Quarry to be focus of research competition

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ACADEMIC teams from Hull and Leeds Universities will be carrying out biodiversity research projects at Hanson’s Wykeham sand and gravel quarry near Scarborough this summer.

The projects are among five national proposals selected to compete in the UK section of the Quarry Life Award, a research competition run by Hanson’s parent company HeidelbergCement.

The competition focuses on biodiversity protection and management and has attracted more than 300 proposals from students and researchers in 18 countries throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The Wykeham projects will examine how habitats can be improved to enhance the conservation value of the site.

A team from Hull University will be analysing the characteristics of the quarry’s silt ponds to discover how they affect invertebrate populations and consequently their use by birds. They will also produce recommendations for the improved management of silt ponds for the promotion of bird diversity. Silt ponds are used to clean and recycle water that has been used to wash clay and other sediments from the sand and gravel.

The Leeds University students will be surveying the range of fresh- water habitats available at Wykeham for water voles and white-clawed crayfish and providing recommendations for habitat modification and improvement.

Final reports will be submitted at the end of September with the best three UK projects awarded cash prizes of up to £5,000.