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Ford: Manufacturing plant is surprising haven for 50 types of birds, protected voles – and a rare ladybird

It is among the last places you might expect to find a burgeoning ecosystem of nature and wildlife. But Dagenham Engine Plant, in the UK, is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

On the site that manufactures engines that power a range of Ford vehicles, more than 50 types of birds nest in the surrounding haven for wildlife. Employees from the plant help to maintain and improve this local habitat by keeping waterways clear, re-stocking fish supplies, and planting more than 10,500 trees over the past 20 years.

“The wildlife habitat on the Dagenham estate covers a large part of the site, and its importance is recognised by employees and is really ingrained into the culture at the plant. For example, new drivers on site are warned to be aware of wildlife crossing the roads – and we work closely with the Forestry Commission and London waterways charity Thames21,” said Tony Shade, senior site supervisor, Ford Dagenham.

The site includes the Breach, a natural lake, formed when the River Thames burst its banks more than 300 years ago, and the River Beam. In addition to housing one of the largest wader roost locations in London, the 620 acre area counts peregrine falcons, swans and Canada geese among its residents and visitors. However, it is not just birds that call the Dagenham plant home, with the UK’s fastest declining mammal, the protected European water vole and the rare Adonis ladybird also inhabiting the East London site.

More than 37 million engines have been produced at the Dagenham plant since it first opened in 1931, as well as 11 million cars. It was also the inspiration for events portrayed in the hit movie and musical “Made in Dagenham”. Now, it manufactures a range of technologically advanced diesel engines, including the 2.0‑litre Ford EcoBlue engine on a state-of-the-art production line..

Ford today issued its 18th annual Sustainability Report. Among Ford’s zero‑waste-to-landfill facilities, the Dagenham plant has in the last year reduced water and energy consumption per engine produced by over 50 per cent – saving enough water to fill seven competition-size swimming pools.

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