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Royal Road community planting day

Promoting biodiversity

A greener way of living

Clarion Housing Group’s homes and developments are part of a much bigger picture – the landscape we share with the natural world.

Biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate. We’re committed to ensuring that our developments will deliver a net gain in biodiversity. They will be places where both people and nature thrive.

New developments

We’re introducing new development standards based on the Building with Nature framework. This is part of our commitment to create developments that make a positive difference to the local environment.  

As part of our action to promote biodiversity we’re planting a new tree for every new home we build. We’re also pushing for improvements on the environmental performance of our construction sites.

The framework puts high-quality green infrastructure at the heart of placemaking. It has six core standards, based on:

  • Optimising multifunctionality and connectivity
  • Positively responding to the climate emergency
  • Maximising environmental net gains
  • Championing a context-driven approach
  • Creating distinctive places
  • Securing effective place-keeping

There are also standards covering wellbeing, water, and wildlife, based on:

  • Bringing nature closer to people
  • Supporting equitable and inclusive places
  • Delivering climate resilient water management
  • Bringing water closer to people
  • Delivering wildlife enhancement
  • Underpinning nature’s recovery

Monitoring impact of new homes

We’re using the Building Research Establishment’s SmartWaste environmental reporting tool. This allows us to monitor metrics such as:

  • waste production
  • CO2 emissions
  • energy and water consumption.

We’re also using a biodiversity metric developed by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, and Natural England.

This enables us to work out the biodiversity values of sites we are working on. It helps us to ensure that we have an impact that increases biodiversity. This can mean making small - but significant - changes such as planting a tree for every new home we build.

Seeking new approaches

Innovations promoting biodiversity are among the ideas sought by our annual William Sutton Prize for Sustainability and Placemaking.

Existing homes and residents

We work with residents to make green spaces more wildlife-friendly, increasing biodiversity, through simple steps such as installing bird boxes and feeders, and planting trees and wild flowers.

Through our charitable foundation Clarion Futures we support projects aimed at increasing appreciation for nature and the environment.

In partnership with the Backyard Nature campaign we’re supporting community programmes bringing young people closer to nature.

One example of this is the Backyard Nature Green Youth Board. This launched in 2021. It’s challenging the social housing sector to improve its approach to green spaces. It will also give small grants to local environmental community projects.

Clare Miller

“We are looking forward to working with the Green Youth Board in ways that enable them to harness their power, become leaders in their own communities and challenge us all to do more to protect our planet.”

Clare Miller, Chief Executive of Clarion Housing Group

Connecting with nature

We helped more than 3,300 young people connect with the environment in 2020-21. This is the result of our partnerships with organisations such as Backyard Nature, OrganicLea, and The National Parks.

Planting days to improve outdoor spaces, and organised visits to green spaces were among the activities we supported.

We are also a member of the Green Spaces Advisory Board which aims to develop biodiversity measurement metrics and share examples of best practice in managing green spaces and enhancing biodiversity. 

“I like doing all of it. I like planting some beans. It makes me feel happy. I love the trees because they’re growing so well and everyone will be happy when they see them. The spiders and ants will be happy too.”

Mayzie, one of our young residents involved in our outdoor projects.

Next steps

Here are some of the things we are currently working on as part of our work to promote biodiversity in our existing homes and future developments:

  • Creating a Neighbourhood Standard - including green infrastructure - for communities.
  • Implementing new development standards for green space and biodiversity, set against metrics.
  • Expanding the environmental programmes supported by Clarion Futures.
  • Developing a sustainable procurement strategy that focuses on the use of products from sustainable, ethical and responsible sources.

Homes for wildlife

The needs of local wildlife are a key part of our regeneration of the Barne Barton estate in Plymouth. The scheme’s green infrastructure has been recognised with a Building with Nature Design Award. The new development will include areas set aside for wildlife, new trees, and the creation of a green pathway.

It’ll also feature:

  • 70 bird boxes to provide homes for swifts
  • 21 boxes for songbirds
  • 9 tubes for bats to live in
  • Hedgehog highways between allotments and private gardens
Find out more