TORNESS Power Station has received an award praising staff for their efforts in protecting and enhancing the area’s wildlife.

The power station, on the outskirts of Dunbar, has received the Biodiversity Benchmark by the Wildlife Trusts.

The EDF Energy site is next to the Barns Ness Coast, which is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and boasts a variety of wildlife, ranging from birds to butterflies and insects.

Two years ago, new nest boxes were quickly occupied by some tree sparrows and in the spring are visited by a pair of peregrine falcons raising their young.

During winter, the inter-tidal areas of Skateraw Bay attract wading birds like curlews, redshanks and oystercatchers.

There are wildflowers like northern marsh orchids, bird’s-foot-trefoil and knapweed in the grasslands around the station.

There are at least 16 species of butterfly to be seen as well, including the wall brown and small heath species.

Paul Winkle, Torness director, told the Courier: “This wildlife survives here thanks to the employees at Torness and with the help of East Lothian Council’s biodiversity team and the countryside ranger service.

“We work closely together to ensure these fantastic birds and plant life are looked after properly and will be here for people to enjoy for years to come.

“I would recommend a good walk along the Torness coastal walkway, which runs between Skateraw Bay and Thorntonloch, to see some of this fantastic wildlife.

“The walkway is part of the John Muir Link footpath.” Peter Dorans, corporate relations manager for The Wildlife Trusts, said: “This award just goes to show that with partnerships and careful management wildlife can thrive, even alongside key energy infrastructure.

“Our assessor was particularly impressed with the work EDF Energy has done with farmers to enable them to add to efforts on site.

“This site completes the set – every EDF Energy nuclear power station has now achieved The Wildlife Trusts Biodiversity Benchmark.

“This is no mean feat, it’s a tough standard, so very well done to everyone involved.” The Biodiversity Benchmark enables organisations across the country to assess the standard of their conservation management, improve their environmental management procedures and demonstrate their commitment to enhancing biodiversity in support of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. It is composed of a set of requirements an organisation must be able to meet.

Christine Blythe, EDF’s biodiversity manager, said: “We are very pleased with this award. Torness is home to some special and rare wildlife.

“We are committed to protecting and enhancing biodiversity working in partnership with other conservation organisations and this award recognises our work in fulfilling that commitment.”