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Life On Land

Northumbria University is bringing together researchers who are focused on justice for people and our planet for current and future generations. We are committed to supporting the Life on Land Goal through careful management of biodiversity on our estate and by influencing and informing the practices of other organisations.

In the Spotlight: Wildlife Trade Research

The Environmental and Global Justice research team provide a distinctive approach by addressing concerns about people and concerns about the environment through multiple disciplines including Criminology, Law, Political Economy and Sociology. Dr Tanya Wyatt, Professor of Criminology, conducted research on the wildlife trade between the UK and Mexico. She identified that both legal and illegal wildlife trade is contributing not only to the extinction of species and environmental degradation, but also to instability, violence and unhealthy physical environments for human communities.

At a Glance: From Our Research to Our Operations

  • Our Environmental Sustainability Policy includes our commitment to support biodiversity.
  • We audit the biodiversity on our estate every two years, with many additional student projects monitoring performance and identifying scope for further improvement. The audit forms the basis of our Biodiversity Action Plan, overseen by a staff and student working group.
  • Our Construction and Refurbishment Procedure requires that any planning and development activity on campus is undertaken in accordance with our Biodiversity Action Plan, which includes our Biodiversity Map, showing areas on campus with biodiversity value that require protection.  The procedure also ensures that we undertake any building works in compliance with planning regulations, which may involve wildlife surveys and management plans e.g. bat conservation.
  • We are members of the Newcastle Biodiversity Group, which brings together practitioners and academics from across Newcastle to collaborate and work together to support biodiversity across the city.  Members include representatives from Northumbria University, the NHS, Newcastle City Council Parks Department and Newcastle University. The group is actively working to encourage large-scale wild flower panting across the city and supports the North East Community Forest project.
  • Our research team, including Emily Henderson, Katherine Baldock, Mark Goddard, Andy Suggitt ran two events in February and March 2023 on the topic of ‘Connecting People with Nature in our Cities’. The aim of the events was to consider how, in working more closely together, we might amplify our shared efforts of increasing the nature we have in our cities, and people’s connections with our cities’ nature.
  • We partnered with the International Sensor Project and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to develop and test a rapid assessment method for forest fragments and biodiversity conservation in the Dipterocarp rainforests of South-East Asia. This method will help to expand and prioritise conservation outside of nature reserves and into the wider landscape, enabling communities to get the value of local habitats properly recognised.
  • Andy Suggitt and Miranda Prendergast-Miller are part of the steering group and delivery of 'Farming for Carbon and Nature', a project led by Students Acting for Sustainability (SOS-UK), the environmental arm of the NUS. This is project that will conduct biodiversity surveys and improvements (similar to biodiversity net gain) at 25+ universities across the UK, training students, university staff, local farmers and other members of the community in how to best manage university farmland and estates for both biodiversity and carbon capture.
  • We are members of a number of net zero and nature recovery initiatives, including on-the-ground restoration project 'Wansbeck restoration for climate change', which will restore 162ha of semi-natural habitat in partnership with Groundwork, Natural England and other local partners. In collaboration with NECCO, the Forestry Commission and other regional partners, we have also produced a carbon budget for natural and semi-natural habitats of the North East- the first such estimates for a region of the UK.
  • Working in partnership with Urban Green Newcastle, we have conducted pollinator research at four sites this year, which are exemplar sites as part of the Beelines Project.The project will create a network of 45 nectar-rich public sites, aiming to plant 2,500 trees, 25,000 bulbs and creating 18 hectares of grassland. The work will target young people, with traineeships available including for young offenders, alongside volunteering, and schools work opportunities.
  • Our Urban Pollinators research project investigates the difference between the plants favoured by city and country bees using spaces on campus to inform their research as part of the Living Lab approach.
  • Northumbria City Campus features Ellison Garden, a beautiful space in which students and staff can relax in, and is home to our allotment.  It is also the primary location of Green Zone - our new garden project focussing on the importance of being outdoors, welfare and being sustainable.
  • We have achieved Gold Hedgehog Friendly Campus Status from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.  The scheme encourages universities to support this declining species. Our staff and student team are undertaking a range of activities from litter picks to delivering training and guidance.
  • Our students conduct a number of biodiversity studies and surveys throughout the North East, supporting other organisations in enhancing their contributions to Life on Land. Our Grounds Maintenance Policy and Grounds Maintenance Procedure set out the measures we take to protect and enhance wildlife habitats around our campuses.
  • Our Discharges to Water Procedure includes our water quality standards for discharges. The Policy sets out the measures we take to ensure that we dispose of water responsibly and minimise risk of pollution or threat to animal or human health. Our procedures for dealing with an external spillage are detailed here.
  • Professor Alister Scott works with various planning authorities on a natural capital planning tool that values ecosystem services. He highlights the critical importance of a green infrastructure in cities and explores the numerous benefits nature brings.

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