A round up of the top stories as chosen by the CJS Team.
Monday 26 September
Wildlife Photography Awards
BWPA are proud to announce the competition winners for 2011.
Overall Winner “Jellyfish in the Blue Sea of Sula Sgeir” by Richard
The winning image of a jellyfish was captured by Richard Shucksmith. His
photo was taken at Sula Sgeir (meaning Gannet Rock) a small uninhabited
Scottish island, 41 miles north of Lewis. The inhospitable area is home to
exposed islands sustaining an astounding variety of marine life. The
remoteness of these islands, as well as the challenge that comes with
visiting them, makes Richard’s incredible photo all the more special.
Greg Armfield, Photography and Film Manager from WWF said “A truly
beautiful shot of a jellyfish that perfectly captures its iridescent colours
and magical qualities. All the more remarkable that it exists in UK waters.
Competition judge Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The
Wildlife Trusts, said “We are delighted to see how many people from around
the UK were inspired by the competition to explore nature in their local
area. This year’s entries reflected a real passion, and affection, for
local wildlife. This competition is a special opportunity to give the
natural world that surrounds us the recognition, and reverence, it
The winners and a
selection of commended entries can be viewed here.
2011 Winner: Habitat (the
category sponsored by CJS)
Ian Paul Haskell, Hare in Morning Light with Hoar Frost (Brown Hare,
The British Wildlife Photography Awards 2011, a beautiful slideshow of
the winning entries from The Telegraph
The winners of the 2011 British Wildlife Photography Awards have been
announced. These awards recognise the talents of the UK’s foremost wildlife
photographers and are unique in that the images must be taken of British
wildlife in their natural habitats. Thousands of photographers across the
country entered this year's competition. We have selected 30 images for this
All of the images from the British Wildlife Photography Awards are
included in a beautiful hardback coffee table book, British Wildlife
Photography Awards: Collection 2, AA Publishing, £25, out 30th September.
The images will be on display in a free exhibition at Alexandra Palace from
14th – 28th October before embarking on a year-long nationwide tour.
NPPF again, the weekend roundup of the 'Nationals'
Two from The Telegraph:
Tory David Heathcoat-Amory accuses National Trust of 'jihad’
David Heathcoat-Amory, the former shadow minister, says the National
Trust is wrong to become involved in the row over planining reforms.
Just when David Cameron hoped that his emollient letter to the
director-general of the National Trust, Dame Fiona Reynolds, would calm the
row over the Government’s controversial proposed planning reforms, a
prominent Conservative has raised the temperature.
David Heathcoat-Amory, the former shadow minister, has accused the
charity of becoming involved in “a sort of jihad”.
Second article in The Telegraph:
Planning reforms already having an impact on countryside
Controversial planning reforms are already being used to approve building
developments that will result in rural countryside being concreted over.
In Rutland, planning inspectors overruled a council decision to reject an
application to build 96 houses on an area of countryside that had been
designated as protected under local plans, citing the NPPF seven times in
the appeal decision Planning officials have cited the Government's
proposed changes to the planning system in a series of contentious decisions
even though the new guidelines have yet to come into force.
Government breaks pledge to keep developers off farmland
Britain's best farmland will no longer be shielded from development,
proposed new planning rules suggest, reversing a pledge made by the
Conservatives before the last election.
Instead, the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which is
generating fierce opposition from countryside and heritage groups, suggests
that even "the best and most versatile agricultural land" can be built on in
Revealed: Plans for 300,000 homes on green field sites as developers exploit
change in rules, in the Daily Mail
Developers are to exploit a controversial change in the planning laws by
building more than 300,000 homes on green field sites, campaigners claimed
A study by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) found that 230
major projects are already in the pipeline in anticipation of the
Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework.
