During 2021 and 2022 the International Logistics Centre Ltd embarked in conjunction with University of Derby and the De-Carbonise project. The plan was to create a first for a busy logistics centres, which naturally produces a lot of carbon due to the many HGV’s and Fork lift trucks that operate here. To capture the carbon at the ILC needed to create flowers, fauna, shrubs and trees in the immediate location.
University of Derby senior Manager Dr Gary Wright was assigned to the International Logistics Centre to work closely with the teams both at the Carbon trust and ILC.
The areas that were identified as being ground breaking but potentially achievable were:
- Delineation of works areas and visitor / staff areas
- Hard standing
- Waterways / run off into ponds for nature
- Pollinators / Bees
The traditional concrete blocks act a deterrent to would be thieves and people intent on trespassing / illegal parking. We have designed and made within the business extra large planters, these are typically weighing over 1200 kilos and contain many plants selected by University of Derby to produce a good supply of hardy plants / shrubs that also attract pollinators. The look more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, attractive with a duel purpose of being their own living garden space and ram proof by most vehicles including HGV`s up to 7.50 tonnes .
Delineation of Work Areas
The visitor area and staff car park needed separation from the out of bounds works area. To achieve this we again designed a different style of planter. These are taller and of a different size to ensure that personnel cannot climb over them to enter the work space. Typically weighing around 800 kilos we again were advised by University of Derby including site visits that the white flowering Laurel (Prunus Lauro Cerasus) would provide a year round green foliage barrier and was also another good pollinator. Again being ram proof by most vehicles.
In 2020 we laid out the new hard standing and lorry parks areas for visitors, HGV’s and work traffic. We had a unique opportunity to try to incorporate areas of hard standing that wouldn’t be in constant HGV and fork lift use to have the overspill area available for plants that would withstand some driving over. Ironically the typical `weed` often dug up and destroyed by fastidious gardeners are not really weeds at all, they are very hardy and often flowering. Not only great pollinators, they also provide shade and insect / beetle areas which keep birds and other wildlife such as hedgehogs thriving.
So the area was split into 2 to allow 1 acre approximately to be to developed into a plantation, the other typically tarmacked, but we designed the water run off areas into the E A required tank interceptors, which captures any spillage prior to going into the water course. However the tank known also as a `swale‘ had been designed in such a way to allow reeds to develop, to allow pond life and also be self cleansing.
This has worked amazingly well and the swale, which is extremely large has an abundance of frogs and pond life, even now with self setting bull rushes known to be frequented by most birds and even the occasional Kingfishers.
Waterways and run off
The constant use of commercial vehicles plus the potential of a fuel / oil / contamination spillage means that we needed for the main loading areas to be impervious to fluids. To meet the other legal building requirements, we ensured that the other water drainage were all designed from new and re routed, meaning that another circa 650 metres of extra modern drainage was added and or renewed. This is designed to allow a constant level of water in the new swale to ensure that it never runs dry and ruins the new plants and wildlife.
In addition to this the in house Klargester Bioficient runs the clean water run off from the sewerage systems from our commercial offices into the numerous plants and reed beds.
The entire ILC was re-fenced in a green metal palisade fencing, some 800 metres plus gates. This in itself isn’t anything new, however with site visits and advice from University of Derby, we selected another flowering hardy Laurel (Griselinia Littoralis), to mirror the fence line, with a green agricultural netting attached to ensure the laurel didn’t grow through the fence. After only a short space of time, the bushes are now reaching 6 feet high and will provide soon another impenetrable barrier to protect the secure ILC.
This provides another 800 metres of greenery for birds and wildlife, plus the now many pollinators. The new laurel also looks very pleasing on the eye and befits from the vast road frontage the ILC enjoys from the main new Farndon roundabout. This is the new southern gateway to Newark and its important we are presenting our busy commercial logistics operaters as a welcome to visitors to the town. We have not only landscaped some of the areas, we have now created a haven for wildlife, which will continue to improve now by itself. We are a place where our staff feel immersed in nature and this provides a calming influence to our valued staff and visitors alike, plus at breaktime the nature is a welcome change from the stresses of operating in a time sensitive and often quite stressful results based environment.
Its a modern logistics centre, with initially cleaver research and development of how we can allow nature to survive and be bio diverse in an award winning logistics firm. Whilst we have broken new ground we have achieved such large gains with a passion for research and development of practical new ideas through our whole logistics process and at every stage of remodelling the ILC.
There is lots more to come, solar panels, living roofs for our warehouses, rain water catch tanks …however already to date what we have achieved plus all our waste is now recycled with zero land fill, we have at least set our position of a forward thinking environmental caring nternational logistics firm.
Pollinators / Bees
In 2017 we at the ILC introduced 6 bee hives as a trial in one of the fields we own, adjacent to the main works areas. This remains fairly constant with around 120 kilos of honey being produced, 20 kilos per hive. The 6 beehives were all healthy, however there was not a significant increase in numbers of bees or honey. This was our gauge for ascertaining the health of nature in and around the ILC. In 2021, with the R and D development programme and on the advice of the University of Derby, we planted certain species of floral and fauna and as aforementioned as detailed already replaced concrete block with planters, put in a variety of other bio-diversified measures, all unique and a UK first for a busy commercial, HGV carbon-producing centre.
At the end of the project in July 2023, in reviewing the results of 2021/22 research and development programme, we now have 65 bee hives, producing 1700 KILOS (meaning the top end of 27 kilos per hive, this is a very healthy bee hive) this proves not only can the land sustain now more bees, the hive yield has increased by approximately 30%, this is the simplest back-to-back gauge we can prove.
However, the success which can now been seen and verified here at the ILC, is only part of the main UK concerns of a reduction in pollinators. Much of the pollination for food crops and wild plants is carried by the wild bees and hover flies. Furthermore, birds scatter seeds thus producing the self-setting saplings which become bushes, trees and shrubs. Whilst its not an infallible indicator of the projects success, it is indicative especially regarding wild pollinators, in the turn around from simple crop-farmed fields to a nature filled lLC.
Attached is a report which reflects the clear concern for pollinators and therefore all life in the UK