Supporting Bromley’s unique spaces

The London Borough of Bromley
The London Borough of Bromley | 2022 | Bromley

CASE STUDY | Bromley

With the largest areas of countryside, woodland cover and green space remaining in London, the borough of Bromley contains a wide range of semi-natural habitat types including ancient woodlands, wetlands, chalk, acid and neutral grasslands, veteran trees, farmlands, lowland heath and valley mire.

Bromley has nearly 100 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs). This includes six Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), three of which – Crofton Woods, Keston & Hayes Commons and Downe Bank & High Elms – are owned by Bromley Council, and five Local Nature Reserves (LNRs).

Part of the borough is also included within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Altogether, this makes the borough of Bromley a unique and important area of mixed spaces – each of which need specialist care and management.

Bromley contains around one third of London’s ancient woodlands and nearly one quarter of Bromley’s Green Belt area is wooded.

In June 2015 idverde became responsible for the management of the parks, green spaces and countryside service. That relationship was extended in April 2019, for a further 16 years as part of the biggest arrangement of its kind in Bromley.

More projects for The London Borough of Bromley

Supporting Bromley’s unique spaces

In 2015, idverde was awarded the contract to deliver the London Borough of Bromley’s Parks Management Service. This included the management of local wildlife sites, nature reserves and SSSIs. In addition, we also took on the management of over 60 woodland sites owned by the borough, covering an area of 553 hectares. These woodlands are ancient semi-natural woodland, wet woodland, secondary, mature scrub, with areas of coppice and a small area of conifer plantation.

With increased responsibility for sites of importance for nature conservation and biodiversity as well as for community-focused activities, idverde has been developing innovative schemes and programmes of work to safeguard biodiversity in Bromley, despite a challenging economic climate.

bromley case study unique spaces
bromley case study with rspb

2017: Launching our RSPB partnership

“Biodiversity has always been a key priority in the work we deliver,” says John Pemberton, idverde’s Biodiversity Development Manager. “The partnership with RSPB is key to raising the profile of biodiversity within the organisation from a consideration in our work to it to being a true organisational priority. That evolution in mindset has been inspiring to witness since the partnership began.”

The exciting partnership was formed between idverde and the RSPB which saw a dedicated RSPB team member based in Bromley on a full-time basis to support idverde to deliver on idverde’s Biodiversity Action Plan for Bromley.

It was an innovative move in the industry, and underlined our commitment to maintaining, enhancing and restoring our clients greenspaces with respect to biodiversity.

In 2018 we initiated some site specific projects based upon input and support from the RSPB, such as wetland restoration, heathland restoration, and broadening our biological monitoring programmes. Many of Bromley’s parks are green oases within a larger peri urban landscape. As managers of all these parks and green spaces, our work with the RSPB has allowed us to really look at biodiversity in the borough holistically, and not limiting our work to the designated SSSIs and nature reserves.

RSPB partnership highlights

  • Discovering and recording new species records for Bromley and sites in conjunction with local stakeholders
  • 25% increase in naturalised grassland, mostly within urban parks
  • Working with local stakeholders to create positive changes for landscape connectivity
  • Enhanced surveying and species recording
  • Obtaining £155,700 of funding for habitat management projects
  • Change of management regimes to benefit biodiversity supported by RSPB specialist advice
  • Range of training delivered to idverde staff and volunteers
  • Implementing an evidenced-based approach to conservation

Building local partnerships

In 2019, we organised a joint work day with RSPB staff, Bromley Countryside Volunteers and the idverde national board of directors.

Our Leadership Team donned their uniforms and joined the rest of the teams for the day – managing a steep area of chalk grassland that contains rare and threatened species. The team was tasked with mowing and raking off most of the existing flora, so that the site remained nutrient-poor and therefore species-rich. One area was left unmown as a refuge for invertebrates and small mammals.

In total, more than 30 people worked as part of the team for the day, building real team respect and rapport and making a significant difference at the same time.

Bromley Working team

Putting species first

Some of our wildlife-related projects include:

  • Brilliant Butterflies – created and restored chalk grassland habitat to form part of a regional wildlife corridor
  • Urban Parks bat box surveys
  • Biodiversity workshops for 52 local allotment groups
  • Habitat improvement for priority species such as hazel dormouse, European adder and great crested newt

A joint biodiversity conference

As part of our partnership work, we held a thought-provoking conference to discuss building biodiversity and climate resilience into urban green spaces. The conference was held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – another idverde client.

The event saw professionals from a range of industries come together to share practical and affordable solutions to communicate what is already possible and discuss what new innovations the landscaping industry can develop to address biodiversity loss and climate change.

“We have a remarkable opportunity to ensure that we are giving a home to nature, while helping residents benefit from access to green spaces and wonderful life pleasures such as birdsong. It is vital that we continue to see climate resilience alongside wildlife protection as key considerations within the industry, and with so many realistic natural climate solutions, partnerships such as ours will help ensure that we can live in harmony with the wildlife around us and actively benefit ourselves.” BECCY SPEIGHT, CEO OF THE RSPB.

The Bromley Biodiversity Plan

In 2021, Bromley Council renewed it’s Bromley Biodiversity Plan, which is a five-year strategy. The plan aims to sustain local species and habitats for future generations, and to put a long-term strategy in place to conserve, protect and enhance biodiversity in the borough.

As part of the Bromley Biodiversity Partnership, we produced the idverde Biodiversity Action Plan for Bromley which is an ambitious and exciting blueprint for other local nature-based development plans.

Our most recent projects

Bromley Biodiverse Allotments Programme

Countryside Stewardship Agreements

Further development of a conservation grazing programme for species rich grassland

Woodland regeneration work

Extension of the Brilliant Butterflies programme

Our partnership in the future

“I am incredibly excited about what we can deliver here – and across the other projects where we work in partnership with the RSPB – in the future. The partnership has gone from strength to strength and has resulted in positive change to local areas and local communities. More importantly, it has resulted in open sharing of expertise and understanding which is then reflected in all our work across the UK – bringing considered nature-based solutions to everything we do.” JOHN PEMBERTON, idverde