State of Britain's Mammals report was published today by People’s Trust for
week People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) releases the tenth
anniversary edition of their annual research and conservation report, the
State of Britain’s Mammals. The release of the report coincides with an
impressive milestone that celebrates £1million that the Trust has raised and
awarded over the last ten years towards the conservation of mammals in the
The report, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit
at the University of Oxford, focuses on how our mammal species have fared
over the past ten years – looking in particular at whether targets set for
them have been met.
of Britain’s Mammals shows that while four of the mammals listed in the mid
1990s – otters, water voles, pipistrelles and greater horseshoe bats – have
achieved, or in some cases, even more remarkably, exceeded their targets;
some species have been added to the list and are still declining, including
some of the most endangered species: red squirrels, Scottish wildcats,
mountain hares, harvest mice, hazel dormice, and in rural areas, hedgehogs.
The report also looks at conflict with invasive species, the problem of
diseases and examines reintroduction programmes and environmental management
full report here.
This was picked up by most of the media, here are
story on the BBC
Red squirrel and hedgehog
under threat, study says
The report said red squirrels were almost extinct in England despite
efforts to protect them
Red squirrel and hedgehog populations in the UK have continued to fall
over the last decade, a report suggests.
The BBC also has a very helpful diagrammatic explanation.
and lows for British mammals
This week the People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) publish their
tenth annual report: The State of Britain's Mammals. The decade has held
mixed results for some of our most distinctive species but conservationists
are hopeful that past successes can guide future efforts.
How British mammal species are faring
The Guardian version:
Red squirrel 'could be extinct within next 20 years'
Oxford University wildlife unit finds biodiversity action plans failing
to halt steep decline in dormice, hedgehogs and wildcats
And from the Independent:
Britain's beasts – and the battle to save them
UK mammals face serious threats, new study shows, but there's hope
Conservationists are losing their battle to halt the decline of some of
Britain's best-loved species, according to a new report published today.
Other news today.
National Trust for
Scotland to hold local assemblies
reported by the BBC
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) will hold a series of local
assemblies next year to help improve the running of the charity, its
chairman has said.
Results of a review published last year recommended changes were needed
to make the trust "fit for purpose". Following its AGM in Dundee, NTS's
chairman Sir Kenneth Calman said the organisation was "embracing change".
Local assemblies will be held across Scotland and would involve meetings
between staff and communities.
After the meeting, Sir Kenneth said: "The trust is proud to be
celebrating its 80th year - it is an organisation with a long history. "But,
we are also an organisation with a bright future too and one which is
embracing change. That's why from next year, we will be taking the trust out
across Scotland to engage in dialogue with our members, communities and
partners in a more meaningful and more productive way." He added: "This is
an important cultural shift for the organisation showing our commitment to
both accountability and co-operation, key principles our new strategy."
Cairngorms National Park of the Future
The Cairngorms National Park Authority is asking people to picture how
they want to see their National Park in the future and think about what we
can all do to make it happen.
Ten priorities have been proposed by the
CNPA for the next five years and over the coming months there will be
opportunities for people to tell us whether they agree and how they can
CNPA Convenor David Green said: "Our vision is for an outstanding
National Park, enjoyed and valued by everyone, where people and nature
thrive together and by 2017 we want you to be some way towards feeling
The priorities are outlined in the draft Cairngorms National Park
Plan 2012-2017. The final version will be a management plan for the Park
setting the vision and direction and providing the focus for all those
responsible for managing the area.
He added: "What's in the Park Plan
will affect things like what support is available to land managers, how we
prioritise effort to conserve species and habitats, the way communities can
deliver their action plans, the opportunities people have for recreation and
enjoying the Park and opportunities to grow the economy. We will do our very
best to manage this but we need everyone's help in telling us what the
priorities should be and how they can help make it happen."
