My name is Hannah Mintram; I am an environmental Advisor who works as part of DIO’s Safety Environment and Engineering Team.
As you’ll know if you read my last blog, each year, I work with my colleagues from the team to produce Sanctuary magazine and organise the Sanctuary Awards on behalf of the MOD. This October Sanctuary magazine celebrated its 40th anniversary at a special event, when this year’s awards were handed out.
The Sanctuary Awards celebrate the sustainability, conservation and environmental projects delivered across the Defence estate on behalf of the MOD each year with each project featuring in the magazine.
The MOD's First Conservation Officer - Lt Col Clayden
This year’s edition features the inspirational work of Lt Colonel (Retired) Norman Clayden, who was the MOD’s first Conservation Officer back in 1973. The role of the first Conservation Officer was created in response to the recommendations of the Nugent Committee, which recommended that the MOD do more to manage their land and reduce “noise, eyesores and unexploded ordinance”. Lt Colonel Clayden was considered a perfect choice for the role of Conservation Officer, as he had recently retired as an Army Officer and was a keen naturalist, with 20 year’s experience as the Chair of the Army’s Ornithological Society.
Conservation Groups and Sanctuary
He was instrumental in setting up conservation groups across the Defence estate and within a short period of time, had set up 35 groups. Norman’s modern day legacy is a national network of 120 conservation groups supporting sustainability and environmental projects across the estate. In addition to setting up a network of groups, he produced a newsletter to keep the bourgeoning network of groups informed. From these humble beginnings Sanctuary has grown from a paper newsletter distributed to 300 partners to a glossy magazine which, at its height, printed 25,000 copies. Sanctuary is now available digitally, with a small print run funded by industry partners and contractors who deliver a range of projects across the estate.
MOD's Conservation Work
As times have changed, the role of the Conservation Officer has evolved and projects are delivered by a small team of Environmental Advisors, who continue Lt Colonel Clayden’s work. Over the past four decades, the conservation agenda has expanded and our team now have a broader range of responsibilities that include developing and delivering DIO’s forthcoming 2015-20 Sustainability Strategy; with a particular focus on clean renewable energy and water conservation.
The work started by Lt Colonel Clayden has created a positive legacy. MOD’s conservation and sustainability work has led to many positive relationships with individuals and groups which have supported the Environmental Advisors’ work over the decades. Many of our long standing relationships have helped us to monitor and support many habitats and species on MOD land, particularly in the 170 Sites of Special Scientific Interest.