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Green fields

Biodiversity and nature

Enabling the recovery of nature

Our homes and developments are part of a much bigger picture – the landscape we share with the natural world.

Biodiversity is in major decline, with Natural England’s fourth State of Nature report stating that the UK is one of the world’s most nature depleted countries in the world, with species declining by 19% since the 1970s.

Our long-term ambition is to enable the recovery of nature through our approach to new development and the ways in which we manage our existing homes and neighbourhoods. This recovery will be framed through the lens of ecosystem services, allowing us to deliver Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) in a way which optimises benefits for the health, wellbeing and resilience of our residents.

In order to deliver against this ambition, our Nature Recovery Strategy outlines our targets and approach to delivering BNG across the entire group. We will target a measurable BNG above the mandatory 10% level required for all new development projects, aspiring for a 20% uplift. And on existing neighbourhoods, we will target a 10% voluntary measured BNG uplift on up to 5 communities per year.

In order to maximize the biodiversity benefit across both our new developments and our existing homes and neighbourhoods, we will ensure our projects follow the biodiversity mitigation hierarchy and deliver maximum gains on-site. We will then place a priority for any ‘off-site’ development net gains to be delivered across local communities which Clarion manage and own, before finally reviewing the need for further off-site solutions, if required.

Nature recovery strategy

Our comprehensive approach is designed to reverse biodiversity decline within our homes and developments.

Read our report
Woman hanging bird feeder

New developments

In addition to our group-wide Nature Recovery Strategy, we utilise the Building with Nature framework. It puts high-quality green infrastructure at the heart of place making.

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

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.

Young girl with father planting
Cain Green, Clarion resident

“The environment has always been a huge passion of mine and so when the chance to join the Green Youth Board came up, it was a no brainer. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to develop new skills, as well as help make positive changes to my local community that will improve people’s connection to nature and help boost wellbeing. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved and look forward to seeing what happens next.”

Cain Green, Green Youth Board member

Connecting with nature

In 2022/23, we supported 551 young people to undertake green research in our communities. Our Green Peer Researchers mapped local community spaces and came up with project ideas to enhance those places.

  • 549 total hours volunteered by researchers
  • 114,175 m2 was surveyed as part of Green Peer Research
  • 1,979 direct & 25,646 indirect beneficiaries
Royal Road residents participating in community planting day

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
Two birds in bird house

“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.

Making a difference

Find more detailed information in our Making a difference report.
Read our report
Clarion residents planting in communal garden