Soil Surveys, Environmental Assessment & Land Management

Land Research - Case Study

Spoil tip remediation for habitat creation

Land Research Associates was asked to provide advice as part of the reworking of a Saint Gobain PAM UK foundry spoil tip at Holwell Works near Melton Mowbray. The proposal was to re-contour the 8 ha tip and restore it to species-rich grassland with hedgerows, in keeping with the surrounding agricultural landscape. We were asked to assess the suitability of the site materials to support the proposed habitat scheme.

Our detailed site survey revealed that the material consisted of waste sand used in foundry castings. The sand was very low in nutrients, had low moisture retention properties and was also very strongly calcareous. These properties made it a very challenging plant habitat, as evidenced by existing species tolerant of poor droughty soils, but were not well suited to the creation of the proposed grassland meadows and hedgerows.


Our technical report detailed the remediation that would be required to make the site suitable for the proposed habitat scheme but which, due to the required volumes of imported soil, would prove expensive. However, we also included an alternative option, to work with the challenging conditions to create extremely rare xerophytic calcareous grassland. This proposal was much cheaper, sustainable in terms of material use, energy consumption and biodiversity and was supported by the biodiversity officer from the local planning authority.

Land Research Associates are experts in soils for habitats and ecology, and work on numerous habitat and land restoration schemes. For further information contact us on +44 (0)1509 670570 or email