THE Chapel Farm landfill site in North Swindon is to be transformed into a new home of bees and insects as part of a collaboration between Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Hills Waste Solutions.

Part of the old landfill site, which is managed by Hills and due to end its current operation, is now undergoing works to create a haven for bees, insects, small mammals, ground nesting birds, and reptiles.

Mike Webster, group director of Hills Waste Solutions, said: “The landfill operations at Chapel Farm are due to end in 2014 and Hills will remain responsible for the long-term aftercare of the site.

“As part of our restoration planning we have been working with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust on this project to create a bee friendly habitat, which will also become a haven for other wildlife.”

The 18.5 hectare area will be turned into wild flower meadows and small orchard, providing an important source of food and pollen for new inhabitants.

Stephen Davis, head of conservation policy at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust said the loss of green land around the town meant this was a welcome project.

“Having lost 97 per cent of our wild flower meadows, it’s fantastic news to see the closed section of the landfill site being restored to a wildflower habitat.

“Over time this area will improve to support a great diversity of wildlife. It is also the perfect complement to the plans for a nature park being developed adjacent to the River Ray just to the south”.

Pipework and cables, which will lay the foundations for the environmental management of the site, have now been buried. The next phase will be to erect stock proof fencing to protect young trees and log piles to provide shelter.

Hedgerows will also be planted to provide wildlife corridors for a range of species. This provides valuable nectar and pollen for foraging bees from early spring until late summer.

The final phase of the project will begin in the spring with the installation of bee hives, and in early summer, the area will be ploughed and planted with a variety of plant life.

Dr Richard Pagett, of Purton, who specialises in environmental and sustainability issues, said: “I think this is a great project. In the old days they would have grassed over the old landfill sites, and it would end up looking a bit artificial.

“This is far more innovative and appropriate. It is what all landfill operators should be doing. It is just right at the moment, as we do have a problem with the bee population, so trying to design a new habitat for them is a wonderful idea.”