Cristal Environmental Healing Watercress beds Award for Environmental Excellence

Award for Environmental Excellence
Last year Cristal, the world's second largest producer of titanium dioxide with eight manufacturing plants on five continents, was awarded an Award for Environmental Excellence for the work they have done restoring the Water Cress Beds in Healing North East Lincolnshire.
The Cress beds had fallen into disrepair but have been cleared and the water extraction license acquired which has secured the future of the site and provided a rich and diverse habitat for many plants and animals.
This is a great film championing Cristal's commitment to the environment and after a short corporate intro explains in detail how the award was achieved.


The protection of national and local environments have always been an important part of the work at Cristal – and at Stallingborough over £35 million has been invested in recent years,  focussing  on reducing emissions and the usage of energy, water and other utilities.
In 2009 £3.5 million was invested during the acquisition of the Healing Cress Beds, supporting Cristal’s  commitment  ro water reduction.
The beds were first developed back in 1944, by Major Cuthbert Fitzwilliam whose company, the Greatford Garden Company , purchased two fields north of Healing.  The underlying chalk aquifier contained a vast reservoir of water that could be easily extracted.
In 1945 ten artesian wells were sunk to extract the water which, at a temperature of 11 degrees, was perfect for growing water cress.
Cress production continued until 1970,  with British Titan Products – now known as Huntsman Tioxide – taking over the production in 1951. 
Commercial water cress production ended in 1970, and the site fell into disrepair.
In 2009 the water abstraction licence already associated with the site was put up for sale, and Cristal successfully acquired the licence.
Cristal recognised the environmental benefits of the cress beds, alongside the archaeological local interest and   proposals were drawn up for the redevelopment of the site, including growing cress once again.
Working alongside HINCA, a habitat creation and management report was developed, initially confining this to the southern section of the beds.   
Conservation Nature, under the direction of Ben Burgess, were engaged to implement the requirements of the report, with funding for the three year project being provided by Cristal.
Gradually the region is being restored, with scrapes and ponding within the bed areas creating habitats for amphibians and dragonflies.
The overgrown vegetation has been cut back … revealing the cress beds, walkways and original infrastructure.
Small channels have been created to service larger scrapes and barriers at the eastern end of the site to improve the vital water retention.
Sluice gates and concrete channels have been cleared and the beds without scrapes blocked off to divert water to the three ponded areas.
The vegetation has been compacted to landscape one corner of the site, and the brash from trees now acts as a refuge for creatures living on the site.
So far phase 1 has been a real success, and phase 2, due to start at the end of 2012, will develop a larger wildlife pond at the site entrance.
Phase 3 will see the development of the northern section.
Once the work is completed and the whole site re-established it will create a fabulous refuge for amphibians and dragonflies, alongside other flora and fauna native to the region. …  and become a unique educational experience for young people from the area.