If you travel on South Western Railway (SWR) this month you will hear a familiar voice coming from the tannoys. Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden has teamed up with the rail operator to back the Save Our Wild Isles campaign.
SWR was the first UK train operator to sign the Nature Positive Business Pledge, which forms part of the campaign led by RSPB, WWF and National Trust.
Deborah Meaden, business leader and investor, said: “Supporting the Save Our Wild Isles campaign is so important which is why I am pleased to see that South Western Railway is leading the way for rail in supporting nature and responding to the biodiversity crisis by pledging to become Biodiversity Net Positive by 2030 and also the first rail operator in the UK to sign the Nature Positive Business Pledge.”
The announcements will encourage travellers to play their part in creating habitats for nature and increasing biodiversity.
The campaign calls for an immediate halt to the destruction of UK nature and urgent action for nature recovery, while urging companies to commit to plans to become ‘nature positive’.
To be nature positive means halting and reversing nature decline by restoring wildlife and having an overall positive impact on nature.
As one of the country’s largest train operating companies, serving customers across South West London, Surrey, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon, the SWR network is home to a wide range of animal and plant species which it aims to protect and help flourish.
During the last 12 months alone, SWR has converted the equivalent of three football pitches into biodiversity gardens with the RSPB. It has also planted 15 wildflower meadows and introduced over 40 homes for insects and birds.
As part of the pledge, SWR will map the biodiverse habitats of its network, baseline its total impact on nature – including through its value chain – and create a Nature Positive Framework and Action Plan, to deliver a positive contribution to the regeneration and restoration of nature. This work will be completed with the support of the Nature Services team at management, engineering and development consultancy Mott MacDonald.
Amy Dickinson, SWR’s head of sustainability, said: “Save Our Wild Isles is a fantastic campaign and offers simple steps we can all make both at home or at work to help the wildlife on our doorstep.
“It’s a campaign that SWR is proud to support, as we want our network to be a place where nature can thrive, whether in our stations and depots, by the trackside or in our community gardens.
“We all benefit from biodiversity. That’s why we’ll continue to engage with our colleagues, customers and partners to support the unique habitats across the region we serve.
“Signing up to the Nature Positive Business Pledge means that our processes will be robust and we can learn together with others who are on a similar journey.”