Bulford butterfly protection project
Under the Army Basing Programme, Aspire Defence Capital Works (ADCW) is not just providing homes for soldiers. They’re creating habitats for Britain’s butterflies too.
Sustainability is at the heart of Project Allenby/Connaught and a key priority for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in its management of the MOD estate.
Wildlife conservation is therefore integral to the approach undertaken by ADCW in delivery of the construction programme to support the Army Basing Programme (ABP).
Environmental teams work to safeguard species native to the garrisons by, for example, incorporating bat bricks to building designs, creation of artificial badger setts and relocating reptiles to green spaces.
And outside the wire, they’re playing a key role in safeguarding the future of butterflies across South Wiltshire.
A conservation project, led by a sub-group of the Wiltshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation, was launched in 2016 and has been planting trees resistant to Dutch Elm Disease (DED) near colonies of White-letter Hairstreak butterflies.
The new stock of trees will cater for the butterflies in case their existing host elms are lost to the disease. Newly hatched larvae seek out the buds of flowers and leaves on the trees when they emerge in springtime.
Mike Lockwood, Dimensional Control Manager for ADCW and a member of the DIO Larkhill & Westdown Conservation Group explained:
“This is a long-term project because the elms usually take around ten years to reach maturity and flower. So far we’ve identified a number of recipient colonies and selected several elm cultivars which are suitable for growing on the chalky soils of South Wiltshire.”
One of the sites chosen for initial trial planting was Beacon Hill, Bulford. Varieties of DED-resistant elms were planted alongside small-leaved lime, to provide an alternative foodplant for the larvae and a source of nectar for the butterflies to maximise their chances of long-term survival.
“We have the opportunity to include elm cultivars in our own planting plans on PAC garrisons. There is also the possibility of engaging with the Service Families’ housing projects, to put forward the idea of planting these elms on their sites in the future.”
Butterfly conservation work is also taking place at Larkhill Garrison, where Mike is involved in mapping species distribution and creation of a wildflower meadow. He is a regular speaker on the ‘conservation circuit’ and an expert contributor to DIO’s Sanctuary magazine and other ecology newsletters.
Senior ADCW staff have commended Mike for his dedication.
Mark George, Pre-Construction Director, ADCW, said:
“Mike recently celebrated 20 years at KBR and is a huge example of commitment beyond the day job.”