VOLUNTEERS have been rewarded for their efforts to make two south Essex train stations “wildlife friendly” and boost biodiversity.

Both Rayleigh and Hockley train stations have been given the “wildlife friendly station” status for the work volunteers have carried out to create “rich wildlife habitats”.

Hockley’s volunteers from the local U3A society have spent significant time transforming their station garden into a haven for insects.

Their efforts have seen the addition of more plants and the construction of an insect hotel.

Rayleigh’s station underwent a grand redevelopment in 2022.

The renovation turned the station into a blooming space abundant with numerous different plants and flowers, attracting pollinators like butterflies.

James Hogg, development officer at the Wildlife Trust, said: “The alarming decline in the abundance of wildlife and the plight of species under threat means that just protecting the nature we have left is not enough; we need to put nature into recovery, and to do so at scale and with urgency.

“This project with Greater Anglia is a fantastic example of how people can transform nature-poor areas into new nature-rich places and change the way we think about land, seizing opportunities to help nature outside traditional nature reserves.”

The honour recognises the efforts of the volunteer “station adopters” through the “Greater Anglia Wildlife Friendly Stations Accreditation Scheme”.

Created by Greater Anglia and working in partnership with the region’s Wildlife Trusts, the scheme highlights the outstanding efforts of the station adopters.

These volunteers have made great strides to improve the environment via their work, which encourages the growth and nurturing of flora and fauna.

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s customer and community engagement manager, said: “We are delighted to partner with the region’s wildlife trusts to formally recognise the valuable work of our station adopter volunteers in supporting wildlife and improving their local environment.”

The scheme has made significant strides in the past 20 years, with most Greater Anglia stations boasting active station adopters.

Through their hard work, rail stations are creating an environment where wildlife can flourish.