The Trent & Tame River Valleys Futurescape would have once contained a wealth of wetland habitats, such as reedbed and floodplain grazing marsh.  However, over the last hundred years or so, most of these wetlands have been lost due to drainage, development, agricultural improvement or neglect.  Few wetlands remain.  Most of those that survive are now fragmented and isolated from the main river.

A ‘futurescape’ is an area identified by the RSPB as a priority for landscape-scale conservation.

Case study date - 2014

Opportunities provided by mineral site restoration and minerals planning

With nearly 4,000ha of mineral sites within the Trent & Tame River Valleys, the minerals industry is uniquely placed to halt and reverse this massive and ongoing decline in biodiversity, primarily through the landscape-scale creation of wetland habitat during mineral site restoration.  In order for this potential to be realised, it is essential to influence the minerals plans that set out the policies for how these mineral sites should be managed and restored.

Minerals planning in the Trent and Tame River Valleys is dealt with through six different minerals plans – those produced by Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.  With all six mineral plans being developed over a similar time period, there is a unique opportunity to develop a strategic, landscape-scale and cross-boundary approach to habitat creation in the Trent & Tame.

Figure 1. The River Trent catchment and the Trent & Tame River Valleys Futurescape (blue shading)

Trent & Tame Workshops

In order to develop this strategic, landscape-scale and cross-boundary approach to habitat creation in the Trent & Tame, the RSPB and Nature After Minerals (NAM) have organised two workshops on this issue – the first in July 2013 and the second in July 2014.

Both workshops were attended by representatives from the relevant county councils (minerals planners and county ecologists), Wildlife Trusts, Natural England, the Environment Agency, the Central Rivers Initiative, the Trent Rivers Trust and the Mineral Products Association, the industry representative body.   The workshops were generously supported by the EU LIFE+ Communications Programme.

During the first workshop, in July 2013, participants:

  • agreed a vision for the Trent & Tame
  • identified a range of ideas for how a strategic, landscape-scale, cross-boundary approach could be developed
  • ranked the biodiversity principles that should be included in mineral plans
  • identified priority areas for the biodiversity-led restoration of mineral sites.

The second workshop in July 2014, focussed on how this approach could be addressed within the mineral plans, both individually and collectively.  The main recommendation put forward by the participants was that an ‘advocacy document’ should be produced, which sets out a vision -  and identifies the key opportunities – for landsape-scale, wetland habitat creation through mineral site restoration in the Trent & Tame .  This document would then be used as a promotional tool when engaging with key decision makers, such as Mineral Planning Authority planning committees.

At both workshops, all of the participants supported a strategic, landscape-scale, cross-boundary approach to biodiversity delivery through minerals plans in the Trent & Tame.  They also indicated that they would be willing to help develop this visionary and co-ordinated approach.

Ultimately, the aspiration is to achieve the vision of the Trent & Tame River Valleys as

a wetland artery where partners work together and wildlife flows from source to sea in an attractive, multi-functional and inspiring landscape, loved and valued by all’.

The information set out within this advisory sheet in no way constitutes legal or regulatory advice and is based on circumstances and facts as they existed at the time Nature After Minerals compiled this document. Should there be a change in circumstances or facts, then this may adversely affect any  recommendations, opinions or findings contained within this document