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A round up of the top countryside, conservation, wildlife and forestry stories as chosen by the CJS Team.


Badger vaccination scheme relaunched in fight against bovine TB - defra

New measures announced to help tackle bTB in England

A government-backed badger vaccination scheme has been relaunched today (11/9/17) by Farming Minister George Eustice to help stop the spread of bovine TB (bTB) in England.

The relaunched Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme, which was suspended for two years following a global vaccine shortage, opens for expressions of interest today, with projects set to start in spring 2018. Successful applicants will receive a government grant for 50% of their costs from a fund worth £700,000 over four years.

The government also announced a contract has been awarded to deliver a new bTB advisory service which will offer clear, practical advice to help farmers protect their herds from the disease and manage the impacts of a TB breakdown on their farm.

Both measures are key parts of the government’s strategy to eradicate bTB in England, which includes one of the most rigorous cattle surveillance programmes in the world, strong movement controls, promoting good biosecurity, and badger control where the disease is rife.

Farming Minister George Eustice said: Bovine TB not only has a devastating impact on our beef and dairy farms, but causes harm and distress to infected cattle. We have a clear plan to eradicate the disease over the next 20 years and this year we are restarting the government-backed Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme to stop the disease spreading to new areas. Vaccination is just one part of our comprehensive strategy, which also includes tighter cattle controls, improved biosecurity and badger control in areas where bTB is rife to tackle the reservoir of disease in wildlife. While our eventual aim is to eradicate the disease completely, farmers are facing the reality of bTB on their farms every day, which is why we are also launching a new bTB Advisory Service to offer advice to all farmers on limiting on-farm disease risk.


Bovine TB: authorisation for badger control in 2017 - defra correspondence

Licence and authorisation for badger control in Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset, Cheshire, Dorset, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

Natural England has confirmed that all criteria have been met to allow 11 new badger control licences to be issued to companies. Eight companies met criteria to allow the continuation of their cull in 2017, in the following counties: Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset, Cheshire, Dorset, and Herefordshire Gloucestershire.

Operations in these areas will be carried out under 4-year licences which allow culling to take place every year between 1 June and 31 January (inclusive).

Start dates for culling activity within this period will be decided by the licensed companies.

Natural England has confirmed to licensees the permitted maximum and minimum numbers of badgers that will be subject to control operations.

Defra’s guidance to Natural England, dated July 2017, specifies the criteria Natural England must take account of in developing and issuing licences.

Licences only permit badger control to take place outside of the close seasons:

  • controlled shooting – 1 February to 31 May
  • cage-trapping and shooting – 1 December to 31 May
  • cage-trapping and vaccination – 1 December to 30 April

Click through to see the letters.


More information also published today


Response: Badger culling can’t be justified on any grounds - Wildlife Trusts

Call for cattle vaccine to be top priority to tackle Bovine Tuberculosis, not badger culling

Badger cull hits new areas. (Image © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography (via Wildlife Trusts))Badger cull hits new areas. (Image © Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography (via Wildlife Trusts))

As a fresh wave of badger culling begins over a much wider area than in previous years, The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to stop killing badgers. This will not eradicate Bovine TB in cattle.

Badger culls have been given the go-ahead in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Cheshire and Somerset. Almost 15,000 badgers have been killed since culls began in 2013. The Wildlife Trusts are concerned that this culling is putting local populations of badgers at risk in affected parts of the British countryside. We urge Natural England to publish the information they hold on the impact of the badger cull on the wider environment.

The Wildlife Trusts’ Director Steve Trotter says: “A healthy wildlife rich natural world is valuable in its own right, and badgers are an important part of our countryside and culture. We work closely with many farmers, day in, day out, and we recognise the pain and hardship of those whose cattle herds have been devastated by bovine tuberculosis (bTB), but killing badgers will not solve the problem. Badgers are not the primary cause of the spread of bTB in cattle: the primary route of infection is cattle-to-cattle contact. The Government's badger cull is flying in the face of science. It should be putting more resources into speeding up the development of an effective cattle vaccine, amongst other measures.”

