Building a Barratt home for nature


The RSPB's 'give nature a home' slogan has taken on new meaning as Barratt Developments agrees to incorporate 'green' infrastructure in thousands of new house-building projects.

Barratt Developments has joined forces with the RSPB to set a new benchmark for nature-friendly housing developments — the first national agreement of its kind in the UK. The partnership between the nation's best-known homebuilder and Europe's largest nature conservation charity comes at a time when much of the UK's urban wildlife is in trouble, with around 60 per cent of insects, birds and mammals in decline.

The first development to pioneer the new approach will be at Kingsbrook, Aylesbury Vale, where 2,450 new homes, new schools and community facilities will be designed to reverse this trend and put nature at the heart of the proposals. The development is one of the biggest Barratt sites currently in planning.

Around 50 per cent of Kingsbrook will be green infrastructure, and will include orchards, Hedgehog highways, newt ponds, tree-lined avenues, fruit trees in gardens, bat, owl and swift nestboxes and nectar-rich wild flowers for pollinators such as bees. The development will also include 250 acres of wildlife-rich open space — the size of 100 football pitches — accessible to all residents of Aylesbury Vale.

Song Thrush
Barratt's new development at Kingsbrook will benefit declining species such as Song Thrush (Photo: Nick Appleton)

Barratt Developments and the RSPB have signed an agreement to incorporate some of the principles developed for Kingsbrook across the construction firm's future developments. The three-year partnership will include reviewing its landscaping and planting guidance to enhance wildlife habitats.

Welcoming the partnership, Chief Executive of the RSPB, Mike Clarke, said: "With hundreds of thousands of homes needed in the next few years, now is the time for conservationists and homebuilders to pull together to ensure the wildlife is boosted rather than ousted in the process. We are confident that many positive steps can be taken to build wildlife into new housing developments, giving nature and people a home and increasing quality of life, and all relatively simply and cheaply."

Mark Clare, Barratt Developments Group Chief Executive added: "Working with the RSPB we can make the built environment and shared areas of our developments as nature-friendly as possible, and at the same time the developments will become more attractive places to live.

"Our aim is that by 2020 we can demonstrate that we will have a net positive impact on ecology and biodiversity across our development portfolio. The centrepiece of the partnership will begin at Aylesbury, where we will work together with the RSPB to combine knowledge and advice, from the planning process through the supply chain to customer occupation and sustainable living.

"For too long, nature conservation has often been seen to be in conflict with economic development and job creation. Our partnership with the RSPB will demonstrate how we protect and enhance the biodiversity of the local area, benefiting the economy, creating employment and improving health and wellbeing for our customers and the communities we create."

Additional features of the partnership include:

  • Working with the RSPB to share best practice on supply chain management
  • Engaging with employees and raising awareness of wildlife-friendly best practice
  • Seconding a biodiversity expert from the RSPB to advise the company
  • Using RSPB advice and expertise on biodiversity to inspire Barratt homebuyers to help nature
Written by: RSPB