We respect and adhere to conservation designations such as Sites or Areas of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI / ASSI) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), ensuring we do not damage or interfere with the ecosystems, habitats and species of flora and fauna around us on land and in the water.
Our lifeboat stations
Sustainability is at the forefront of all our building projects and when new lifeboat stations and other sites are built, we endeavour to use sustainable building materials and install the most suitable and cost-effective renewable technologies as standard.
To keep costs down, we use consistent designs and specifications where possible when building and maintaining our lifeboat stations. But with many of our lifeboat stations being in exposed locations where there are environmental and planning restrictions, we inevitably have to customise our plans, which results in unique designs, architecture and construction techniques.
The sensitive nature of some lifeboat station sites, whether they be listed buildings or in designated conservation areas, can also result in protracted, and sometimes controversial, planning processes.
All-weather Lifeboat Centre
RNLI College and our All-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole are set on Holes Bay in Poole Harbour, which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area (SPA) due to the wetland habitats and wintering bird population.
As such, during the build of our All-weather Lifeboat Centre, one of the environmental requirements was to closely monitor the local bird population over the two Winters that building work was taking place to ensure bird numbers weren’t impacted.
Working closely with ecological consultancy Jonathan Cox Associates, bird monitoring surveys were carried out. These included baseline surveys and subsequent surveys to coincide with the noisiest and most intrusive activities on site.
The counts included the number of different species of birds at different states of the tide, and their approximate locations. There were also normalisation counts, or recounts, when demolition of the site began at the end of March 2013 and when building work got underway in November 2013.
This procedure ensures any significant changes to the local bird population are identified and is similar to that used to survey the migrant bird population during the construction of Poole's Twin Sails Bridge in 2011.
The results of the surveys were positive and the construction of our All-weather Lifeboat Centre had no impact on the wintering bird population.
Marine animal rescue
RNLI lifeboat crew and lifeguards report sightings of marine animals to various conservation bodies and, being trained for every eventuality, often get involved in the rescue of these animals when they get into trouble.
In September 2012, Anstruther lifeboat volunteers assisted the Marine Rescue Service, the Coastguard and the local fire and rescue service in the rescue operation of over 20 stranded pilot whales on Anstruther Beach.
While some of the crew helped to spray the whales with water to prevent their body temperature rising, others monitored a second pod of whales sighted up the coast amid concern that they would venture too close and suffer the same fate.
Ten of the whales were saved thanks to the combined efforts of all those involved in the rescue.
The RNLI crew played an invaluable role. Without them the rescue could have had a very different outcomeGareth NormanIncident Coordinator, British Divers Marine Life Rescue