Trip gives an insight into beaver

Biodiversity duty guidance published today

Forests group gets 50,000 grant

No-fishing zones 'help restore coral'

Irish badger culling 'is futile'

Red squirrel dies from deadly pox

Anger at beauty spot 'vandalism'

Outrage as patch of woodland stripped

Changing face of Ashdown Forest

Ancient forests get lottery facelift

3m to preserve area's landscapes

Banned poisons were found after dying birds discovered

Trip gives an insight into beaver

BBC Online news 23 May 2007

Six gamekeepers from estates around the Cairngorms and representatives from the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Forestry Commission Scotland and Dee Salmon Fishery Board went to Norway and spent eight days in Hedmark county looking at how beavers are managed.

The trip was funded by the EU Nature Exchange programme. The park authority said information gathered could add to the debate on whether beavers should be re-introduced to Scotland. They also studied land and deer management practices.

A spokesman for CNPA, which organised the trip, said: "The visitors were given the opportunity to see the species in their natural habitat as well as the landscape impacts they can create.

"It also provided them with new insights and understanding of beavers, their management and habitats, which they will now be able to share in the debate in Scotland about re-introduction and possible locations.

"The group felt that if there was re-introduction in Scotland, a similar management approach to Norway needs to be adopted."

The Beaver was hunted to extinction in Scotland more than 400 years ago

Biodiversity duty guidance published today

DEFRA Information Bulletin Ref: 143/07 22 May 2007

Guidance on the biodiversity duty under Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC), has been published today by Defra.

The aim of the biodiversity duty is to raise the profile of biodiversity in England and Wales, eventually to a point where biodiversity issues become second nature to everyone making decisions in the public sector.

All public authorities are affected, including over 900 public bodies local authorities, fire, police and health bodies, museums and transport authorities.

In recognition of the key role local authorities play with regard to conserving and enhancing biodiversity, there are two sets of guidance:

  • specific guidance aimed at the needs and requirements of local authorities; and

  • more generic guidance aimed at all public authorities affected.

The guidance is intended to assist public authorities to implement the biodiversity duty.  It provides advice on different activities and functions of public sector organisations and includes a number of case studies which illustrate what can be done to have regard to biodiversity.

The guidance is available on the Defra website at:

Forests group gets 50,000 grant

this is Scotland 15 May 2007

The conservation charity Trees for Life has received a 50,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to plan work required for its Dundreggan project at Glen Moriston.

Detailed biological surveys and a management strategy will be undertaken for the 10,000-acre estate, which the Findhorn-based charity expects to complete the purchase of shortly.

Founder and executive director Alan Watson-Featherstone yesterday welcomed the "significant" financial boost:

"It is powerful recognition of the biological importance of the Dundreggan estate, with its outstanding juniper woodlands and rare species such as wood ants and black grouse.

"This grant is a major boost for the long-term recovery of the Caledonian Forest there, and it will help to establish a native woodland corridor linking Glen Moriston with Glen Affric," he said.
Trees for Life aims to restore the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands to its former majesty. Today, just 1% of the original forest remains. The charity has already planted over 500,000 trees since its foundation in 1991 and has won several awards for its conservation work.

this is North Scotland

No-fishing zones 'help restore coral'

Daily telegraph 14 May 2007

No-take zones - where fishing is banned - can help restore coral reefs damaged by pollution and global warming. A study in a marine reserve in the Bahamas found that the number of young corals doubled in areas in which native fish, such as parrotfish, were protected from being caught.

Young corals are needed to replace older corals that have been killed by storms, disease or the bleaching effect caused by excessive sea temperatures. The study, by scientists from Exeter university, showed that in the reserve enabled young corals survived exceptionally well because marauding seaweeds were controlled by grazing from plentiful numbers of parrotfish.

The study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences was carried out in the Bahamas' Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, which at 265 square miles, one of the largest and most successful marine reserves in the Caribbean.


Irish badger culling 'is futile'

BBC news online 14 may 2007

A new report claims the "virtual extermination" of badgers in the Republic of Ireland has failed to stop the spread of bovine TB. Badgerwatch Ireland and the UK Badger Trust have reviewed documents relating to the systematic destruction of badgers in the so-called Four Areas Project which operated in Cork, Monaghan, Donegal and Kilkenny from 1997 to 2002. Although so many badgers have been killed that they are extinct in many areas, the level of TB in cattle is twice as high as in Britain, it says.

