We have used ArcGIS to map the current extent of wetlands across the landscape around the quarry site. This was achieved using free Ordnance Survey products and then reviewing aerial imagery and other supporting maps to identify and draw smaller water bodies. As a result we estimate that there are more than 250 wetlands within 5km of the centre of the quarry site. On average these wetlands have a surface area of 0.76ha. In total, 19.9ha total wetland area is currently available within 5km, a distance expected to be the maximum for the majority of winged aquatic insects to disperse.
As a consequence of the quarry flooding, the available wetland area would increase to approximately 83 ha, an increase of over 400%. However much of this will result from the flooding of the five main voids (79%). Unfortunately due to depth, much of this area will be of limited suitability to many species of aquatic flora and fauna.
Applying network theory to this digital wetland map will help us to quantify the centrality of the worked quarries to the wetland network. We will also gain indications of the main sources and flows of wetland biodiversity across the landscape and determine which wetlands might enable wildlife to colonise the flooded quarries. We can then use principles of landscape-scale conservation to suggest where improvements to existing wetlands should occur, and potentially how the creation of new wetlands in the quarry complex could contribute to regional biodiversity.