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Workers take time out to conserve wildlife habitats in Norfolk

Twenty volunteers from electricity firm UK Power Networks have been working with Norfolk Wildlife Trust this week to conserve some of the county’s most precious wildlife habitats.

From Press releases - 29 September 2014 12:00 AM

Twenty volunteers from electricity firm UK Power Networks have been working with Norfolk Wildlife Trust this week to conserve some of the county’s most precious wildlife habitats.

Two teams of staff took advantage of the company’s volunteer week to lend some muscle power to conservation work at NWT Thompson Common in Thetford and at NWT Upton Broad and Marshes, in South Walsham.

UK Power Networks employees are entitled to take two paid days a year, volunteering with local charities, community and conservation groups, as part of the company’s established community scheme. 

The newly-launched volunteer week (22 to 28 September 2014) has raised the profile of the scheme across the business. UK Power Networks staff have already spent 2,200 hours this year helping their local communities.

On Thursday (25 September), a team of five swapped their desks and office phones for loppers and bow saws and set about cutting and clearing scrub and small alders from five glacial ponds, known as pingos, at NWT Thompson Common. 

UK Power Networks sustainability adviser Phil Spiby, who arranged and took part in the event, said: “It was physically demanding but great to be able to see the difference we had made by the end of the day. It’s always good to volunteer for Norfolk Wildlife Trust as they do such fantastic work protecting biodiversity across the county.”

A further 15 members of staff, including engineers, managers and a group of people training to be linesmen/cable jointers got to work clearing sections of wetland in South Walsham, on Wednesday (24 September), under the guidance of the trust.

The team set about raking large sections of fenland at NWT Upton Broad and Marshes, to help prevent scrub encroachment and conserve the rare flora and fauna of the fens.

Steve Ninham, UK Power Networks environment adviser and overhead linesmen, based in Trowse, said: “It was a long and demanding day and it absolutely hammered down with rain after lunch but it was immensely rewarding.

“I have taken part in many community projects over the years, as part of our employee volunteering scheme. It’s great to work for a company that actively encourages us to put something back in this way, and gives us the time off to do it!”

Head of development at Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Nik Khandpur, said: “Much of the conservation work that needs to be carried out on our nature reserves can be very labour intensive, which makes the role of volunteer corporate groups, like these from UK Power Networks, crucial in protecting and managing our sites for wildlife.”