Top bakery firm rises to the environmental challenge


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A bakery is helping to lead the way as one of the biggest industrial estates in Europe is being transformed into a haven for wildlife.

Among other things, the Village Bakery has created three new wildlife meadows on their land on Wrexham Industrial Estate.

The eye-catchingly colourful blooms are helping to save the endangered Grizzled Skipper butterfly and the bee population which is under threat because of a loss of habitat.

As part of their Village Green campaign to make the business more sustainable, the family run firm has teamed up as official partners of the North Wales Wildlife Trust.

The bakery hosted a conference for the Trust where they explained the Living Landscape Project which is designed to help the worlds of nature and business live together in harmony.

The eco-friendly firm plans to create a nature reserve in six acres of adjoining woodland next to the bakery.

The broad leaf woodland dates back to the 17th century and includes native species like oak, ash and willow.

It’s known there are tawny owls nesting there and it is also an important habitat for greater crested newts.

According to the company, the newly-sown wildflowers in the verges will create the idea habitat for the Grizzled Skipper butterflies.

The numbers of the butterfly, which has a distinctive chequered black and white pattern on its wings, have halved in Britain over the past 40 years.

Jonny Hulson, the North Wales Wildlife Trust’s living landscape officer for Wrexham Industrial Estate, praised the Village Bakery for their commitment to the environment and encouraging biodiversity.

He said: “In terms of habitat enhancement, Village Bakery have been on board with everything really.

“Having the wildflowers on the roadside makes people feel good on their lunch break, walking past. It helps win hearts and minds.

“Bees need nectar rich flowers to feed on and there are now honey bees feeding on these cornflowers.

“The Grizzled Skipper butterfly is under threat and this is an example of businesses proactively having an opportunity to literally reverse the extinction of a species. This is really important work, it’s frontline conservation.”

North Wales Wildlife Trust volunteer Simon Mills, from Rossett, said: “There’s a huge benefit I think which may not be immediately obvious for companies improving their environmental credentials.

“I think the Village Bakery and various others are showing a great example to a lot of other people on site which is a very, very rich site for wildlife.

“It would surprise a lot of people and I think if you just spend some time and just drive around, you’d see green spaces everywhere waiting to be appreciated and managed.”

“The joining up of wildlife corridors could well match public access rights of way so that people can move around the industrial estate more easily.”

Since 2012 the Village Bakery – which also has a bakery in Minera – has slashed the use of electricity by 18 per cent

They have also installed more than 1,000 roof-top solar panels. The 250 kilowatt system means in summer they are able to run their bakery just on solar energy during the majority of daylight hours.

In addition, they have created a spectacular four storey high living wall of evergreen plants at their new Baking Academy and Innovation Centre which was officially opened by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall last year.

Ashley Dawson, the firm’s business and sustainability executive, was pleased to have the opportunity to work with the North Wales Wildlife Trust and to provide a venue for their conference.

He said: “They all seem inspired with what we’re doing here as a company and they understood that we believe wholeheartedly in what we’re doing in terms of the environment.

“As a company, we are growing and developing but also staying true to our core values with a determination to make the best products in a sustainable way.

“The installation of the solar panels is yet another important investment milestone in the history of the Village Bakery and will translate our environmental aspirations into a reality, bringing our Village Green campaign to life.

“Our vision is continue to make products of the highest quality and invest in our workforce so we can work together to operate in the most sustainable manner possible.”

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