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  • Suzanne Simmons

Rising to the BIG Biodiversity Challenge can reap BIG Awards!


12th September 2018 is the date you all should have in your diaries! That’s the day we will find out who the winners are at this year’s BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards ceremony.

With #International Biodiversity Day today (22 May) what an opportune moment to remind you the deadline for this year’s BIG Biodiversity Challenge and Awards is fast approaching (11th June) . The awards continue to offer a fantastic opportunity to the construction industry to demonstrate their commitment to the environment. They do so by celebrating the often unsung extras that the construction industry goes to in promoting and delivering habitat creation, conservation, management and monitoring into sometimes extraordinarily complex construction programmes.

However the great thing about CIRIA’s BIG Biodiversity Awards is all you need to take the BIG Challenge, is to do at least one thing for biodiversity on your construction project. Of course the winning schemes frequently do more than one thing, but the intention is recognised that no matter how large or how small, collective commitment across the construction industry will bring net gains for biodiversity. This is not only delivery of an on-site intervention, but through education and collaboration with both neighbouring and on-site communities.

You may not be aware, but several changes have been introduced to this year’s awards which we hope will offer you greater scope to select the right fit for your project. So for instance, you can enter your scheme into two categories this year and in doing so, you immediately increase your odds for shortlisting. We have created a new award that showcases technology and innovation. This can be a wide area to cover, but what we want to see, are projects that consider everything from new ways of assessing, recording and sharing data, construction processes, products and details, to the integration of biodiversity in novel and unusual ways.

Ultimately the awards want to see the industry go over and beyond the minimum requirements asked of them from statutory and planning obligations; judges will want to see enhancements, net gain and not just mitigation; they will want to see multi purposing and collaboration; and of course each year the bar rises and judges will want to see more new approaches using the simplest of interventions to gain maximum impact.

Judges confirmed for this year come from CIRIA’s Biodiversity Interest Group (BIG), who will review alongside external industry sponsors and advisors. Organisations that will form part of our judging team include: BSG Ecology; The Bats Trust; Arcadis; Costain; London Wildlife Trust; HS2; Aecom; Berkeley Group; RSPB; WSP and Kier.

The eight main award categories this year are:

  • BIG Biodiversity Client of the year

  • BIG Biodiversity Community initiative of the year

  • BIG Biodiversity Project of the year (Medium / Large scale 5 ha and over)

  • BIG Biodiversity Project of the year (Small Scale 5 ha or less)

  • BIG Biodiversity Temporary Enhancement

  • BIG Biodiversity Innovation Award (New category)

  • BIG Biodiversity Monitoring, Maintenance & Management Award

  • BIG Biodiversity Pollinator of the year

And two Special Awards

  • Big Biodiversity Champion award

  • Overall winner

Now it is over to you – the construction industry, design and delivery teams - to show us what you have all been up to over the past twelve months or longer.

Good luck to you all and may the best projects win!

Suzanne Simmons, CIRIA Project Manager

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