The Government has today launched a three month consultation on the next tranche of Marine Conservation Zones around the coast of England. Below is a joint response to the announcement from the National Trust and the Marine Conservation Society.
Second round of Marine Conservation Zone designation will leave English waters woefully under protected
Conservation charities say promised network of protection is not even close as vital sites don’t even get to public consultation
The UK’s leading marine charity says it is hugely disappointed that, in the same week the Government has been warned how England’s declining natural environment is harming the economy, it has failed to deliver on promises to better protect English seas.
37 sites had been proposed to go forward to a second public consultation on Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), all identified by Government’s scientific advisers as vital to plugging “major gaps” that currently exist in the development of a UK network.
However, only 23 sites have made the final list when the consultation for potential new MCZs was launched on Friday 30th January. While MCS is keen that members of the public air their views to ensure that these sites become a reality, the charity has real concerns that English seas will not contribute a network of sites that we can be proud of in future.
This week marked the start of the largest ever National Trust tree planting project at the conservation charity’s Slindon Estate in West Sussex.
The ten year programme, named ‘The Rise of Northwood’, will see 75 hectares (185 acres) of woodland – the equivalent of 105 football pitches – restored to its former glory, having been removed during the First and Second World Wars. Thanks to a generous legacy left to the Trust for use in the South Downs, the Slindon Estate team’s vision for the area has become a reality.
Over three months, volunteers will help to plant 13,500 native trees at Northwood using seeds collected from the surrounding woodland. In just two days, more than 3,000 trees had already been planted, thanks to the support of more than 100 volunteers.
This planting, however, is just the beginning of a ten year project, with many more trees expected to emerge through natural colonisation, direct seeding and further planting of saplings.
More than 200 acres of the sort of wild and windswept heathland that inspired Dorset’s most famous writer, Thomas Hardy, has been acquired by the National Trust. Slepe Heath in Dorset is the largest area of lowland heath that the Trust has acquired for more than a decade.
The magical Slepe Heath in Dorset. A landscape that inspired Dorset’s most famous writer, Thomas Hardy. Credit: National Trust/Will Wilkinson.
As part of a conservation vision inspired by the landscapes featured in the novels of Thomas Hardy, Slepe Heath will connect the protected lowland heath of Hartland Moor, already looked after by the National Trust and Natural England, and the Arne reserve, owned by the RSPB.
Bee-eaters nesting on the Isle of Wight have raised eight chicks – the most successful breeding attempt by these birds, normally found in the Mediterranean, on record in the UK.
Three chicks have now fledged from one nest, on National Trust land, and another five chicks have fledged from a second nest.
Bee-eaters on the Isle of Wight. Credit Danny Vokins.
An adult bee-eater was first spotted at Wydcombe on 15 July by National Trust dragonfly survey volunteer Dave Dana. And chicks were first sighted a month later on the 15 August. There were originally thought to be nine chicks but one has not survived.
Dave Dana, a National Trust Volunteer on the Isle of Wight, said: “I’d just come from counting golden-ringed dragonflies at a stream and I thought ‘that bird looks a bit different!’
“Its flight path seemed almost triangular. I didn’t really appreciate the bird until I got home and looked at the photos. I’d always wanted to see a bee-eater in this country but I never thought it would turn out to be a major wildlife event.”