In the absence of cattle vaccination, The Wildlife Trusts believe that vaccination of badgers is a more humane and effective solution to helping stop the spread of bTB than culling. A shortage of BCG vaccine put a temporary halt to badger vaccination in 2016 and Defra did not find alternatives. But this year some Wildlife Trusts sourced vaccine independently - these Wildlife Trusts are now re-commencing badger vaccination. The latest figures† show that on average it costs a Wildlife Trust just £82 to vaccinate an animal, as compared to the cull which cost £6,800 per badger between 2012-2014.
The Government spent almost £450,000 on communications equipment alone to support the culls between 2016-2017. This money could have been invested in cattle vaccine research or used to vaccinate nearly 5,500 badgers.


Other news

Unsustainable land use threatens European landscapes - European Environment Agency

Accelerating rates of construction, changing demographics, technological changes, and climate change are some of the key drivers influencing the use of Europe’s vast landscapes. A European Environment Agency report published today says that the continent’s land use increasingly sees striking changes and conflicts over land demand which will require reconciling place-based management and macro policies to foster responsible land use.

The EEA report 'Landscapes in transition: an account of 25 years of land cover change in Europe,' takes a closer look at the emerging trends over the last two and a half decades in land use and their environmental impacts. The dominant trend is the continued and accelerating shift from rural to urban use, influenced mostly by economic activities and urban lifestyle demands — such as high mobility and consumption patterns.

The increased covering up of fertile land with buildings, transport infrastructure and industry offers economic benefits but also highlights the need to maintain Europe's natural and landscape resources. Pro-active and integrated policies on land planning, agriculture, recreation, tourism, transport, energy and other sectors can limit the negative effects of land take. In cities, smart and sustainable solutions for urban development — such as recycling old industrial lands into new uses and creating more green spaces — will be needed, the report says.

The report also highlights that good land management can lead to a wide diversity of land use between rural and urban settings. It can also protect fertile lands for food and biomass production by ensuring effective means to promote soil functions, such as carbon storage and prevent soil erosion. As such, managing the land resource well is essential for a wider societal transition to sustainability, the report argues.

People's surrounding physical landscapes can be useful for monitoring changes in society and the environment. However, there are still significant gaps in the knowledge and policy responses to manage land in Europe in an environmentally and societally sound way. One key element to fill these gaps is Copernicus, the European satellite system for monitoring the Earth, which will increase the precision and relevance of land-monitoring data.

Download The EEA report Landscapes in transition: an account of 25 years of land cover change in Europe


Rare butterflies found on Dover nature reserve - Kent Wildlife Trust 

During a recent guided walk around Old Park Hill nature reserve in Dover - one of Kent Wildlife Trust’s newest nature reserves - Adonis blue butterflies were recorded for the first time since it became a reserve in 2012. 

Adonis blue © Kent Wildlife TrustAdonis blue (© Kent Wildlife Trust)

The walk was organised to showcase what the Trust has achieved in restoring this beautiful area of chalk grassland on Dover’s doorstep.

Lizzie Talbot, the Outreach Officer for the Hill at the Heart Project for the reserve, led the walk up the hill from the Monk’s Way entrance, through the southern part of this 40-hectare site.

Amongst several other species of butterflies, four Adonis blues were seen basking on grassland alongside the footpath, providing excellent views for all those present.

These beautiful turquoise blue butterflies, with black and white chequered wing margins, are rare in the UK, confined to unimproved chalk grassland in Southern England. For this reason, they were chosen to represent Kent Wildlife Trust on its logo.

Lizzie said: “The Adonis blue butterfly only lives in grassland containing its caterpillar’s food-plant, the horseshoe vetch, and amazingly, it was while I was explaining this to the group on the guided walk that I spotted the first one perched close by.

“The reserve is now home to ten Highland cattle - a firm favourite with visitors - which are helping keep the scrub down, allowing the vetch to flourish and thus encouraging the Adonis blues to colonise the area.


Vote for 2017's Tree of the Year! - Woodland Trust

The Meavy Oak in Devon  (Photo: Julian Hight via Woodland Trust).The Meavy Oak in Devon  (Photo: Julian Hight via Woodland Trust).

It's time once again to discover some of the country's most fascinating trees and vote for your Tree of the Year.

