18 May 2023
Corporate News

Steelworkers act to protect one of UK’s rarest bumblebees


Tata Steel’s Port Talbot steelworks is one of a handful of places in the UK that is home to one of the UK’s rarest bumblebees, the Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum), aptly named for its high-pitched buzz; workers there have launched a new scheme to protect its habitat.

Over the last few months, Port Talbot employees have been working with Buglife Cymru to extend the wild spaces on the site to support local wildlife.

Morgan Livingstone, Environment Liaison Officer at Tata Steel said: “Our initial activity is focused on changing the management of the grassland areas on site by reducing grass cuts to twice a year. This will create more diverse wildflower-rich grasslands, which can support a huge range of wildlife including fungi, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, bats and birds.

We’re working with our contractor partner, Runtech, to look at how we can introduce a wider range of plants to encourage even more biodiversity by cutting less grass on site. We’re also asking local school children to design some signs for these areas. We can’t wait to see what they come up with!”

Conservation Officers, Emily Shaw and Tom Bucher-Flynn from Buglife Cymru said: “We are delighted to be working with Tata Steel on our B-Lines project in Neath Port Talbot to restore and reconnect flower-rich habitat to help support our struggling wild pollinators. Pollinating insects are on a downward trend globally. To find food, nests, and over-wintering sites, they need habitats that are bigger, better, and more joined up. Port Talbot is clearly a special place for the Shrill Carder Bee, Wales’ rarest bumblebee. Changing the management of the grassland will help this rare bee and other pollinating insects to flourish, contributing to a significant section of the B-Lines network in Port Talbot.

“Neath Port Talbot B-Lines is a Buglife partnership project that aims to address the decline in our pollinating insects by creating a network of B-Lines linking wildflower-rich habitats across Neath Port Talbot, from Jersey Marine to Port Talbot and from Baglan to Neath.”

They continued: “The UK has lost 97% of its meadow-rich grassland since the 1940's and we need to try and get some of it back, so it’s great that businesses such as Tata Steel and their partners are seeing the value in playing their part.”

Morgan added: “People may not realise the huge diversity of nature that already makes its home on the steelworks. We’ve got Peregrine Falcons, foxes and snakes as well as a sand dune area, which is classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) that is home to many rare plants including Sea Stock, Sharp Rush, Dotted Sedge and Fen Orchids. 

PT environment team
Improving biodiversity at the Port Talbot steelworks: From left to right: Morgan Livingstone (Tata Steel), Tom Bucher-Flynn (Buglife), Emily Shaw (Buglife), Andy Lea (Runtech), Steven Heatley (Runtech)


For further information: 

Tim Rutter on +44 (0)7850 990755 tim.rutter@tatasteeleurope.com  or 

Abigail Thomas on +44 (0) 7435 411267 abigail.thomas@tatasteeleurope.com


WATCH: Morgan Livingstone talks about the project to create ‘bee-lines’ on the Port Talbot steelworks Protecting one of the UK's rarest bumblebees

About Tata Steel UK

  • The Tata Steel Group has been named one of the most ethical companies in the world, and is among the top producing global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of 34 million tonnes. 
  • Tata Steel in the UK has the ambition to produce net-zero steel by 2050 at the latest, and to have reduced 30% of its CO2 emissions by 2030. 
  • Tata Steel is the largest steelmaker in the UK with primary steelmaking at Port Talbot in South Wales supporting manufacturing and distribution operations at sites across Wales, England and Northern Ireland as well as Norway, Sweden, France and Germany. It also benefits from a network of international sales offices around the world.
  • Tata Steel employs more than 8,000 people and has an annual crude steel capacity of 5 million tonnes, supplying high-quality steel products to demanding markets, including construction and infrastructure, automotive, packaging and engineering. 
  • Tata Steel Group is one of the world's most geographically-diversified steel producers, with operations and a commercial presence across the world. 
  • The Group recorded a consolidated turnover of US $32.83 Bn in the financial year ending March 31, 2022.

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