End of an era at former BBC transmitter station, Rampisham Down, marks a new beginning for wildlife
18 August 2017: Six years after the final broadcast from BBC Rampisham Down, the current owners of the 180-acre site, British Solar Renewables (“BSR”), will remove all but one of the original telecommunications towers: the most noticeable of the actions agreed with Natural England to restore the site.
As part of the planning permission for a solar park on an adjacent site, BSR committed to improve the management of the former transmission station site, which was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (“SSSI”) in 2014.
Graham Harding, BSR’s MD and CFO, said: “Working with Natural England has been a very positive experience and BSR are really pleased to have been able to contribute to the restoration of the site.”
Working closely in collaboration with Natural England, BSR will remove the towers during the summer months to minimise the impact on the largest expanse of unimproved lowland acid grassland in Dorset. Other improvement works include the installation of bat and bird boxes; including a peregrine falcon nesting platform on the remaining tower, as well as burrowing holes for the migratory wheatear bird.
Natural England’s Area Manager for Dorset, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Fran Davies, said: “It’s great to see how this partnership has developed, and the removal of these towers is a further step towards enhancing this important site. I look forward to seeing both the partnership and the site go from strength to strength.”
Through careful management of the land, including making the site safe for cattle grazing, it is hoped the acid grassland will be protected from the advancement of gorse and bracken.
The future of the former telecommunication station buildings remains under discussion with various commercial and residential uses under consideration, subject to planning.
Notes to Editors:
About Rampisham Down
Rampisham Down is located on a high plateau with land sloping gently towards the south to south-west. The whole site is above 200m, being 220m at its highest point, and sits above the Powerstock Vale, in west Dorset. The underlying geology is upper chalk but over much of the site this is overlain by superficial deposits of clay with flints giving rise to free-draining largely acidic soils. Rampisham Down supports the largest area of lowland acid grassland found in Dorset and is one of the largest areas of its type in the country. The site also supports small stands of lowland heathland and transitional grassland/heathland plant communities. The large size of this site, which has for the most part escaped any modern-day agricultural improvement, is unusual. There is also very little acid grassland and associated heathland habitat remaining over the chalk in Dorset; most of what remains is fragmented in small patches.
For British Solar Renewables:
+44 (0)1458 224 900
Founded in 2010, British Solar Renewables is a clean tech company at the forefront of the renewable energy sector. It is part of the wider BSR Group which has, over the past 5 years;
- developed and built out over 500MW of solar PV across the UK,
- installed the UK’s largest private wire solar PPA and the UK’s largest sleeved PPA to a major FTSE 100 bank,
- built an O&M portfolio of over 460MW of ground-mount solar PV,
- formed Renewable Energy Connections Limited which is NERS accredited up to and including 132kV and which has connected over 600MW of solar PV across the UK,
- established BSR Energy Limited to capitalise on large scale energy storage opportunities,
- incubated and established Omnio Energy Limited, a commercial energy storage business created to make the benefits of energy storage accessible to distributed, commercial energy users, a group crucial in terms of decarbonising our system given their aggregated demand and low voltage connections.
www.britishrenewables.com | Twitter @britishren
For Natural England:
07717 816 618
About Natural England
Established in 2006, Natural England is the government’s independent adviser on the natural environment. Our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.
- We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.
- We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and advising widely on their conservation.
- We run Environmental Stewardship and other green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.
- We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.
- We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.
For more information, visit: www.gov.uk/naturalengland / Twitter @NaturalEngland