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Countryside Jobs Service Professional - The leading monthly for countryside staff across the UK

Published on the second Thursday every month

CJS is endorsed by the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association and the Countryside Management Association

Scottish Countryside Rangers Association

Countryside Management Association

logo: Canal and River Trust 

Featured Charity:  Canal & River Trust

Find out more about our featured charity here.

Including how to join and donate.



Please remember: If you are interested in a particular advert or item please contact the advertiser, not CJS, and remember to tell them you saw their advert in CJS Professional.


Click the headers to browse each section, or click on each item (or the [more] button)





Location (basis / contract details)

Dartmoor Hill Farm Officer

Dartmoor National Park Authority

based at the Authority’s offices in Princetown, but will involve travelling around Dartmoor (Full time – 37 hours per week. Fixed term contract until April 2022)

DNAire Community Engagement Officer

Aire Rivers Trust (partnership project with The Environment Agency)

Currently in Shipley, Bradford (Hours of Work: 37 hours per week but note that significant working at weekends and evenings is likely to be necessary.  Fixed Term 3-year contract until December 2022)

Visitor Services Coordinator (Deputy Manager)

Forestry England

Wendover Woods,  five miles East of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

Data Controller 

Surrey Wildlife Trust

(Full time or 4 day week considered)

Senior Ranger

Rockingham Forest Trust

Stanwick Lakes Nature Reserve (Immediate start – Permanent position)

Senior Ecologist (Bats, Birds - SE England)

CGO Ecology Ltd

Woking, Surrey. (Starting December 2019

Permanent, with three-month probationary period)

Health, Safety and Environment Advisor

RSPB Cymru

North Wales Office. (Full Time, Permanent)

Riverlution Community Engagement Officer

The River Stewardship Company

Sheffield-based with travel across Yorkshire. (21 hours per week (2-3 days per week including weekends), permanent)

Countryside Ranger

Cheshire East Council

Cheshire (37hpw)

Conservation Scientist - Natural Climate Solutions


The Lodge / Cambridge (David Attenborough Building) (Full Time.14 month Fixed Term contract )

Foreman, Chainsaw Operators & Fencers

Knighton Countryside Management Ltd

based at Piddlehinton, Dorchester, work on jobs in Dorset and across southern England/Wales. (Immediate Start)

Site Supervisor


Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset 

Farm & Environment Assistant 


Based at our office in Hartfield, East Sussex. (fulltime)

Education Officer

Woodmeadow Trust

Three Hagges Woodmeadow, Escrick, York (freelance, part-time, commencing Jan/Feb 2020)  

Landscape Partnership Manager 

Cranborne Chase and Chalke Valley Landscape Partnership

Base: Near Tollard Royal, Wiltshire (Fixed term contract until 30/06/2024 )


Nene Park Trust

Nene Park, Peterborough

Great Out-tours Franchise

The Great Out-tours Limited

Location: Your home County / Country / Area  (franchise)

Junior Ranger Project Officer

John Muir Trust

Pitlochry or Fort William, home working may be considered. (Part-time, 0.5 FTE, 2 years)

Senior Ecologist (Bats, Birds)

CGO Ecology Ltd

Christchurch, Dorset. (Permanent, with three-month probationary period)

Senior Ecologist

Neo Environmental

Glasgow (Full Time)

Senior Ecologist

Wildwood Ecology

Based: Cirencester.

Swindon Reserves Manager

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Based: The Whitworth Building, Blakehill Farm nature reserve. (Full time permanent – 37.5 hrs/week (Monday – Sunday contract))

Conservation Projects Officer

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire

Location: Northampton. (Full Time: 37.5hrs per week)

Project Officer

Cotswolds Conservation Board 

Location Northleach, Gloucestershire (18.5 hours per week for two years (potential to extend to three years))


Conservation Placements

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Potteric Carr Nature Reserve (Doncaster), Stirley Community Farm (Huddersfield) and York Head Office  (3 day week - 8 month placement)


Immersive Volunteer Role

National Trust

Black Down Estate, Haslemere, Surrey.(c.30 hours per week for a period of 6-12 months (maximum 12 months))



Immersive Volunteer Role  

National Trust Ranger team, Black Down Estate, Haslemere, Surrey.

c.30 hours per week for a period of 6-12 months (maximum 12 months).    [more]


Surveys and Fieldwork

We've carried out a big check on current listings this past month so there are 36 new and updated listings for surveys and citizen science projects across all sections.