Earlier in the summer we asked people to nominate a 'tree with a story', personal, communal, historical or just plain odd! We received them in their bucket-load from all corners of the UK, before asking teams of crack judges in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to select the chosen few. 

A tree which grew from a sapling pulled from the mud of Passchendaele, another which inspired the scouting movement and a yew which ‘bleeds’ are some of the 28 nominations shortlisted across the four nations. 10 in total in England and six each in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

You have until 8 October to cast a vote for your favourite tree, simply the one with the most votes in each nation will be crowned the winner.

To view all the shortlists and cast your votes take a look at the Tree of the Year pages.


University of Exeter trees remove pollution equivalent to emissions from 798 family cars – University of Exeter

The thousands of trees at the University of Exeter remove pollution equivalent to emissions from 798 family cars from the atmosphere every year, research shows.

New calculations show the 5,000 trees surveyed, from 328 species and six continents, capture 36 tonnes of carbon annually. They also stop 4,217 m³ a year of water – two Olympic swimming pools – from flooding local rivers and remove two tonnes of pollutants from the air.

The trees provide more than £20,422 of environmental benefits each year and take away from the environment the equivalent of nitrogen dioxide caused by 90 family cars and sulphur dioxide from 798 family cars annually.

The figures were calculated using computer software which estimates environmental benefits based on the size of the trees. The total area of the leaves of all the trees surveyed on campus is estimated to be 1,501,000m2. If all the layers of leaves within the tree canopies were spread out, they would cover an area greater than 168 football pitches.

One Monterey Pine alone produces 6,340kg of oxygen a year and filters more than 1kg of airborne pollutants, as well as capturing 3m3 of rainwater, reducing surface run-off.

Trees also support other plants and animals. One Oak supports 300 species of lichen, more than 200 species of insect and 30 species of birds every year.

The environmental benefits of the trees are emphasised this week with new signs on display around campus, to coincide with the University hosting the Arboricultural Association’s National Amenity Conference.


Early observations indicate a poor breeding season for the Bewick’s swan - WWT

Our experts travelled over 2000 miles to the tundra to ring Bewick’s swans but sighted just five cygnets over nine days.

image: Wildfowl & Wetlands TrustThe team managed to tag 86 of the magnificent birds but are concerned unseasonably cold weather may have affected numbers.

However they will have to monitor wintering flocks before a conclusion can be reached.

Kane Brides, monitoring assistant at WWT Slimbridge, explained: “We would usually expect to see 30 to 40 cygnets in our study area but only saw five. The birds were very small which suggests a delayed start to the breeding season.This could be related to the weather. There was snow and very cold temperatures in the second week of July out there which may explain why, but we need to wait and determine the proportion of cygnets in the wintering flocks before coming to a final conclusion on the swans’ breeding success in summer 2017.”

Image: Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Ringing Bewick’s swans is vital. Understanding how they breed, feed and migrate give us a better understanding of how to protect them.

He added: “If we can monitor Bewick’s swans and determine the reasons for any changes in their distribution, migratory patterns, survival and breeding success we can better safeguard them through our conservation work. This is part of WWT’s ongoing commitment to Bewick’s swans.”

The team, along with staff from the Nenets Nature Reserve, caught 95 birds in total including five whooper swans and four mute swans.


The only good one is a dead one, or is it? - WildCRU

When I began research on red foxes in the early ‘70s, the most common refrain, whether from vet’s battling rabies, gamekeeper’s rearing pheasants or shepherds was “the only good ones a dead one”, so it’s a great pleasure to find that a generation of research hints at non-lethal control actually working, writes David Macdonald in this report of a collaboration led by Lily van Eeden of the University of Sydney. Lily led a distinguished team seeking to find a consensus answer to the question: How should we manage conflict between large carnivores and livestock? In a detailed and meticulous review of evidence from a libraryful of technical papers, they conclude that the very slowly accumulating evidence is that nonlethal methods can be more effective than culling carnivores.

Throughout human history, large carnivores have attacked and eaten livestock. The threat of attack has resulted in widespread persecution of carnivores on all continents, such that large carnivore populations have been reduced and even eradicated throughout some of their range. Today, as support for large carnivores conservation is increasing, some are re-establishing their former distributions including in human-dominated landscapes. Ways of fostering co-existence, and of reducing the anxieties of doing so, are a top priority for the conservation biologists toolkit.

