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Environmental

Here at Tuxhill Farm we work hard to preserve and improve the natural biodiversity on the farm, as well as protecting the wider environment through sustainable business practice. Some examples of our environmental work in recent years can be found below:

Biomass Boiler - This new installation at Tuxhill Farm has moved our heating for tulip production away from oil and on to wood chip. This means that our heat is now carbon neutral as the CO2 produced is equal to that absorbed by the growing tree over its lifetime. We burn locally sourced round wood from responsibly managed forestry in Norfolk. The development of the market for chip wood is encouraging woodland owners with redundant or derelict forests to bring them back in to production. The chip market can take a lower grade of timber than many other uses demand, making the economics of production more attractive. We use the boiler in conjunction with a large heat storage tank, allowing us to continue running the boiler on a sunny day when the heat demand of the glasshouse drops to zero. This means we build up a bank of hot water which is then used when the sun goes down and heat demand climbs very rapidly. In this way we are able to avoid using the back up oil boiler, except in extreme weather.

Biomass Boiler   Biomass Boiler

Solar PV - we have installed two solar PV systems to help supply power to the farm. To keep our flowers fresh we use cold storage and particularly during the summer these cold stores use lots of electrical power. Solar PV gives us free, clean energy to run the stores. 

Wildlife Areas - We set aside a number of areas on the farm specifically for wildlife. We have a wild flower meadow which we maintain and cut only once a year, this meadow is a fantastic habitat for rare wild flowers as well as insects, butterflies and small mammals. We carefully manage the area and protect it from invasive species which would smother the less competitive plants. We also have a butterfly bank, a sunny sloping bed of nettles which is cut once a year in July to promote new growth and provide food and habitat for breeding of small tortoiseshell butterflies. We also manage our field margins under the entry level stewardship (ELS) scheme, providing a network of wildflowers and tussocky grass around our fields. These wildlife corridors are a very valuable resource for local wildlife, providing cover, food and connections between hedgerows and ditches. We plant wild bird and game cover strips on unused areas around our flower crops to encourage birds to feed and breed on the farm. We also have a large area of pollen and nectar mix meadow, specifically aimed at butterflies and pollinating insects. This mix has a rage of pollen and nectar rich species, providing food over a long season. For updates on our wildlife areas and sightings on the farm see our Twitter feed.

Hedgerow Planting and Management - This area of the country is typically very flat open countryside with very few established areas of woodland. Hedgerows are therefore very important for local wildlife as sources of food and shelter. We manage our hedgerows for the benefit of local wildlife and we have planted thousands of new hedgerow trees to establish a wider network of hedges around the site. Only native species typical to this area are used and the hedges are maintained to promote the most value for local wildlife, particularly birds, butterflies and insects. Part of the hedgerow was planted during a national “Breathing Spaces” project, with help from a local scout troop.

Community Involvement - A big part of our commitment under LEAF accreditation is involvement with the local community to promote better understanding of our industry. We take part in the annual Open Farm Sunday events, and we also host a number of farm walks and visits for local interest groups. In recent years we have hosted visits from a wide variety of groups including cubs and scouts, Women’s Institute groups, Rotary club, Pony club, Young Farmers, Countrysiders, Gardening clubs and local interest groups. We always try to accommodate these groups and it is always interesting to welcome new people on to the farm and show them what we do and how we do it.

Community Involvement   Community Involvement

 

Wildlife Surveys - as part of our accreditation process we undertake an annual wildlife and environmental audit. This covers many aspects and aims to build a picture of how we are preserving and improving the farm environment for wildlife. We also take part in projects such as the LEAF pollinator survey and GWCT Big Farmland Bird Count.

Wildlife Surveys   Wildlife Surveys

 

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