The groups believe their assessment supports the view that bovine TB in Ireland is largely spread by the movement of cattle. They say the disease rocketed in Ireland when pre-movement TB testing for cattle was abandoned in 1996.

In Britain, the government-backed Randomised Badger Culling Trial (also known as the Krebs Trial), which ended in 2003, showed that culling could make the TB problem worse.

Reactive culling raised TB incidence by 25%. A proactive regime lowered incidence inside the target zone, but resulted in an increase in surrounding areas.

Britain's National Farmers' Union accused the groups of being highly selective in their choice of figures.

Red squirrel dies from deadly pox

BBC news online 11 May 2007

The first case of a red squirrel dying in Scotland as a result of the squirrel pox virus has been confirmed. The animal, which was displaying classic symptoms of the virus, was found near Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, on Tuesday. It was put down following an examination at the South of Scotland Wildlife Hospital, Dumfries. Edinburgh vets confirmed squirrel pox, a virus carried by non-native grey squirrels. Although the virus is fatal to red squirrels, greys remain unaffected by the disease.

Conservationists have been working hard to try and stop the virus coming over the border into Scotland, and until now had been successful. Intensive control measures have been in place since its presence in Scotland was first detected in invasive populations of grey squirrels in May 2005. Scottish Natural Heritage currently has two grey squirrel control officers working in the south of Scotland.

Local red squirrel conservation officer Ann-Marie MacMaster urged the public to report red or grey squirrels which appeared to be ill. "Once red squirrels develop lesions, they are extremely infectious," she said.

"We would also ask people in the Lockerbie area especially not to encourage the two species of squirrel together through the use of feeders as this may facilitate the spread of the disease."

The red squirrel is one of the most threatened species of mammal in the UK with 75% (121,000 animals) of the population estimated to be found in Scotland.

In February 2007, the Scottish Executive awarded a two-year contract to investigate the development of a vaccine against squirrel pox virus.

Anger at beauty spot 'vandalism'

Craven Herald 11 May 2007

A Dales resident has been horrified by what he calls "vandalism" carried out by the National Trust in a sensitive area of Malham. Stuart Gledhill, who has lived in Malhamdale all his life and is a member of the National Trust, said he could not believe his eyes when he came across broken limestone pavement and metal fence posts at Janet's Foss, a well-known beautyspot.

The land is owned by the National Trust and lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Gordale Beck runs over the foss (a Nordic word for waterfall) and is visited by thousands of people each year.

Mr Gledhill, a life-long member of the National Trust, immediately got in touch with the charity. He also contacted the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority which looks after the land.

"I eventually spoke to the national park's area ranger Kat Kilner, who was as surprised as me," said Mr Gledhill. "It seems it is a joint venture by the National Trust and the national park authority and while she said she was aware the work was to go ahead, she did not know it had started and that the posts were not supposed to be in the line of sight from the bottom of the Foss.

"I appreciate the need to make some areas accessible for everyone, but there are places where this is not practical. Damaging the limestone in the Dales is wrong. What has been done up there I would class as vandalism," he said.

However, Martin Davies, the National Trust's countryside property manager for the Yorkshire Dales, played down the severity of the situation. Mr Davies said he was due to meet Mr Gledhill at Janet's Foss yesterday (Thursday) to look at ways to address his concerns.

Damaging the rare limestone pavement is an offence and Natural England has said it will investigate the damage.

Outrage as patch of woodland stripped

Bracknell News 10 May 2007

Outraged neighbours are in talks with the authorities after a large portion of woodland was removed in Martin's Heron. The woodland was cleared within a few hours two weeks ago.

Mary Combs,of Allsmoor Lane,said said: "It is the amount of forest that they have cut down which has concerned me. Also it is horrible that they did this during bird breeding season."

Ms Combs is so concerned about the incident that she is starting a campaign to protect the green corridors in Bracknell. As well as being in the process of setting up a website (, Ms Combs has pinned aerial and landscape photos - along with posters titled Blot on the Landscape and Our Goals - to a billboard at the end of her garden. Anyone using the path behind her house can see the photos and read up on the group's aims.

