Joint highways and school project is the bee’s knees

An environmental initiative that aims to increase biodiversity and attract wildlife near to one of Newcastle’s major roads created a hive of activity at one of the city’s schools.

Broadwood Primary School, located close to the A1 where Highways England is increasing two lanes along a five-mile stretch to three narrower lanes, were delighted to get involved in creating bug hotels and planting wildflower seeds to help local wildlife flourish.

Dozens of youngsters got stuck in collecting and recycling items to produce an important shelter, attracting flies, bees, moths and butterflies which are integral to flower pollination and act as a food source for various bird species.

Broadwood Primary School project video

Diane Wilkinson-Best, Early Years teacher at the Denton Burn based school, said:

Starting our children off early learning about our environment and looking after the animals we share our planet with is really important. By getting our pupils creative through this joint initiative they feel a sense of joy at making things that will make a difference and have a lasting effect.

Pupil Sophie, aged 4, said:

We made bug hotels by putting some twigs and leaves in bottles and we put them somewhere safe for the bugs so they can live there."

The strategic road network is one of the country’s largest national assets – stretching for nearly 4,500 miles and connects people, businesses and communities with the places they need to be. It also has approximately 30,000 hectares of green verges which contains a range of habitats and supports a rich variety of plants and animals.

Teams working on major Highways England projects have dedicated officers who work closely with local communities.

Highways England project manager Tom Peckitt said:

We want our roads to work more harmoniously with the communities that live alongside them, and the built, natural and historic environments that surround them. Educating our next generation about biodiversity and getting young people involved in creating better environments for our wildlife will provide a legacy of healthier habitats and greater diversity alongside our roads.

Highways England’s multi-million investment along the A1, between junction 74 at Spotswood and junction 79 at North Brunton, will provide extra room, improve journey times, support economic growth and improve safety.

Narrower lanes and a temporary safety barrier have been installed on northbound and southbound carriageways and work is under way within the central reservation, which is a pivotal part of the project. The team have started resurfacing and installing the new concrete barrier which will improve safety for the thousands of drivers who use the route every day.

All work is being carried out overnight (8pm to 6am) under lane and full carriageway closures, and clearly signed diversions will be in place. Drivers are urged to register for updates regarding the upgrade, closures and diversion routes by visiting the A1 Scotwood to North Brunton web page or on Twitter @HighwaysNEAST with the hashtag #A1S2NB.

All Highways England sites have strict safeguarding measures, in line with Public Health England guidance, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and none of the sites are open to the public. 

The latest information on Highways England’s biodiversity work can be found in its 2018-19 biodiversity report and further details are available in its Strategic Business Plan.

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