Tuesday 27 September
Labour to attempt rebrand as 'party of the countryside' - reported in
The Guardian ahead of a speech to be made today at the party conference,
Creagh to tell Labour party conference that government is vulnerable on
rural affairs such as forests and planning reform
Mary Creagh will tell the Labour conference: 'We want strong rural
communities with fair pay at their heart.' Photograph: Graham Franks/Alamy
The Labour party will make an audacious pitch on Tuesday to position
itself as the party of the countryside, warning that government plans will
see wages cut for adult and child workers in rural areas. The moves follows
a turbulent year for the government in the shires, with a U-turn on plans to
sell national forests and uproar over a radical overhaul of the planning
"We stand up for fairness in the countryside," Mary Creagh, shadow
secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs will tell the
party's annual conference in Liverpool on Tuesday. "We want strong rural
communities with fair pay at their heart."
Labour fights planning reforms to win rural vote - Mary Creagh, shadow
environment secretary, reported in The Telegraph
has committed itself to fighting the Government’s overhaul of the planning
system, amid fears that large swathes of middle England will be concreted
Labour wants to ensure brownfield sites are always considered ahead of
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Mary Creagh, the shadow environment
secretary, set out a number of changes that Labour wanted to see made to the
controversial draft National Planning Policy Framework.
The party now joins the National Trust, Countryside Alliance and the
Women’s Institute in demanding changes to the draft new planning rules. This
newspaper has also launched a campaign urging ministers to rethink the
Stop the spread of foreign invaders - Scottish Government
All those who use and enjoy Scotland's waters are being encouraged to
take three sensible measures to tackle invasive non-native species and
minimise their spread.The Check, Clean, Dry campaign was launched by
Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson on a visit to Loch Leven in Kinross
today. Anglers, boat owners, canoeists and all other water users are being
encouraged to:* Check equipment and clothing for live plants and animals *
Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothing thoroughly * Dry all
equipment and clothing, as some species can live for many days in moist
Precious upland habitat threat from asulam ban - Game and Wildlife
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) is calling for the
reverse of an EU Commission ban on the only means of controlling invasive
bracken on moorland and upland pastures, home to a wide range of special
plants, birds and other rare species. The results of this decision
could have huge implications for the future conservation of our precious
uplands, including many Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National
As well as suppressing plant habitats, bracken Pteridium aquilinum has
toxic qualities. It can harm livestock and can also pose a health risk
to humans and animals because it is a haven for disease carrying ticks which
spread Lyme disease. Bracken has spread significantly due to
widespread and long term changes to grazing practices. However, the
most effective control for this highly invasive species has been blocked by
a Brussels committee despite intensive lobbying from conservation
organisations in England and Scotland.
Dr Alastair Leake, Policy Director with the Game & Wildlife Conservation
Trust said, “Bracken is a well-adapted pioneer plant, which can dominate
large areas of moorland. We currently have just one effective weapon against
this highly invasive species and the EU Commission has just banned this
product. Bracken is not such a problem in other EU Countries, but it is a
major issue on uplands in the United Kingdom. This will have serious
ramifications for us.”
Asulam was banned by the EU’s European Standing Committee on the Food
Chain and Animal Health over concerns about the chemical’s safety when used
on spinach and other food crops.
Rare bats found at Culzean Country Park in Ayrshire. - BBC news report
bats were among seven species of bats recorded during the project
Two rare bat species have been discovered by a conservation team at
Culzean Country Park in South Ayrshire.
The Nathusius' pipistrelle and Leisler's bats were found during an
ecological survey at the estate.
A total of seven species of bats were recorded during the project, with
evidence being present to suggest the possible presence of two more.
If these are confirmed it will mean that all known bat species in
Scotland are present in one location.
Survey leader Claudia Gebhardt said: "Finding these rare bats in Ayrshire
is a real achievement. Before this discovery, nobody knew if these species
actually occurred in this part of Scotland.
Study finds decline in dolphins around Cornish coast - Cornwall Wildlife
number of bottlenose dolphins around Cornwall’s coast could be declining
according to a new study by the University of Exeter and Cornwall Wildlife
Trust. Sightings and strandings of dolphins, porpoises and whales,
collectively known as cetaceans, from around the Cornish coast have been
collected and recorded by Cornwall Wildlife Trust for many years. This data
formed the basis of the research project between the Trust and the
University of Exeter.
