The Beckhams are planning to build a wildlife corridor near their mansion in the Cotswolds, UK as part of a five-year commitment to support local biodiversity.
Former British footballer David and Spice Girls star turned fashion designer Victoria have owned a £6.15 million Grade-II listed country house in the Cotswolds since 2016. The celebrity couple (popularly known as ‘Posh and Becks’) recently applied to build an external, eco-friendly garage on the property, complete with an open roof structure to attract nesting birds and bats.
However, West Oxfordshire District Council’s biodiversity team initially vetoed their application due to environmental concerns. The Cotswolds, a much-celebrated Area of Natural Beauty in the south of England, declared an ecological emergency last year due to escalating threats to the region’s biodiversity (which includes several at-risk or endangered birds and bats).
“We will take a leadership role on the ecological emergency and natural recovery in the district by working with, influencing, and inspiring partners across the county and South West region to help deliver natural recovery,” said Councillor Rachel Coxcoon at the time.
The Beckham mansion’s new wildlife corridor
According to the council’s biodiversity officer, Esther Frizell-Armitage, the Beckhams’ new project must actively “enhance” native species, as reported by the Wiltshire & Gloucestershire Standard.
This will involve attaching bird and bat boxes to the new building, and planting native hedgerows using at least six different tree species to create a wildlife corridor. Wildlife corridors link different habitats and aid the migration, dispersal, and other important natural behaviors of a variety of species.
The Beckhams must also implement a five-year aftercare maintenance plan, and use no external lighting. This is in order to avoid disruption to nocturnal wildlife such as badgers, hedgehogs, and foxes. The couple will only be able to work on the eco-friendly garage and landscaping outside of bird nesting season (February to August).
The application has now been adjusted to include these additional protective measures for local wildlife (as suggested by the council and AA Environmental Ltd., ecology experts hired by the Beckhams) and is currently being reviewed by the council’s biodiversity team.
Hedgerows: the ultimate wildlife corridor
Wildlife corridors are an instrumental and cost-effective way to support wildlife in a landscape increasingly dominated by agriculture and human development.
Approximately 70 percent of the UK is currently used for farmland, and earlier this year the UN warned that current environmental protection targets will not be enough to preserve biodiversity.
Supporting or planting new hedgerows could be one of the best ways to unite the areas currently fragmented by agriculture (and monoculture, in particular). They could even help the UK to reach net-zero by storing carbon, cleaning the air, and reducing the risk of flooding.
To learn more about British biodiversity, read on here.