From the published studies, which may or may not reflect reliable generalisations, livestock guardian animals had demonstrated the most success in reducing attacks on livestock. This was followed by lethal control, although this traditional approach was characterised by the greatest variation in outcome between studies (in some, unsurprisingly, it appeared to make things worse). One side of the coin is reducing livestock losses; the other is discouraging retaliatory killing of carnivores (especially if it doesn’t work), and the review indicated that sometimes financial incentives reduced peoples’ tendency to seek revenge. 

Access the paper: van Eeden, L. M., Crowther, M. S., Dickman, C. R., Macdonald, D. W., Ripple, W. J., Ritchie, E. G. and Newsome, T. M. (2017), Managing conflict between large carnivores and livestock. Conservation Biology. doi:10.1111/cobi.12959


Wind farms and biodiversity: are they on a collision course? - BTO

A newly published study, funded by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI), has shown the potential vulnerability of birds and bats around the world to collide with wind turbines. In order to help reduce the potential for conflict between solutions for a greener future and healthy biodiversity, the results identify which species are most vulnerable and where these species are concentrated.

Wind Farm, Cornwall (image:Dawn Balmer / BTO)As part of efforts to combat climate change, there is a rapid growth in renewable energy production around the world. However, one of the major forms of renewable energy, wind farms, can have negative impacts on biodiversity through mortality associated with turbines. Although known about from studies in Europe and North America, there is little information from other regions where wind farms are expanding rapidly. This new study, published in Proceedings Of The Royal Society B identifies for the first time the potential vulnerability to collision mortality of bird and bat species around the world and suggests how collisions may be avoided. To achieve the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) led a review of published papers documenting collision rates with onshore wind turbines. In order to extrapolate these observations to less-well studied species, rates of collision were modelled in relation to factors including birds’ migratory behaviour and ecology, and wind turbine height and capacity.

Wind Farm, Cornwall (image:Dawn Balmer / BTO)

Collision rates of the 769 bird species tested were affected by habitat, migratory strategy and dispersal distance. Birds using artificial habitat, such as farmland, had a higher risk of collision with wind turbines, potentially because more wind farms are placed there than in other habitats, and because such habitats tend to be more open. Migrant birds and bats that dispersed further had a higher risk of collision. Birds of prey (Accipitriformes) were the most vulnerable birds, which is problematic as many such species are slow to reproduce and have populations that are highly sensitive to reductions in survival rates. Collision rates in general were predicted to be higher for bats than for bird, with a number of North American species such as hoary bat and Eastern red bat particularly vulnerable.

Importantly, the results suggest that building fewer, large turbines may actually reduce the risk of collision for birds for a given amount of energy generated, although turbines with a capacity over 1.25MW were associated with higher collision rates for bats.

Access the paper: Chris B. Thaxter et al Bird and bat species' global vulnerability to collision mortality at wind farms revealed through a trait-based assessment  Proc. R. Soc. B 2017 284 20170829; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0829.


Estates and farms ask for the public’s help in tackling flytipping - Scottish Land and Estates

Farms and rural estates are giving their backing to a new campaign aimed at tackling flytipping and littering in rural Scotland.

Flytipping posterCare for the Countryside, an initiative launched by Scottish Land & Estates, is focusing on the scourge of rubbish dumping, a problem which is estimated to cost more than £50million per annum.

The organisation, which represents land-based businesses across Scotland, launched Care for the Countryside in response to persistent difficulties that have been identified by those who live and work in rural areas. Other topics for the public awareness campaign include responsible dog ownership – including action around livestock worrying - and responsible mountain-biking, looking at the problem of unauthorised trail building on rural land.

Care for the Countryside’s work around flytipping is designed to ask for the public’s help in reporting incidents of rubbish dumping whilst also understanding the huge cost implications for rural businesses who fall victim to flytipping on their land.

