Biological diversity, commonly referred to as biodiversity, embodies the rich tapestry of life on Earth, with each species intricately woven into complex ecosystems. These ecosystems furnish us with invaluable resources essential for survival, from sustenance to clean water. The interconnectedness within these ecosystems is fundamental, and without biodiversity, the fragile balance sustaining life would falter.

The 2019 State of Nature report revealed a 13% decline in wildlife abundance in the UK since the 1970s. This decline is largely attributed to changes in land use, including the conversion of native habitats for agriculture or urban development. The loss of biodiversity poses a significant threat to ecosystem stability and the overall sustainability of our planet.

Approach to mitigating biodiversity loss

In response to this critical issue, the team behind Thorpe Park Leeds, a prominent mixed-use destination spanning 300 acres with over 40% dedicated to green space, has committed to supporting biodiversity proactively. Instead of relying solely on biodiversity net gain offsetting, Thorpe Park Leeds prioritises the protection of existing habitats, the creation of new local ecosystems and the delivery of long-term benefits for nature and surrounding communities.

Collaborating with renowned landscape architect Ares, Thorpe Park Leeds has implemented several initiatives to combat biodiversity loss:

  • Green corridor development: A visionary ‘green corridor’ was established, linking the Park from east to west. This corridor not only increases public green spaces but also provides a thriving environment for local wildlife.
  • Pond creation and eco-friendly practices: Six large ponds were created to manage flood risks and serve as habitats for various species. Native plants were introduced to support birds, amphibians and insects, enhancing the ecosystem’s health.
  • Preservation and expansion of greenery: Ancient Oak trees were preserved and hundreds of new trees were planted. This effort enhances biodiversity and expands the natural habitat for a wide range of species.
  • Optimisation of Green Spaces: Green spaces were optimised for the physical and mental wellbeing of visitors. Amenities like seating, walking trails and a ‘Green Bridge’ were added to enhance human enjoyment and ensure safe wildlife movement.

Long-term commitment and future initiatives

Thorpe Park Leeds views these efforts as part of an ongoing commitment to sustainability. Regular stakeholder engagement and collaboration with local schools and community groups for wildlife-friendly projects highlight their dedication. Annual wildlife surveys underscore their commitment to monitoring and refining strategies for greater impact.

Thorpe Park Leeds stands as a model for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation. Their initiatives align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 15, showcasing their ability to support biodiversity while fulfilling present needs without compromising the future.