Ardley Landfill site, near Bicester, which closed four years ago, will house around half a million honeybees this summer – that’s three bees for every person in Oxford.
Recycling, landfill and low carbon energy company Viridor has transformed the landfill into an expanse of greenery five times the size of South Park in Oxford.
The company has welcomed nine beehives to the restored landfill, kept by local beekeepers Derrick and Aragorn Lawrence. The initiative will help to support efforts to increase bee populations in the county while producing more than 500 jars of honey over the summer months.
Derrick said: “The honeybee is in rapid decline, with loss of habitat being the number one cause, yet their existence is essential to life.
“We can all agree on the importance of protecting bee populations, but it can be difficult as a bee keeper to find a suitable location to raise and look after the bees.
“Bees typically forage over a 3km area, from Ardley this provides an excellent location to cover hedgerows, fields and gardens across Bicester, Heyford, Somerton, Kirtlington, Tackley and Fritwell.
“The richness and diversity of this area is reflected on the quality of the honey the bees produce and many have said the honey from our Ardley bees is the very best they have had.”
Terry Murphy, Viridor’s Director of Landfill, said: “Viridor is committed to improving biodiversity in a way which benefits the local community and wildlife. The closure of any landfill is just the beginning of our contribution to establish healthy places and habitats. We will continue to care for and restore the Ardley landfill for decades to come.
“We were really pleased to have been approached by the beekeepers. We hope that the bees enjoy their new home as much as we hope to enjoy the honey.”
The Ardley landfill closed in April 2015 after 35 years of service. Most of Oxfordshire’s domestic waste has since been diverted away from landfill to the neighbouring Ardley Energy Recovery Facility.
The energy recovery facility operated by Viridor, transforms non-recyclable waste into enough low carbon energy to power 54,459 homes.