Flytipping has been an increasing problem for farms and estates across Scotland, especially for those located in urban fringe locations. The majority of flytipping incidents in Scotland occur on private land, with landowners left to bear the responsibility and cost of the clean-up operation which can often extend to thousands of pounds and in the process, create financial problems for businesses already operating on tight budgets.


UK free from Avian Influenza - The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

THE UK has declared itself free from Avian Influenza, it has been announced by the Government's chief veterinary officer.

Nigel Gibbens confirmed that the UK has met international requirements to be free from bird flu (H5N8), but is urging poultry keepers to remain vigilant.

The disease continues to circulate in Europe and, as winter approaches, the risk of migratory wild birds infecting domestic poultry will rise.

(image: GWCT)The UK was previously declared free of avian flu in April 2016 but the disease returned in December that year. 

Declaring the UK free from AI means trade discussions on UK poultry and poultry products can restart with existing and potential new trading partners.

(image: GWCT)

However, bird flu was recently found in a mute swan in August. This prompted the British Veterinary Poultry Association to urge egg producers to be ready to protect themselves from the threat of avian influenza "all year round".

Between December 2016 and June 2017, 13 cases of AI were confirmed in kept poultry in the UK.

In all cases, the Animal and Plant Health Agency put movement restrictions in place to limit the spread of disease and carried out investigations into the source and possible spread of infection.

The government also introduced UK-wide measures to protect poultry from infection from wild birds, including a requirement to temporarily house birds and a ban on bird gatherings.

Head of advisory services at Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Roger Draycott says “while it is good news that the UK is now free from bird flu, we urge all shoot managers, gamekeepers and game farmers to remain vigilant, report sightings of sick or dead birds and ensure high bio-security standards and procedures at all times”.

The government continues to carry out surveillance in poultry and wild birds and publishes regular disease updates.


Good news for lobsters as England set to ban landings of egg bearing females – Marine Conservation Charity

Following a consultation on the prohibition of landing eggbearing lobsters and crawfish in England, which included a response from MCS, the Government has announced that it will introduce a ban by October 1st this year. 

(image: Paul Naylor / marinephoto.co.uk)The Government said it had considered the  155 responses to the consultation, the majority of which supported the proposal, and had therefore decided to proceed with the introduction of a ban.

(image: Paul Naylor / marinephoto.co.uk)

Protection of egg-bearing females essential for stock recovery.

MCS Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Samuel Stone, says it's great news for lobsters: "There's concern over the exploitation rates of these species and this ban will help to reduce overfishing and give the best chance for the lobsters to successfully reproduce and contribute top their populations. We have long urged people not to buy egg-bearing females (also known as berried), so a ban is great news and brings the whole of England into line with best practices already in place in some of the English Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs). 

The ban will apply to any berried lobster or crawfish caught within English waters by British or Scottish fishing boats or landed in England by a British or Scottish fishing boat. Enforcement of the ban will take place either where the lobster is landed or at sea. Inspectors will decide what action is appropriate if berried lobsters or crawfish are found on-board. The ban will also apply to any  lobster or crawfish that can be shown to have been carrying eggs when it was fished and in order to enforce this the Marine Management Organisation and local Inshore Fishery Conservation Authorities will invest in kits that detect whether eggs have been removed after they have been landed.


Birthday celebrations to go off with a bang as Lackford Lakes land appeal hits £100k – Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s campaign to raise £200,000 towards the purchase of new land at Lackford Lakes nature reserve has hit the half-way point, just two weeks after launching.

Lackford Lake (image: Mark Gosbee)The acquisition, in what is the 30th anniversary of the reserve’s foundation, will allow the Trust to safeguard a place where rare species such as stone curlew have been breeding.

Lackford Lake (image: Mark Gosbee)

The wetland edge of the new land alongside the River Lark also provides important habitat for nightingales. 

Will Cranstoun, West Suffolk Sites Manager for Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said the Trust had been overwhelmed by the level of support for the vision to make Lackford Lakes bigger and better for wildlife and people.

“Since Lackford Lakes was founded 30 years ago it has become a real wildlife haven, offering a myriad of habitats for different species and renowned nationally for its kingfishers, dragonflies and winter wildfowl. But also it has become a place where people can really get a close-up experience of nature.

