PriDE manages Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s South East Regional Prime Contract (SE RPC). Valued at around £380m, the SE RPC is one of five regional prime contracts currently in place in the UK.
Now considered as one of the most over-populated areas in England, wildlife in the south east is always going to be under threat. Suitable habitats are often at risk from development, and modern farming practices can conflict with the needs of our native wild creatures.
In amongst the urban sprawl, Defence Fire Training and Development Centre (DFTDC) Manston offers an isolated pocket of countryside. Occupying some 38 hectares it is a combination of open meadows and wooded parkland. Made up of mature trees and shrubs it provides an ideal habitat for many of our native birds, mammals and insects; and many species have been spotted by site staff, from foxes and hares to barn owls and bats.
Some conservation work had started in 2005 but with no formal structure. In early 2007, Colin Cross was appointed as the Deputy Commandant at Manston and saw the potential for the site to improve its conservation activities. As one of his first duties Colin formed the Conservation Committee to try and ensure that the site would remain a haven for flora and fauna. There are about 12 people on the Committee, both military and civilian, tackling a number of projects simultaneously.
A number of bird boxes have been placed around the camp. In 2006, there were just six boxes in the area, with all in use. Now thanks to the committee there are 47 small boxes, plus 11 for larger birds such as owls and kestrels have occupied one of the boxes, successfully raised a brood.
An ornamental and a wildlife pond have been created and are both now well established. The ornamental pond is a popular watering hole for birds, attracting finches, swallows and even partridge, whilst the wildlife pond provides a suitable habitat for newts, frogs and toads.
Two large meadows were left uncut throughout thegrowing season. By the end of August, there were thick grasses about a metre tall, with lots of field scabious, thistles, poppies and the showpiece – a pyramidal orchid.
The meadows have been left to grow uncut again this year and much to the Unit’s delight the grasslands didn’t need any help at all.
With assistance from PriDE, 15 large trees have been planted plus over 100 shrubs such as buddleia, hawthorn, lavender, holly and forsythia. This has already increased the volume of bees and butterflies visiting the area.
It has been a time for investment on the site, and with careful management it is hoped that a secure future has been established for wildlife at DFTDC.
PriDE has had a string of successes for the awards cabinet!
Gold Medal RoSPA Award for Occupational Health and Safety 2012.
British Institute of Facilities Management Judges’ Special Recognition Award 2011.
To view more information about our awards, click here