Stephen Pikesley, an MSc student from the University of Exeter’s Tremough
Campus in Penryn, has analysed the long term datasets on cetacean sightings
and strandings off the coast of Cornwall. He has identified whether changes
had occurred in the number of sightings and strandings since the early
1990s. 18 species were recorded sighted and/or stranded, with the most
frequently seen being bottlenose dolphins, harbour porpoises, common
dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and minke whales.
The study showed that the average size of bottlenose dolphin groups had
halved during the study period, and the relative proportion of harbour
porpoises and minke whales sighted around the Cornish coast had increased.
Wednesday 28 September
Natural England Board recommends new National Park Boundaries
The expansion of two of England’s finest National Parks reached a major
milestone today as Natural England’s Board agreed to proceed with
recommendations to significantly expand the boundaries of the Lake District
and Yorkshire Dales National Parks, increasing their combined area by nearly
If confirmed by the Secretary of State, the new areas would join the
ranks of some of the country’s most highly protected landscapes and would
amount to the most significant addition to England’s National Parks since
the confirmation of the South Downs in 2009.
agreed for North York Moors National Park Authority
Members of the North York Moors National Park Authority today agreed to
a number of changes to the organisation’s staffing and services to meet a
real term reduction of 35% in its funding. The decision comes after
extensive consultation with staff, residents, visitors and stakeholders.
The changes will take place between now and 2014 and will see six
full-time and six part-time staff made redundant including one of the
Authority’s directors. A number of staff will also be placed on a lower
graded post or will see a reduction in their working hours. The changes
agreed today will bring savings of £1 million and are in addition to
considerable savings and efficiencies already implemented.
Planning reforms are bigger threat to our countryside than forest sell-off
says Caroline Lucas writing in The Guardian
Every field, hedgerow, marsh, heath and moor is jeopardised by these
proposals – as is our local democracy
enjoying the view from near the Devil's Dyke, on the South Downs, Sussex.
Photograph: John Miller/ NTPL/John Miller
Given the public's emphatic rejection of the plans to sell off our
forests, you might have thought the government would tread more carefully
with its reforms to the planning system.
But no. The proposed new planning framework now out to consultation is,
if anything, a worse threat to our countryside, because "economic
development" (read "developers' profits") will override environmental
protection not just for our woods but for every field, hedgerow, marsh,
heath and moor in England. These plans will also help accelerate the decline
of inner cities and high streets by encouraging more urban sprawl. And they
are a further attack on local democracy.
No wonder so many people are up in arms. And it's not just conservation
groups like the National Trust and campaigners in the Women's Institute who
are appalled by the proposals. The speed and intensity of the backlash right
across society – including the Telegraph's heavyweight campaign – is
encouraging. In part, this is because the people have so many reasons to
oppose the plans.
Thursday 29 September
A day of (mostly) good news for the National Parks
In response to yesterday's announcement by Natural
England to advice the expansion of the Yorkshire Dales National Park
National Park welcomes boundary changes - Yorkshire Dales National Park
Plans to extend the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and
add another 162 square miles of land to it have been welcomed by the
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA)
Natural England proposed that the boundaries of both the Yorkshire Dales
and the Lake District National Parks should be enlarged to absorb different
areas of land sandwiched between them.
The Board of Natural England yesterday announced the long-awaited
decision that will see the inclusion in the Yorkshire Dales National Park
to the north, parts of the Orton Fells, the northern Howgill Fells, Wild
Boar Fell and Mallerstang and
to the west, Barbon, Middleton, Casterton and Leck Fells, the River Lune
and part of Firbank Fell and other fells to the west of the river.
The area covered by the National Park will increase from 680sq miles to
David Butterworth, the YDNPA’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted
that Natural England’s Board is now taking forward the process to extend the
boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
and landowners who, for generations, have lived and worked in these places
have helped create the great natural beauty and many special qualities that
visitors enjoy today – and that make the areas worthy of National Park
National Park campaigners salute boost for Cumbria’s forgotten landscapes
- Campaign for National Parks
The Friends of the Lake District and the Campaign for National Parks have
joined together to welcome yesterday’s decision by Natural England to make
the formal orders that are required to extend the boundaries of the Lake
District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.