“This appeal shows how people have taken Lackford to heart and how strongly they feel about protecting the open Breckland landscapes of Suffolk.”

Julian Roughton, chief executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust said he wanted to thank everyone who had donated to the appeal so far. “This really is an opportunity to ensure that a unique part of Suffolk’s natural heritage is protected for future generations to enjoy. The fact that so many people have supported and shared the Trust’s vision for a bigger, wilder Lackford Lakes is truly inspiring.”

The 77 acre parcel, which neighbours Lackford village, adjoins similar fields that the Trust purchased in 2005. Linking them together will create a significantly bigger area for specialist Breckland species, such as unusual solitary bee and wasps, ground beetle and stone curlew, to flourish.


Shortlist for 2017 Park Protector Award revealed - Campaign for Parks

Campaign for National Parks’ Park Protector Award has shortlisted five projects for their outstanding contribution to the UK’s National Parks. 

National Parks are home to some of our most important wildlife and sites of cultural heritage, we believe this makes them worth protecting. The annual Park Protector Award aims to celebrate those projects making a big difference in England and Wales’ National Parks. 

This year we received lots of high quality nominations but the judges have decided five stand above the others for the big impact they are having and the innovative approaches they are taking.  We are pleased to reveal the five as the following:

  • River Barle Signal Crayfish Project - Exmoor
  • Fell Care Days - Lake District
  • Explorers Club - North York Moors
  • Community Science - Peak District
  • Pembrokeshire Marine Code - Pembrokeshire Coast

Click through for more about the nominees 


Once-abundant ash tree and antelope species face extinction – IUCN Red List

North America’s most widespread and valuable ash tree species are on the brink of extinction due to an invasive beetle decimating their populations, while the loss of wilderness areas and poaching are contributing to the declining numbers of five African antelope species, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

White Ash (Fraxinus americana) (image: The Morton Arboretum via IUCN)White Ash (Fraxinus americana) (image: The Morton Arboretum via IUCN)

Today’s (14/9)  IUCN Red List update also reveals a dramatic decline of grasshoppers and millipedes endemic to Madagascar, and the extinction of the Christmas Island Pipistrelle bat.  The IUCN Red List now includes 87,967 species of which 25,062 are threatened with extinction.

“Our activities as humans are pushing species to the brink so fast that it’s impossible for conservationists to assess the declines in real time,” says Inger Andersen IUCN Director General. “Even those species that we thought were abundant and safe – such as antelopes in Africa or ash trees in the U.S. – now face an imminent threat of extinction. And while conservation action does work, conserving the forests, savannas and other biomes that we depend on for our survival and development is simply not a high-enough funding priority. Our planet needs urgent, global action, guided by the Red List data, to ensure species’ survival and our own sustainable future.”

“The real challenge that the Red List poses to the conservation community is to make sure that these alerts result in action to address the pressures on the increasing number of species under threat of extinction,” says Matthew Hatchwell, Director of Conservation, at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). “We can’t stop at just cataloguing their decline.”

Download summary statistics here 


Response: Plant species going into the red on the IUCN Red List - Botanic Gardens Conservation International 

In the IUCN Red List update more plants than ever are listed as threatened with extinction. Some of North America’s ash species that are on the brink of extinction due to an invasive beetle decimating their populations and all the European Sorbus species are now assessed.

The IUCN Red List now includes 23,074 plant species of which 12,102 (52%) are threatened with extinction. “This latest release of the IUCN Red List highlights the fact that it is not only rare species but even some of the most common species around us are at risk of going extinct. In addition to looking after these threatened species in the wild, it is essential that we ensure these species as well as their genetic diversity are backed up in ex situ collections, such as botanic gardens, arboreta and seed banks for the future” says Malin Rivers, Red List Manager at Botanic Gardens Conservation International.  

North America’s ash trees on the brink. Five once-widespread North American ash tree species are newly assessed as Critically Endangered and a sixth species assessed as Endangered

European rowans and whitebeams fully assessed. All European rowans and whitebeams (Sorbus) species are now also included on the IUCN Red List. In total 190 species of Sorbus are found in Europe, with 181 (95%) of species being endemic and not found outside the boundaries of Europe. Out of the 190 species, 143 (75%) are listed as threatened with extinction.


