Film ID:
NEFA 13924



Visitor Tabs


A film presented by ICI Ecology Officer Ken Smith, this in-house promotional film looks at the work being done by ICI on Teesside to improve the wildlife and ecology around their site. The films also shows how others are helping with conservation work.

The film opens on a number of scenes of flowers, a butterfly, general vegetation and a countryside track. This is followed by views of a busy road taken from the Eston Hills and in the distance cooling towers and general industrial plant.

The film goes on to show a thrush feeding a nest of growing chicks, a mouse eating wild berries. This is followed by views of marshland and open water with the pipes and chimneys of an industrial site in the background. More views follow of local wildlife showing a coot, a seal, and cormorants.

A man appears on screen walking past the buildings of the Wilton Centre at ICI and introduces himself as Ken Smith, ecology officer for the company. He talks about the importance of industry and nature sitting alongside each other and thriving.

The film moves on to a view of a swan, then a mouse both pictures shrink onto a background view of an industrial plant.

Title: The Natural Choice, Industry and Wildlife on Teesside.

General views follow of the ICI Wilton plant taken from the Eston Hills plus general views show natural landscapes and industrial areas. A view of a stream underlines Ken Smith in commentary, speaking of the importance of reducing effluent from ICI’s plant so it doesn’t pollute the local water courses.

The film shows a young sparrow as it pulls itself up onto the edge of its nest. The film moves on to Cowpen Marsh where Ken Smith outlines the pioneering work of ICI in wildlife conservation when they leased the marsh to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. A view of wading birds follows.

Ken Smith stands beside a notice board which reads ‘ICI Fertlilizers [indistinct lettering] Saltholme Pools Conservation and Wildlife Reserve’ another initiative by ICI. General views show the marshes and pools which attracts rare wading birds.

Ken Smith speaks to camera seated on a fence next to one of the pools. General views follow of vegetation, flowers, birds and animals including a hedgehog and a fox. Next a view of heavy industry taken from the Eston Hills, then more views of the natural environment.

A girl walks past a fountain near a formal garden displaying an array of colourful flowers. Her presence underlines the existing need for the industry which can produce the textiles to make the clothes she is wearing. The commentary goes on to say that the industry that helps produce fabrics should not have a detrimental effect on the environment around it.

Ken Smith speaks to camera against the backdrop of ICI’s chemical plant. He puts forward ICI’s policies on wildlife conservation, then outlines the methods they use to carry out their policies.

The film cuts to a man wearing a white protective helmet doing a field survey. Another photographs the flowers and creatures that can be found within the conservation area, and identifies them using reference sources.

Ken Smith introduces Bob Walters and Phil Thorpe-Willett who are naturalists conducting a wildlife survey on the Wilton site. They’ve captured two animals in humane traps as part of the survey. One of the traps contains a long tailed field mouse, the other trap a bank vole.

The film turns to a man working at a desk collating the information from the surveys which will describe the ecology of the area and help create subsequent conservation plan.

Next a view follows of North Tees brine field islands in the shallow pools colonised by common terns. The same site is an important nesting place for ringed plovers. One bird feigns injury to lure would be predators away from its nest. Ken Smith goes on to show a purpose built pool which has been excavated to attract water birds

General views follow of waders and other water birds feeding at the pools. Other views show the brine field pools and spectacular sunsets over the landscape.

Ken Smith on camera talks about other wetland projects being carried out at Wilton. A number of workers behind him are planting out aquatic plants around a pool as part of the project.

Dave Fryett and Barry Richardson of Operational Services are managing this re-creation of wetland areas. Ken Smith asks Dave Fryett how things are progressing. In his reply he describes the work undertaken so far, the camera shows some of the waterside plants that have been planted. Ken calls Barry from the group of workers nearby. Barry explains that the planting of aquatic plants is progressing well and that pond life such as damsel flies, pond skaters and water beetles have also been seen.

At the nearby boundary road a field is being planted with wild flowers by another team. They are planting in an area specifically to attract butterflies.

An area of Lazenby Bank is leased to Cleveland County Council from ICI for nature study sessions by school groups. The film shows a school group walking through a woodland area, an area which still has a few derelict buildings from the ironstone mining industry.

A group of school children listen to a lecture given at their school by one of the naturalists seen earlier in the film. One of the children asks what kind of trees grow in Wilton Woods. Elm, beech and black poplar are mentioned, as is the fact that some of the woodland is very old. Another boy asks what animals inhabit the wood, roe deer, badgers, foxes, rabbits and hares are included in the answer.

The film cuts to an area in the Cleveland Centre shopping mall in Middlesbrough. Under the model of Captain Cook’s ship the Endeavour which hangs from the roof a large display celebrating Industry and Environment week taking place in the centre from the 11th to the 16th of June 1990.

Ken Smith appears on film in a smart suit standing in front of some doors. He explains that in the room behind him a board meeting is taking place of directors of Cleveland INCAs, (Industry, Nature and Conservation Association) a joint venture between the Nature Conservancy Council and Industry the first of its kind in the country. Ken Smith beckons the camera to follow him into the meeting.

In the meeting a member of the board is speaking, Mr Ron Norman, Chairman of INCA and TDC (Tees Development Corporation?) another board member replies to his comments.

Outside Ken Smith praises the comments made at the meeting, but emphasises that progress comes about through action and not just words, which is demonstrated through the work taking place at Wilton. General views show workers seen earlier carrying out projects as well as views of natural habitats, plants, flowers, birds and animals, which then cuts to a view of the ICI Wilton chemical plant.

Ken Smith on camera summarises the conservation work done in conjunction with ICI so far on Teesside.

A view follows of a sunset over ICI Wilton.

End Credit: The ICI logo, The Natural Choice, Copyright Northern Broadcast 1990,


End Credit: Written and Presented by Ken Smith ICI Ecology Officer

End Credit: Ecology Assistant – Bob Walters

End Credit: Additional Material – Dave Fryett, Barry Richardson

End Credit: Neville Jobson, Phil Thorpe-Willett

End Credit: Model - Lisa Worthington

End Credit: We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the following in the making of this video.

End Credit: Cleveland INCA, Norton Hall

End Credit: Skelton Junior School, Hemlington Hall Junior School

End Credit: Ken ‘Hedgehog’ Bibby

End Credit: A Northern Broadcast Production for ICI Chemicals and Polymers PLC