30 March 2015 by James Webster
BBC Berkshire recently visited Heathrow as part of a series of programmes that are looking behind the scenes at the Airport. The show visited the Twin Rivers site where a team form OHES environmental where carrying out some electro fishing as part of the routine management and monitoring of this site. They then visited Mayfield Farm where Russell Knight, Heathrow’s Environmental operations Manager, discussed how the system of reedbeds on the site help treat contaminated runoff from the runways.
Both these sites are managed by Adam Cheeseman, from EHM Ltd, who is responsible for managing and enhancing the biodiversity value of these two sites as well as the other Heathrow Conservation Sites. The Twin River site (Longford and Duke of Northumberlands’ Rivers) runs for about three km directly to the West of Heathrow Terminal five and the ends of the runways. These rivers were formally heavily culverted being diverted as part of the T5 construction they became open channels with a number of ecological enhancements incorporated. As discussed in the video these channels now support a whole host of different species and have become an ecologically rich habitat compared to what they were before their diversion.
The Mayfield Farm site is a constructed wetland site with approximately 3 ha of reedbed that forms part of the Heathrow Pollution Control System (PCS). The main purpose of the reedbeds and associated reservoirs is to treat runoff from the runways however they also provide a excellent habitat for a number of species. The site, as you may expect, attracts a number of reedbed specialist species including reed warblers and wainscot moths as well as some wading birds such as lapwings and sandpipers. There are also a couple of smaller ponds on site which provide a good habitat for amphibians as well as grassland areas which support a diverse flora and invertebrate fauna.
To view a highlight of the programme follow this link; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yUIz-B5P9w&feature=iv&src_vid=9yUIz-B5P9w&annotation_id=annotation_785652871
For the management of these sites Heathrow, with assistance from EHM Ltd, has achieved and consistently retained the Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark Award. EHM Ltd assists Heathrow in managing their off-airport conservation sites as well as providing consultancy services around general landscaping and airfield habitat management.