The long running awards, which are organised by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, have showcased the best military and civilian conservation efforts from across the MOD estate for nearly 30 years. The awards highlight the MOD’s commitment to making defence more environmentally friendly and sustainable, both in the UK and overseas.
Delayed by the pandemic, the 2020 award categories were repurposed to demonstrate the MOD’s impetus on adapting and mitigating against climate change and becoming a more sustainable organisation.
The Environmental Protection & Enhancement Award celebrates projects that focus on wildlife and biodiversity, environmental research or tackles pollution and contamination issues
The project was a collaboration between the Royal Air Force, the Wildfowl and Wetland’s Trust Slimbridge Reserve, Natural England, The Defence Infrastructure Organisation, Amey and NBC Environment across several RAF bases.
Michael Tomlin from the CESO department at HQ Air High Wycombe talks about the project and NBC's pivotal involvement in that.Michael Tomlin - CESO Dept at HQ Air High Wycombe "Dangers from the birds themselves is obviously if a bird takes off and there's an aircraft taking off at the same time flight safety was obviously the overriding consideration and they didn't want the birds and any birds that would hatch from the eggs to be a flight safety risk. What used to happen is Curlew eggs would be destroyed under licence from Natural England so as soon as an egg or a nest was identified the nest and any eggs that it contained would be destroyed and that was the whole reason for this project was to try and prevent doing that.
The project was put together to basically save these eggs when they identified a Curlew nest on the airfield they would mark the nest so that the grounds maintenance teams didn't cut in that area. Natural England would be informed and they would come and collect the eggs, put them in an incubator and then take them back to the Wildfowl and Wetland’s trust at Slimbridge where the eggs would eventually hatch from the incubators and then be released into the wild.
There were several stations involved in the including RAF Marham, RAF Coningsby, Barkston Heath, Cranwell & Wittering. There were actually 59 viable eggs collected and surprisingly they all went on to hatch so they all fledged and they are now all in the wild and hopefully breeding themselves which is a massive massive contribution to the the Curlew population in the South of England".
We were delighted to be involved in the project. There are many ways to prevent birds from nesting in places where they can pose risks and we look at all strategies to manage nesting birds.