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Viridor: Tatchells landfill site

Actively managing a restored landfill site to create an intentional home for 9 priority species

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  • What we know
  • What we’re doing
  • What it’s worth

What we know

Tatchells, a now closed landfill site in Dorset, was restored in 2008.

Soon after, a biodiversity baseline study was carried out to assess the potential of the site to support key habitats and species in need of protection. The study identified that the site included key habitats (dry heath, wet heath, dwarf shrub heath) and numerous bird species, bat species, badger and reptile species such adder, smooth snake, grass snake, slow worm, sand lizard.

It showed that the site was supporting a range of habitats of high biodiversity value and species of interest. There was potential to have a site of impact, both locally and regionally. And could be used to support the development of priority habitats and rare species.

As a result of the findings, a 5-year (2009-2014) Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) was produced. It outlined effective aftercare management to maintain the existing biodiversity value, while also considering the operational requirements of maintaining environmental control infrastructure such as leachate/ landfill gas management systems.                            

What we’re doing

Following the initial recommendations and actions, several new action plans have been produced for the key biodiversity assets identified at the site.

The aim is to actively manage the site and improve a lowland heathland habitat in order to encourage the establishment of nine priority species: adder, Vipera berus, grass snake, Natrix helvetica, smooth snake, Coronella austriaca, sand lizard, Lacerta agilis, common lizard, Zootoca vivipara, slow worm, Anguis fragilis, wood lark, Lullula arborea, Dartford warbler, Sylvia undata and nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus.

As part of actively managing the site, the recommendations and needs are regularly reassessed. Based on the findings of recent monitoring surveys (2020), a revised priority list of species relevant to Tatchell’s was compiled and action plans have been put in place for two more priority species: the grayling, Hipparchia Semele (butterfly) and the heath bee-fly, Bombylius minor.  Action plans still need to be put in place for another five priority species (one true fly, three months and one bird species).

illustration of three birds in navy

What it’s worth

The actions for nature have worked.

In December 2017, the site received a biodiversity benchmark certificate from the Wildlife Trust. And to date, Viridor holds eight biodiversity benchmark certificates for closed landfill sites. They are a testament to continual biodiversity enhancement and protection on site.

And good site management, including the creation of a habitat mosaic (heather, gorse, scrub, open areas), invasive species control, and species monitoring surveys have led to wildlife conservation success and an increase in species richness. 


Dorset Wildlife Trust has been carrying out regular wildlife surveys at Tatchell's for the past five years and this work has highlighted the importance of the site for a wide range of nationally and internationally important species. Over 40 UK Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species occur on the site including most of the UK's lowland heath specialities. Viridor should be congratulated on their work at Tatchells and the significant contribution they have made to wildlife conservation in Dorset.”

Hamish Murray Wildlife Trusts

Securing and maintaining the Wildlife Trust’s Biodiversity Benchmark accreditation for the last 10 years has been invaluable for our business. It has driven consistency in our conservation works on the ground as well as improving engagement with our local communities.”

Peter Walker Aftercare Steward Manager, Viridor