Our expansion plans include a walk on the wild side

Demand for Melcourt peat-free products has increased across the board to the point that we need to expand our production facility by creating more storage and mixing capacity. This means going into land which is immediately adjacent to us, a move, on the face of it, which is extremely straightforward even though it involves an investment of around £250,000. Enter stage left, Great Crested Newts and, stage right, Badgers.

There is an established colony of the newts very close to the ground we are going to develop so consultants have installed a newt fence with traps to ensure that any of the creatures that have strayed onto our land can be caught and transferred to the other, undeveloped side. The white fabric in this picture is a temporary barrier whilst the black one will be permanent.

On the other side of the plot are established badger setts which also have to be permanently protected from damage by our works and our ongoing activities.

The extra cost of this conservation work is around £25k but as a rurally based business that tries to be environmentally responsible we’re not complaining. Of course, we are keeping our fingers crossed, that neither newts nor badgers hold up our plans!