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Staffordshire Quarries asks birdwatchers to use caution

June 2017

Two quarries in Staffordshire – Uttoxeter Quarry and Newbold Quarry, located in Barton-under-Needwood – are warning birdwatchers of the dangers of wandering off the designated footpaths on the sites. This comes after they have noticed an increase in the number of birdwatchers climbing over safety barriers to get a better sight of nesting birds.  

Both quarries are operated by leading construction materials supplier Aggregate Industries. Sand and gravel quarries provide perfect opportunities to create both temporary and permanent habitats for wildlife, particularly birds, and both quarries are no exception. However, as they are both operational, with ongoing excavations, it can be very dangerous for the public, particularly if the land becomes unstable without warning.

For that reason, each quarry has signposted warnings around the site, encouraging people to stick to the footpaths. They also have boundary fences in place, to stop people wandering onto the operational parts of the quarry. These barriers are a legal requirement and security guards are in place to man the perimeter. However, increasingly, the security guards are having to stray from their main duties and instead redirect birdwatchers back to the nearest footpath.

Carmella Barbour, Quarry Manager at Newbold Quarry, comments: “We welcome birdwatchers to our quarry to observe and note the birds on our site. In fact, we ask birdwatchers to share their sightings and any logs of the species found on our site. However, recently, we have noticed an increase of visitors ignoring signage, wandering off the footpaths and climbing over safety fences. This is extremely dangerous and could put the life of birdwatchers at risk. Unfortunately, if the issue persists, there is the chance we will have to call on police for extra support to tackle the trespassers.”

Jon Owen, Press and Social Media Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, adds: “Quarries can be ecological havens, especially those with extensive grasslands, woodlands, and lagoons, so they naturally attract birdwatchers. However, we urge nature lovers to be responsible and respect the rules put in place on sites such as Newbold Quarry. This is done for their own health and safety and so the site can remain open for nature lovers to continue to enjoy.”    

For further information about the birdwatching trails at Newbold Quarry, contact the site office on 01283 714404, or for Uttoxeter Quarry contact 01889 566390.

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