A NEW business has been launched near York after four years in the making.

The Rolawn Group, the producer of topsoil and turf at Seaton Ross, east of York, has set up BioScapes after developing a range of patented biodiversity products.

Thought to be the first of their kind, the range includes the BioCube and the NatureArk, which provide a self-contained ecosystem to directly offset the impact of biodiversity loss through the construction of housing and commercial property.

The venture has drawn on Rolawn’s 50 years of innovation in horticulture and landscaping, with the business investing significant funds during the product development stage.

York Press:

The BioCube product, by BioScapes.

The team collaborated with expert ecologists, met with housing developers and conducted market research with more than 300 people.

The products are designed to help businesses respond to new targets set by Government within the Environment Bill from the 2019 Spring Statement.

The Chancellor indicated it will be mandatory for all new English planning developments to demonstrate a 10 per cent increase in biodiversity on or near development sites. The legislation is set to officially come into effect in 2023.

The BioCube, which costs £2,950, can be installed in commercial environments such as new housing developments, local authority projects and retail parks. It provides a combination of wet and dry habitats, supporting the process of rewilding through the development of ecosystems which encourage small mammals, amphibians, insects, other invertebrate and plants to thrive.

It has been launched alongside the NatureArk, priced at £399.95, which delivers similar benefits, and is designed for smaller community environments, such as schools, as well as commercial projects.

Six primary schools have already installed trial units and housebuilders Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey have deployed units to eight new-build sites in Yorkshire and northeast England.

BioScapes chairman and managing director, Paul Dawson said: “At Rolawn, we’ve invested significant amounts of time and resources into developing the BioScapes range of products that offer comprehensive and innovative solutions to biodiversity net gain.

"They will benefit local businesses and all stakeholders in horticultural and landscaping industries as we look to embrace biodiversity gain.”

Terry Smithson, biodiversity manager and expert ecologist, added: “Biodiversity is vital to our future and is the fundamental contributor to processes such as pollinating our food, providing clean water and filtering the air we breathe. We upset these systems at our peril.

“The loss of woodland cover, and the destruction of peatlands and saltmarshes could render our homes and businesses are more vulnerable to flooding.

“But no matter how much space you have, you can always make space for wildlife, and the BioCube provides the perfect solution in this respect by creating a self-contained area, which can be used in a range of environments, and that will support wildlife.

“We recognise developers, architects, business owners and other key decision makers acknowledge the importance of biodiversity, but that many struggle to implement a practical solution, and particularly this is what has led to the creation of the BioScape products.”