Broads Authority is rewarded for work in sustainable tourism for a second
time - Broads Authority
accolade that recognises the Broads Authority as a leader in sustainable
tourism for a second time was awarded at the largest Europarc Conference for
years in Southern Germany last week.
The new president of the Europarc
Federation,Thomas Hansson, presented the award to Bruce Hanson of the Broads
Authority in front of an audience of 320 people from more than 20 countries.
Thirteen parks gained the Charter for the first time, and five, including
the Broads Authority, were re-awarded it.
A total of 89 out of 440
protected areas hold the charter in 35 European countries
the bad news:
Criticism as a 4x4 is driven to Snowdon summit again - BBC news report
The vehicle was found parked next to the summit visitors' centre
Police and national park officials are investigating reports a 4x4
vehicle has been left near the summit of Snowdon. It comes less than a
month after a similar incident.
Staff at the Snowdonia Mountain Railway arrived at the visitor centre
near the summit to find the maroon vehicle parked near the building.
Alan Kendall, general manager of the railway said "This is a very
irresponsible thing to do."
report details landowners' concerns about dogs - BBC News
said people were highly aware that they should control their dogs
Landowners have complained of "significant problems" with irresponsible
A report commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said landowners
reported that some people were unable to control their pets around
livestock. They also complained about dogs being allowed to run through
SNH commissioned research into attitudes and behaviour since changes to
access rights. A key finding was an increased awareness of the rules. The
newly published report is called Monitoring responsible behaviour among
recreational users and landowners. Outdoors groups, public bodies and
private landowners were among those surveyed in 2008 for the research.
The aim of the study was to investigate trends in attitudes and behaviour
since rights to public access to the countryside changed under the Land
Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code came into
effect in 2005. Results were compared to a survey conducted in 2002-03 and
a study carried out between 2005-07.
Read the report in full here (pdf download from SNH)
Statistics 2011 and Forestry Facts & Figures 2011 published today.
The latest National Statistics on forestry produced by the Forestry
Commission were released on 29 September 2011 according to the arrangements
approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
Detailed statistics are published in the web publication Forestry
Statistics 2011, with an extract in Forestry Facts & Figures 2011.
They include UK statistics on woodland area, planting, timber, trade,
climate change, environment, recreation, employment and finance & prices and
also some statistics on international forestry. Where possible,
figures are also provided for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Download full Forestry Stats here and
Forestry Facts & Figures here both PDF downloads
From the Woodland Trust in response:
Need for more trees and better protection confirmed by forest facts summary
The annual summary package of key forestry statistics released today by
the Forestry Commission confirms that the UK remains one of the least wooded
countries with just 13% forest cover compared to 44% in the rest of Europe.
This is despite stated government aspirations towards woodland expansion,
warns the Woodland Trust.
Figures released by the Forestry Commission in June, show the rate of
woodland creation in the UK continues to fall short of the need. From more
than 18,000ha of new planting per year just 10 years ago, rates fell to less
than half that figure in the last planting season. Overall, woodland area
has increased from 2,757ha in 2010 to 3,078ha in 2011. However, changes in
the size threshold for recording woods account for the majority of this,
meaning that this is paper based rather than an actual increase.
In Scotland where targets have been set and financial support
strengthened, planting rates have recovered somewhat from last year’s dismal
figures. In England planting rates have barely changed - up just 200ha on
last year's figure. The Trust is calling on the Government to set targets to
achieve the goals outlined in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) and
the Natural Environment White Paper for England (NEWP) which both called for
a substantial increase in tree and woodland cover.
