Environment – improving our natural habitat
We want to provide the best habitats for our organic and free range hens. That means we are committed to our ethos of leading edge animal welfare and environmental sustainability – the two go hand in hand.
To achieve this, we focus on an environmental improvement scheme and use bio-diversity action plans to enrich ranges and the local habitat. All our producers follow the same approach – it is a sustainable, environmentally friendly production model that works.
“We were the first to start planting native trees to promote indigenous wildlife and improve the free range habitat for our hens.”
The Lakes Free Range Egg Company was the first to introduce Bio-diversity Action Plans. Today, we are still the ONLY egg company in the country which requires its farmer producers to have one in place.
Working closely with FWAG (now Cumbria Farm Environment Partnership), our producers have bespoke Bio-diversity Action Plans. They identify indigenous species of flora and fauna and set out planting plans to improve the natural habitat. These plans are monitored annually, identifying any environmental enrichment.
20% of producer ranges are enriched with native trees and shrubs – that’s an average of 2,000 per farm, providing cover for free ranging hens and encouraging natural outdoor behaviour. Research has proved that planting trees improves animal welfare (link to animal welfare page)
We have planted over 250,000 trees and covered 6,000+ acres with Bio-diversity Action Plans. Many of the trees planted are now maturing, using CO2 and cutting our carbon footprint. We have plans to plant 1,000’s more.
Returning wildlife – You will often find owl and bat boxes and squirrel feeders on many of our farms. Independent results indicate the return of endangered species like Red Squirrels, Barn Owls and Pippistrelle Bats.
Woodland Trust 5 Year Extended Survey with CFEP:
The Lakes is working closely with the Woodland Trust, supporting Cumbria Farm Environment Partnership (CFEP) on a five-year ecological survey programme (ES programme) covering ranges that represent the development of tree habitats on new, intermediate and established ranges. This is only possible because of our long-term commitment to tree planting.
Preliminary results indicate:
- Up to 39 bird species on ranges – 6 on IUCN Red List
- Bats recorded on all farms
- 50% of ranges recorded Barn Owls
Severely disadvantaged farms – 50% of our producers live on severely disadvantaged farms, but as free-range egg producers, they are now enhancing their environment and earning a sustainable farm income
We have one of the lowest carbon foot prints in the egg industry:
- Most of our farms are within 30 miles of the egg packing centre
- Our state of the art packing centre achieved carbon neutrality in 2016
- We build naturally ventilated, energy efficient hen house units cutting 70% energy use
- Our dark brooding chick rearing facilities use 85% less energy than standard rearing houses