The woodland was cut down by the private landowner and is currently under investigation from the Forestry Commission, which is responsible for the protection of the UK's forests and woodlands.

Bracknell News

Changing face of Ashdown Forest

this is Kent 10 May 2007

The Ashdown Forest has become a place where dog walkers and nature lovers feel they have been left out of the loop. Residents who regularly use the forest have complained about gorse being taken, tree felling and, more recently, sheep grazing, which they say is destroying the landscape.

They feel they are being patronised by never being told what is happening to the protected heathland and that they are becoming an inconvenience to the Conservators of the Ashdown Forest. When they ask questions, they say there are never satisfactory answers.

This week it was announced that the forest had won part of 5.5million Lottery money to reveal its hidden history.

Clerk to the conservators Hew Prendergast said the money would fund a more informative Forest Centre where people could learn about its wildlife and history.

This could either worry people further as being another scheme they had no idea about or it could be a turning point where the centre becomes a place where residents can reveal the hidden answers to their questions.

this is Kent

Ancient forests get lottery facelift

The Argus, 8 May 2007

Lottery cash has been set aside to restore treasured ancient areas of Sussex countryside. Weald Forest Ridge, which stretches from Tonbridge to Horsham, is due to benefit from a 5.5 million package from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The area, in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, includes Ashdown Forest, near East Grinstead and St Leonard's Forest, near Horsham.

A conservation partnership applied for about 2 million to improve the area's natural habitats and restore fragments of four medieval forests.

Broadwater Warren, a lost forest dating back to the Middle Ages, is due to become the largest heathland restoration project in the South East under the scheme.

The Weald Forest Ridge Landscape Partnership, including district and county councils in Sussex, the Countryside Agency, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and English Heritage, has already contributed 1,327,093 to the scheme. It aims to make the area accessible to 350,000 people living in Horsham, Crawley, Haywards Heath, East Grinstead, Crowborough, Uckfield, Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge.

Weald Forest Ridge, which in Roman and Tudor times was a heartland for the iron industry, contains some of Britain's oldest woodland.

Barry Gardiner, the Government minister for biodiversity, landscape and rural affairs, said: "Our landscapes are vital for lots of reasons - for our countryside, for people, for wildlife, for the economy and for the environment.

"The money awarded today by the Heritage Lottery Fund will help people and communities to work together to create tomorrow's living landscapes, protecting and enhancing habitats and local environments for the benefit of all."

3m to preserve area's landscapes

BBC news online 8 May 2007

More than 3m is being spent on helping to preserve and restore two of the region's most breathtaking landscapes.

At least 1.8m is being given to the Wyre Forest in Worcestershire, a large surviving area of ancient woodland, by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Another 1.4m is going to Cheshire's Sandstone Ridge, a beauty spot which has existed since Neolithic times.

A lottery spokesman said the money would help communities to protect habitats and local environments.

The Wyre Forest has been used in the past as a chase, a Royal hunting forest and producer of charcoal and bark for the leather industry. It also has a history of coal mining, fruit growing and farming. If the 280 fragmented fruit orchards are revived it would help conserve the 1, 200 species of butterflies and moths which can be found there.

Cheshire's Sandstone Ridge has seen it being used for agricultural and industrial purposes. Its pits of silt and clay are now ponds and wetlands, supporting a range of mosses and wildlife.

Banned poisons were found after dying birds discovered

this is North Scotland 1 May 2007

The head gamekeeper at a Moray estate was found with banned pesticides after dying birds were discovered on farmland on the estate, a court heard yesterday.

Investigators searched Michael Royan's home on the Innes Estate near Elgin after moribund buzzards and crows were found in a nearby field. The birds contained traces of carbofuran, an insecticide outlawed since 2001. The search at Innes Home Farm on November 29 last year revealed quantities of carbofuran, and banned pesticides cymag and alphachloralose.

During the search police also found 168 rounds of ammunition in an unlocked garage in breach of Royan's obligations as the holder of a firearms certificate.

The gamekeeper was fined 1,000 after he admitted being in possession of the three pesticides and failing to comply with a condition of his fire - arms certificate by storing ammunition in an unlocked garage.

this is North Scotland