery Director
22 May 2024

This year's International Day for Biological Diversity is calling for governments, communities, businesses, and individuals to ensure that biodiversity is ‘part of the plan’.

At Ground Control, and as Nature Recovery Director, I am proud to say we embody this with our actions at two Environmental Recovery Centres, our work as part of the Essex Local Nature Partnership (LNP), and personally as a Forestry Commission ‘Woodland Ambassador’.

We have been caring for our environment for over 50 years and leading the way with key research such as our Time to Act Report that explores the state of nature in the UK. I encourage people to download this report as not only does it frame “Why business must step up to address the biodiversity crisis”, but it also shows the need for them to be part of the plan. With this in mind, we are proudly taking action as part of the Essex Local Nature Partnership (LNP), driving a large-scale regional plan for nature.

Our role on the LNP is delivering opportunity mapping and identifying areas that are ideal for biodiversity development. Within this plan, we assess the overall impact of habitat banks, the additional benefit on adjacent sites, and how this works for local nature.  Simply put, the outcome of our GIS mapping and ecological assessments could recommend significant hedgerow planting that interconnects habitats, restoration to enhance existing woodland, and the creation of brand-new habitats to name a few.

On International Day for Biological Diversity, the key takeaway from this is the importance of creating a plan that ensures efforts are going in the right place, in this case throughout Essex, but this can be applied from an individual site to a whole company biodiversity strategy.

    This is a call to action to encourage governments, indigenous peoples and local communities, non-governmental organizations, lawmakers, businesses, and individuals to highlight the ways in which they are supporting the implementation of the Biodiversity Plan. Everyone has a role to play and therefore can be #PartOfThePlan (United Nations)

Narrowing in on Ground Control’s Wildfell Centre for Environmental Recovery, today is an ideal opportunity to reflect on another successful planting season. The site in Essex is a strategic site for the LNP and a part of a 50-year vision for rewilding and carbon sequestration.

The first phase of habitat creation is now complete and in these areas, we are now in an establishment and maintenance phase. Within these, we can celebrate the milestones of:

  • 125 acres of woodland creation
  • 96,000 trees and shrubs with 2.5km of hedgerows planted
  • 55 acres of species-rich grassland and 35 acres of mixed scrub created
  • 11 wildlife ponds created

The significance of these numbers is in the detail and planning. The 96,000 trees and shrubs include 35 species of predominantly native broadleaf with some Scots pine and near-native species. These species were included for climate resilience, looking not just at our current climate, but building resilience against extreme weather and changing conditions. The numbers also show 2.5km of hedgerows planted, but what this doesn’t show is the strategic placement of these to interconnect different isolated areas of woodland, which in turn will provide a boost to the woodland biodiversity.  

Strategic Planting Day at Wildfell for National Tree Week 2023

The final message on International Day for Biological Diversity is that what we’re achieving at Wildfell can be achieved by any business, NGO or lawmakers with the right delivery partners. At Ground Control, we believe we are that partner and are delivering for nature. 

Here’s to a brighter, green future for nature, and our vision for Wildfell. 


Time To Act Report

A ground-breaking report exploring "Why business must step up to address the biodiversity crisis".
Read more

More than a Million

Surpassing our tree planting target, two years ahead of schedule

Why it's important to be 'Part Of The Plan'

Chris Bawtree, Nature Recovery Director, reflects on the importance of biodiversity planning on International Day for Biological Diversity
Case Study

Little Cowbridge

An in-house project creating over 22 acres of new woodland from existing pastureland in Essex with over 22,000 native trees and shrubs planted to create a new, multi-functional, broadleaf woodland