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Net gain in biodiversity on site


Trees planted by volunteers


'Wildlife corridor' created around the site

Delivering biodiversity net gain in Dorset

How our multi-storey car park project gave the natural environment a helping hand.

Construction of a multi-storey car park at Dorset County Hospital returned a biodiversity net gain of over 11% for customer Prime Plc.

Plans for the 654-space structure incorporated newly created habitats and ecological features to counteract the impact of construction and achieve a better-than-expected boost to the natural environment on site.

Working with an ecologist to optimise the landscaping and planting design for biodiversity and, by taking advice from the Royal Horticultural Society to replace hedging on the original site with a native species, the project achieved an excellent outcome for local flora and fauna.

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The team from Willmott Dixon replaced an area of single species low-growing shrub with plants and wildflowers to support a variety of pollinating insects and installed bird boxes, hedgehog nesting boxes and insect friendly foliage. We established a two-metre wide 'wildlife corridor' around the perimeter of the car park, planted with hedgerows and wildflowers, to create a buffer zone between vehicles and wildlife. And we replaced hedging on the original site with native species recommended by the RHS, which further enhanced habitats around the site and helped improve the overall increase in biodiversity measured.

Restoring our environment and bringing nature into communities is a key part of Willmott Dixon’s 2030 sustainability strategy, Now or Never. Our aim is for all projects to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than before construction by 2030.

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Harry Noakes, Senior Building Manager, said: “In 2024, all qualifying developments will need to achieve a 10% minimum biodiversity net gain.

“Although the numbers may seem daunting, my experience has shown it’s viable, makes economic sense, and leaves a legacy beyond the building.”

Going even further, the Willmott Dixon team donated and planted 600 tree whips at the new community woodland at Kings Road in Dorchester, helping to add value for the local community and providing a new green space for wellbeing (pictured below).

On completion, Dorset County Hospital's deputy chief executive Nick Johnson said: “Thank you to Prime and Willmott Dixon for the design and building work, especially the plants and features such as bird boxes that promote local biodiversity and the perforated panels featuring images of Dorset landmarks that reflect our beautiful county.”

The sustainability initiative was supported by Dorchester Town Council and volunteers from People First Dorset, Employ My Ability, The GAP Ecotherapy Project, Thomas Hardye School and Dorset Mind, a local mental health charity.

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