Sue Holden, chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said: "Statistics
alone really do not demonstrate the position the country is in and the
figures released today are in stark contrast to stated government
aspirations towards woodland protection and expansion. We need to double
native woodland cover to realise the many environmental, social and economic
benefits of woods and trees, and to do this we need to plant around 15,000ha
every year for the next 50 years. This is a huge task, but it's not
Friday 30 September
Proposed National Park Boundary changes, not everyone is
In praise of … Westmorland
Lancashire residents are unhappy about being placed in the Yorkshire
Dales, while Yorkshire fears that its Dales authenticity is being diluted
National Park changes sparks new War of the Roses - Telegraph
Plans to create a giant national park across the north of England have
triggered a bizarre row that has inflamed a centuries old rivalry between
two neighbouring counties.
The controversial proposals to create a continuous band of protected land
across the north of England will see the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales
National Park and the Lake District National Park being increased so they
meet on either side of the M6.
The plans are set to be approved this week by Natural England before
being taken to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs for the final decision.
However, the project has sparked a modern day War of the Roses by
suggesting a small corner of Lancashire be included in the area of the
Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The proposals have caused heated rows over what the new extended park
should be called and led to claims that the increase in size will dilute the
unique character of the Yorkshire Dales.
County will fight national park extension 'tooth and nail' reports Liz
Roberts, on The Grough
The Cumbria boundary in Mallerstang, one of the
areas proposed for inclusion in an enlarged Yorkshire Dales park
A county council has said it will fight ‘tooth and nail’ proposals to
extend the national park boundaries in its area.
Cumbria County Council said the plans were anti-democratic and pandered
to those who ‘see Cumbria as a nice place to holiday rather than somewhere
More on the NPPF.
Our vision for a planning framework fit for purpose - The National Trust
Following assurances from the Prime Minister that the planning system
should continue to serve the public interest by balancing social and
environmental benefits with those of the economy, today we set out our
positive vision including the top line requirements for a planning system
which can deliver that balance.
The draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published by the
Coalition Government in July, threatened to put short-term economic gain
ahead of all other considerations, including the impact on local communities
and local green spaces.
Dame Fiona Reynolds, our Director-General, said: “We warmly welcomed
the Prime Minister’s intervention; our task now is to play a full part in
the consultation process until we are satisfied that the final planning
regulation reflects his assurances, providing a neutral framework which
decision makers can use to achieve balance.
Have a look at the
Planning for People campaign website
download the manifesto.(pdf)
are a haven for reed warblers - Waterscape (from British Waterways)
The elusive reed warbler is alive and well on the UK’s navigations,
research from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) shows. Numbers of the
birds have been increasing on manmade canals and rivers, despite an overall
decline in the species nationwide.
Numbers of reed warblers, whose call is a classic sign of the British
summer, have increased by 48% on British Waterways’ canals and rivers in
England and Wales compared to a 4% reduction on UK waterways as a whole in
the past decade. The key reason for the rise is improved water quality and
better conservation of reed bed habitat.
Asulam - some good news from The Heather Trust
There is a route that can be followed to make Asulam available into the
The meeting organised by United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL) took place
in York, yesterday. In advance of a more detailed statement from UPL, I
provide a snapshot of the outcomes of the meeting. Many uncertainties
remain, and there is much detail still to be considered and clarified, but
there is a good possibility that the use of Asulam can be retained in
the long, medium and short terms.
World beneath the waves revealed in new report - Scottish Natural
For the first time the range of stunning landforms hidden beneath
Scotland's seas has been highlighted in a new report published by Scottish
Natural Heritage (SNH).
As part of a project to identify marine habitats of high conservation
value, earth science experts have prioritised 34 key geological and
geomorphological areas of national and international interest on the
Evocative names such as the Devil's Hole, the Wee Bankie, the Pockmark
complex and Pilot Whale Diapirs describe seabed features that include deep
trenches extending for tens of kilometres; vast underwater ridges and mounds
formed by the Ice Age glaciers; giant depressions on the sea floor; and
submerged caves and extinct volcanoes.
It is the first time that marine geodiversity interests have been
investigated at a national level. Together with detailed information on
marine wildlife and habitats, the report will contribute to a national
overview of the marine environment.