A report that has taken more than 12 months to complete by Ulster Wildlife, in partnership with the Mannok Environmental Team, and that examines every area of Mannok’s landholdings has been completed.

The comprehensive, forward-thinking biodiversity report, ‘Natural Assets Action Plans (NAAP)’, measures and record the environmental status and biodiversity of each area of Mannok’s landholdings, which span almost 2,000 acres in 47 separate locations on both sides of the Border.

It also provides a roadmap for the conservation, restoration and enhancement of every area to help meet Mannok’s sustainability targets.

The report was launched at a dedicated event on Tuesday, September 21, attended by NI Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Edwin Poots; the Ulster Wildlife delivery team; Mannok’s Environmental Team and company Directors; and local political representatives and community partners.

Presenting the key findings from the report at the event on behalf of Ulster Wildlife, Dr. Michael Meharg and Prof. Jim McAdam highlighted the significance of the work undertaken, which provides a thorough and detailed assessment of various land types including grasslands, wetlands, woodlands, ponds and quarries.

Practical measures that the report facilitates incude improving monitoring, measuring, and reporting of biodiversity; calculating and maximising the carbon absorbing and storing figures in the lands’ soil and vegetation; and using Mannok landholdings for rewilding the natural landscape ensuring the wildlife, weather and land are functioning positively together, as well as a number of other key measures.

Mannok commissioned the report in order to understand its natural assets to provide a baseline for the enhancement of the local environment and varieties of wildlife in the short-, medium- and long-term, said the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Liam McCaffrey.

He added: “This report is a comprehensive one, achieving our ambition to create an exemplar study which is not selective in areas of land which it considers, but covers all Mannok assets.

“Already it has started to change our perspectives of what was previously considered wasteland. Now, we can see opportunities for careful and considered restoration into valuable natural assets for the future.”

He continued: “The detail and comprehensive nature of the report demonstrates the enormity of the work that was involved in completing the assessment, and I would like to recognize the work of the excellent team brought together by Ulster Wildlife, as well as our own team in Mannok, Stephen Linden, Oisin Lynch, Lisa Murphy and Michael McGoldrick.

“We must and will now take ownership of this report and the actions contained in it. The report is full of very valuable recommendations on what we can practically do over the next three to five years and beyond.

“We will commit resources, time, people and finances to develop the recommendations.”

Minster Poots acknowledged the environmental leadership shown by Mannok, and said it will greatly contribute to the NI Executive’s Green Growth Strategy, and both the Biodiversity Strategy and Peatland Strategy currently being developed.

Mannok Sustainability Manager, Paul Monaghan, discussed how the action plans would form a crucial part of Mannok’s overarching sustainability strategy.

The significant benefit to the community, and Mannok’s commitment to sustainability, was acknowledged by Dr. Lisa McIlveen, Deputy MD of Business in the Community, who said: “It takes a brave organisation to step up and do some of the top things in what it means to be a responsible, sustainable business, and that’s why I have to really commend Mannok for doing this piece of work, and also their whole approach to sustainability.

“There are no ‘no-go’ areas whenever it comes to Mannok discussing what it means to be a sustainable and responsible business.

“It’s so refreshing for me to work with an organisation that takes that type of approach to sustainability.”