Sizewell power station is a haven for wildlife

Industrial and business sites have become some of the region's most unlikely havens for wildlife, a new report reveals.

The Sizewell B nuclear power station and Lound Lakes, near Lowestoft, are among the places that provide excellent sites for birds, insects and other species, according to research carried out by the Thetford-based British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Last year, staff and volunteers from 57 businesses took part in the BTO-EDF Energy Business Bird Challenge 2010, recording the birds they spotted visiting their sites. The survey also looked at the conservation initiatives carried out and how staff and local people were involved in managing and increasing the biodiversity on the sites involved.

Highlights included work by British Energy and EDF Energy to maintain habitat for the rare Norfolk Hawker Dragonfly at Sizewell B on the Suffolk coast and efforts by Essex and Suffolk Water to maintain wetland habitats for birds at Lound Lakes.

Both projects won coveted BTO Conservation Awards.

Kate Aldridge, BTO challenge organiser, praised the businesses involved. She said: 'The quality of the work being carried out at all of the sites entered in the challenge has been outstanding. The work has ranged from landscape scale lagoon creation, to rare habitat restoration, to the simple provision of nesting opportunities for a wide variety of birds.

'All of the winners should be proud of what they have achieved on their sites.'

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The BTO, which has its headquarters at Thetford, said the conservation work and monitoring carried out on many of the sites was often the result of businesses establishing partnerships with wildlife organisations and members of the community.

BTO Ringing Groups have been welcomed onto many sites and given companies important information on their breeding birds.

Other sites in East Anglia praised by the BTO include King's Dyke nature reserve, near Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire, where Hanson Building Products has provided a habitat for slowworms and marshes for Snipe; Little Paxton Quary, near St Neots, managed by Bardon Aggregates; and Alton Water reservoir, near Ipswich, managed by Anglian Water.

The total number of bird species seen on the participating sites was 266, of which 205 were seen at Rutland water.