Keep Britain Tidy Network awards invites applications from parks - Green Flag Awards 

The prestigious Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards are back. With a glittering ceremony at their annual conference, in Brighton next February, the Network are now accepting applications for ten award categories.

Three new awards celebrate the charity's wider campaigns, and are especially relevant to the parks sector. These awards are open from nominations from any English local authorities - celebrating the community groups, individuals, teams or partnerships going the extra mile in support of our campaigns and their green spaces. 
As so many Green Flag Award parks supported these campaigns and have their own armies of #LitterHeroes, the Network would love to receive applications from park managers for these new awards.

  • Great British Spring Clean award
  • Litter hero award
  • Love Parks award

Seven awards are exclusively open to Network members - with many Local Authorities already a part of the Network, you may be eligible to enter these awards too. They celebrate the teamwork, achievements and improvements happening on the ground everyday.

Further information about the awards, and how to apply can be found here


Disposable Packaging: Coffee Cups and Plastic Bottles inquiry launched - Environmental Audit Committee, UK Parliament

The Environmental Audit Committee is relaunching its predecessor’s inquiry into Disposable Coffee Cups and Plastic Bottles. The previous Committee’s inquiry received over 100 submissions of evidence. The General Election was called before the Committee could complete its inquiry.

Coffee Cups : The UK throws away approximately 2.5 billion coffee cups every year, of which less than 1 in 400 are recycled. To make coffee cups waterproof the card is fused with polyethylene, a material that cannot be separated out again in standard UK recycling mills. This coating makes both composting and recycling of paper cups uncommon and there are only two sites in the UK that have the capacity to separate the plastic film from the paper, allowing recovery and recycling into new paper products.

Plastic Bottles: Only 57% of all plastic bottles are recycled. The Scottish government has already commissioned a detailed study into a deposit return scheme (DRS) and on the 5th September the First Minister confirmed that Scotland would be introducing a deposit return scheme for drinks containers. The design for Scotland’s new system has yet to be finalised.

The new Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said a DRS would be a “great idea”, but said that it is important to make sure it would work properly before guaranteeing its implementation.

Other countries such as Germany, Norway and Sweden already have Deposit Return Schemes in place. The German deposit scheme cost around three times as much per container as household-based collection systems and Germany recycled over 90% of its PET bottles in 2015.

Submissions should be made by 5 pm on Friday, 29 September. Late submissions will be accepted, but may be too late to influence oral evidence hearings.

Click through to find out how to submit your evidence.


Salmon in Derbyshire river a first since Industrial Revolution - Environment Agency

Salmon population spreading in Derbyshire due to improved water quality and removal of barriers

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/salmon-in-derbyshire-river-a-first-since-industrial-revolutionSalmon have been discovered on the River Ecclesbourne, a first since Industrial Revolution (image: Environment Agency)

Atlantic salmon have been discovered on the River Ecclesbourne, a tributary of the River Derwent, Derbyshire for the first time since the Industrial Revolution following work carried out by the Environment Agency and its partners.  The discovery comes following the installation of fish passes on the River Derwent by the Environment Agency and Trent Rivers Trust which have helped to improve fish migration and allow the salmon to move upstream through the river.  The installation of fish passes is just one of a programme of actions carried out by the Environment Agency and its partners to remove barriers to migration and help restore salmon stocks throughout England.

Fisheries Specialist at the Environment Agency, Matt Buck, said: "Salmon is an important species and after two decades of work to improve water quality and the habitat for fish in the Trent catchment area, we now have a recovering population of salmon. We are particularly excited to have found juvenile salmon in the Ecclesbourne for the first time in living memory, which indicates the success of salmon in this part of the river."


Scientific publications

Tonietto, R. K. & Larkin, D. J. (2017) Habitat restoration benefits wild bees: a meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13012


Saulius Rumbutis, Daiva Vaitkuvienė, Gintarė Grašytė, Mindaugas Dagys, Deivis Dementavičius & Rimgaudas Treinys. Adaptive habitat preferences in the Tawny Owl Strix aluco  Bird Study doi: 10.1080/00063657.2017.1369001


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