21st Century Schools Ecology
As part of the programme to refurbish and build new schools, the 21st Century Schools team and construction contractors will protect and enhance on site ecology.
Why is protecting and enhancing ecology important?
In simple terms, ecology refers to the relationship and interactions between organisms and their environment. If an ecosystem is healthy then those interactions are in balance which means plants and animals can thrive. When ecosystems are thriving and full of diverse species then they can deliver positive benefits for humans like cleaner air and water, providing welcoming spaces for recreation and relaxation, and helping to prevent local flooding.
From a local to global level, our ecosystems are threatened by climate change, overextraction and excessive resource use so we all need to help improve these ecosystems wherever possible. Construction in particular can have negative impacts during and after a building is completed if careful measures are not taken to protect the wildlife and habitats within and surrounding the site.
Without healthy local ecosystems we will lose some of our best loved species within a generation; including the hedgehog, turtle dove, red squirrel and adders.
Enhancing habitat areas is one of the sustainability measures we undertake to achieve the BREEAM Excellence standard. This also helps us to meet our duties as a public body under the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 by protecting and enhancing biodiversity and healthy functioning ecosystems.
Therefore, for all these reasons it is important to protect and enhance ecology as much as possible within our sites.
How do we help ecology on our sites?
At the beginning of October 2020, Year 4 pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg (YGBM) and Council officers from the 21st Century Schools team and the Countryside team investigated the new retention basins at the YGBM site.
Read our case study
In April 2021, pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Morgannwg’s (YGBM) School Council and officers from the Council’s 21st Century Schools team and contractor ISG Construction investigated the new habitat areas at the YGBM site.
Read our case study
The 21st Century Schools team and construction contractors are also helping the environment through delivering energy efficient buildings, integrating low-carbon materials, and creating options for active travel to our school sites.
The team are also enhancing ecology in the wider Vale through supporting community gardens. Find out more by visiting our community benefits webpage.