Nature expert Matthew Oates welcomes Met Office cool May claim

A National Trust nature expert has welcomed news that a predicted May heatwave will be slowed by the arrival of colder winds this week.

The cooler weather would slow the “ridiculously early” emergence of butterflies and other insects weeks earlier than predicted, the conservation charity’s nature specialist Matthew Oates said.

It comes as Met Office forecasters predicted an unsettled May, with rain, wind and cloud breaking up the early Summer sunshine.

The Met Office’s Simon Partridge told the Press Association: “Average maximum temperatures will be about 16C but we could see temperatures throughout the month a bit higher than that, particularly through this week.”

Matthew Oates, National Trust nature specialist, said: “Plants and insects are incredibly advanced for early May. High summer insects such as the white admiral and purple emperor butterflies are threatening to come out at the start of June, as their caterpillars have developed fast in the dry April. I’ve got a knee operation at the end of the month, but I’m more terrified of missing the purple emperor.

“We’ve had a brilliant Spring, but now we desperately need some rain. Chalk grassland near my home in the Cotswolds is starting to grey at the edges.”

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