From supporting flora and fauna around our head office to not-for-profit housing that’s connected with nature, discover how we’re enhancing biodiversity.
This area of our website offers information about some of the things we do as a responsible business. For information about how you could ‘go green’ and how we’re helping UK homes become greener please visit our Greener homes page.
What's on this page
Maintaining the grounds around our buildings
Nationwide aspires to environmental protection and sustainable development with the aim of reducing its environmental impact.
We understand the growing importance of ecology and biodiversity in the built environment. Which is why, at our Newbury Data Centre, we have used the entire landscape that surrounds the building to support biodiversity. This includes carefully designed wildflower, meadow, woodland, grassland and wetland areas.
At our Swindon headquarters, Nationwide House, we hope to meet the requirements of the Wildlife Trusts Biodiversity Benchmark. We also aim to:
- Comply with relevant legislation and statutory codes of practice
- Assess the biodiversity implications of new or emerging legislation to ensure that our business operations align with new standards
- Conserve and enhance biodiverse habitats around Nationwide House to benefit our employees, and the environment
- Manage site activities to mitigate negative impacts to biodiversity and promote biodiversity enhancements
- Ensure biodiversity protection and enhancement measures are in place when undertaking project or development work on site
- Engage employees in nature-based activities and promote nature-related health and wellbeing
The grounds around Nationwide House are maintained in pursuit of The Wildlife Trusts Biodiversity Benchmark (opens in a new window).
This is a standard that certifies management of business landholdings for wildlife. This framework provides a means for assessing and certifying continual biodiversity protection and enhancement.
We aim to act on these ambitions through a suite of activities, including:
- Promoting and protecting significant species and habitats, across grassland, woodland, meadow and freshwater
- Using ongoing species surveys to establish a baseline, set targets and objectives, and monitor progress
- Engaging with wildlife groups to enhance our learning and join up our approach
- Conducting a biodiversity impact assessment before any activity, including maintenance, is conducted
- Ensuring responsibilities are appropriately assigned to grounds maintenance colleagues to ensure delivery of benchmark aims and objectives
- Hosting a series of talks to ensure competency of all relevant colleagues to help our biodiversity aims
- Creating colleague communications to help increase awareness and understanding of biodiversity issues, and to link this with activities around Nationwide House
- Encouraging colleague involvement to conduct species surveys and help maintain the grounds to support biodiversity – and promote the link between nature and personal wellbeing
- Documenting the biodiversity management system to include scope, objectives, activities and controls
Biodiversity at Oakfield, our not-for-profit housing development
Oakfield is our not-for-profit development of 239 EPC A-rated, off-gas homes, built on a former Brownfield site in East Swindon.
In December 2022, we opened Oakfield’s show home to the public, allowing potential buyers an up-close look at the development’s environmental credentials. These include the air-source heat pumps and solar panels that come pre-installed in every home.
Oakfield has been designed in a way that encourages wildlife and biodiversity. Central to the development is a landscaped park, which has ‘swales’. Swales are areas of ground that collect and slowly release water into the landscape. This removes pollutants and creates a habitat for certain pollinators. There is also a wild meadow area which further encourages biodiversity.
Species selection has been considered in the design
The landscape has been enhanced with plants recommended by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Plants for Pollinators lists (opens in a new window), to encourage a wide range of wildlife. More than 300 trees of different varieties will be planted throughout Oakfield to bring seasonal interest and variation to accommodate different wildlife.
The development also includes green corridors of formal hornbeam hedges, allowing highways for hedgehogs and other small animals. Homes have also been fitted with bat boxes.
An award-winning development
In 2021, Oakfield was awarded the industry-leading Building with Nature Design Accreditation (opens in a new window).
The Building with Nature standards enable developers to create places that allow people and wildlife to thrive. They do this by recognising high quality green infrastructure at all stages of the development process including policy, planning, design, delivery, and long-term management and maintenance.
The development also received the ‘Building for a Healthy Life’ award by Design for Homes in its Housing Design Awards 2021 and, more recently, the Landscape Institute Building with Nature Award 2022. Both awards recognise housing developments that have been built to create places that are beneficial for both people and wildlife.
The future of Oakfield
We hope our approach to Oakfield will become a blueprint for other responsible organisations who wish to build housing developments. And we will continue to share our learnings and plans from this development to help create positive change.
We’re encouraged by the growing interest across the industry in taking measurable actions to protect and restore nature. We aim to use and embed any recommendations made by the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) in the consideration of biodiversity-related risks and impacts, and in the setting of appropriate metrics and targets.
We all have a responsibility to expand our understanding, drive positive impacts and make a difference in this important area.
Last updated: June 2023