Hartford Homes, in consultation with Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT) and working closely with Ramsey Town Commissioners, have finalised plans to develop a ‘Micro Forest’ scheme at their Royal Park development in Ramsey.
A previously approved area of amenity grass has now developed into a pilot ecology area.
Developed in the 1970s by a Japanese botanist, Micro Forests, also known as Miyawaki Forests, are dense, fast-growing native urban woodlands bursting with biodiversity and can thrive in areas as small as a tennis court. The trees grow more rapidly, storing CO2 and keep the air clean.
This is the first of several planned Micro Forests by Hartford and will be delivered in 2022, with an anticipated planting in excess of 1600 Manx native trees. As well as the Micro Forest, new walkways will be included to aid access through the new area, together with landscaped public green areas, seating and native wildflower borders.
George Li, one of Hartford’s architects behind the scheme, believes this is just a natural progression to balance the need for new development and the equally important protection of the environment. “We all understand the need for quality, energy efficient new housing on the island, but we have to ensure we balance that with climate change mitigation and the needs of our environment and to enrich the locations where our homeowners and communities live.
We have been working closely with organisations like MWT for some time to help us minimise our impact and protect habitats and biodiversity. We have already introduced bat boxes, bee bricks and hedgehog runs, as well as exceeding key energy efficiency regulation requirements in the homes we build. The next few years will see Hartford take this to an exciting new level as plans progress to allow for even greater impact reduction in carbon emissions not only from the finished home in use, but also for the carbon consumed in construction.”
Andree Dubbeldam, MWT Conservation Officer and coordinator of their Micro Forest Project believes that; “Micro forests create wilder spaces within our communities, bringing birds and other wildlife into our everyday lives. As we plant more of these micro forests, we will be creating a network of biodiversity hotspots across our Island communities, allowing communities to closely engage with nature and enabling a generation of children to grow up to see these micro forests mature’”
Ramsey Town Commissioners Lead member for Parks and Leisure, Geoff Court, commented; “This is a really exciting project and a step away from traditional parkland planting schemes. The project will provide an excellent opportunity for community engagement during its planting phase, and we are sure will be a popular destination for residents.”