Sunday, 22 May, is International Day for Biological Diversity, and for 2022 the chosen theme is ‘Building a Shared Future for all Life’ - which is something ESS felt strongly about when designing and building the facility and surrounding area.
Biodiversity is to a great extent the answer to several sustainable development challenges, spanning a range of topics from nature-based solutions to climate and health issues, to securing a sustainable supply food and water, as well as sustainable livelihoods.
There is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, especially bearing in mind the number of species being significantly reduced by certain human activities.
Biodiversity was an important element in the design and construction of the ESS facility from the outset
The ESS facility is located on a site of approximately 70 acres, of which two thirds are green land. The entire site is surrounded by farmland, and so even from the earliest stages, a specific decision was taken to ensure a landscape design that maximised biodiversity, creating new living spaces for species that have been outcompeted by modern agriculture.
The topography was changed into a more varying terrain and native vegetation was added. Large areas of meadow, shrubbery and trees were planted, and the flowering and fruiting species introduced were specifically chosen to enhance pollinating insects, notably bees and butterflies; an important part of the food production chain, while shallow ponds improve the living conditions for amphibians.
These areas make up the landscape surrounding the facility, and not only provide ESS with a soft and green environment, but have also created a broad variation of habitats with different microclimates, hiding places, water and food supplies, green corridors, and nesting sites.
And the hares that can be seen running around the Campus courtyard early in the morning clearly feel at home!