Features and In Depth Articles

Sixth and final article from this year's featured charity: Canal & River Trust: Rescuing fish at Toddbrook Reservoir [more]

Our next featured charity will introduce themselves next month. 

Celebrating the #PowerOfYouth this #iwillWeek [more]

The upsides and downsides of tourism in rural Scotland by Hebe Carus , Policy Officer at John  Muir Trust [more]

Be a #TreeChampion this #NationalTreeWeek 23 November – 1 December  [more]


CJS Focus

The most recent edition: Countryside Management

view the most recent edition here or download a pdf copy.

The next edition will be published on 2 December and is looking at: The Next Generation it is in association with Action for Conservation 

Here's a big question for you - what do you think the countryside will look like in 20, 30 or even a 100 years?  


CJS Information and other articles 

CJS 25 Birthday wishes from Scottish Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust [more]

For November we have two more gifts for you: a years membership of Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) and Two sets of Royal Mail Birds of Prey commemorative stamps. [more]

Photography Competition: October winners are two amazing photos, one of a wonderful red stag taken by Val Gall and the second is of a  BDMLR Medic 'talking' to a seal pup by Olivia Masi.  This month (November) the suggested theme is Plants and Botany and the prize is Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) membership [more]



Two top headlines this month: Stateof Nature Report and, the Queen's Speech and Environment Bill

Government Announcements and Policy

  • UK natural capital accounts: 2019  - The Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin.
  • Vibrant new parks set to benefit communities with government funding - Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Land and Countryside Management

  • Partnership wins National Lottery support to help protect chalk grassland - South Downs National Park Authority
  • ‘Citizens’ army’ needed to tackle biosecurity risk from invasive non-native species - Environmental Audit Committee, Commons Select Committee

Funding, Awards and Prizes

  • The British people have spoken – and voted for their ten favourite UK parks - Green Flag Award
  • Rural businesses to benefit from £35m government fund - defra
  • there's £100,000 on offer for three charities, all they need is your vote: Bat Conservation Trust and also through to the final three are Whale and Dolphin Conservation

Pollution, sustainablity and climate

  • It’s time to secure ‘all in’ Deposit Return Scheme to clean up countryside - CPRE
  • National Trust to return rivers to their natural path to reduce impact of climate change, flood risk and to make space for nature - National Trust
  • Microplastics, microbeads and single-use plastics poisoning sea life and affecting humans - United Nations 

Recreation, Community and Health

  • New report reveals that prescribing nature is excellent value for money - The Wildlife Trusts
  • ZSL London Zoo pledges 100,000 subsidised tickets to ensure accessible for all - ZSL  
  • Cross-party MP report hails health & wellbeing benefits of London’s Green Belt - CPRE

Volunteering and Environmental Education

  • Minister Launches Cairngorms Youth Action Team – Cairngorms National Park Authority
  • New report shows how nature nurtures children - The Wildlife Trusts

Employment and careers

  • 2019 Arboriculture and Horticulture Results Published - Arboricultural Association

Scientific Research, Results and Publications

  • Study: Do nature documentaries make a difference? - University College Cork
  • Widespread drying of European peatlands in recent centuries - University of Exeter
  • Badger behaviour inside the cull zone - ZSL
  • Saving heather will help save our wild bees - RBG Kew

Animal and wildlife news

  • Reports of crimes against wildlife continue to rise, reveals third annual wildlife crime report - Wildlife and Countryside Link
  • Greater horseshoe bat rediscovered in Kent - Bat Conservation Trust
  • One big happy family! First footage of mother otter and cubs delights wildlife lovers - South Downs National Park
  • Landmark survey reveals moorland birds are thriving - Moors for the Future Partnership



Calendar of events and short courses occuring in January 2020 - 6 pages

Plus additions to long courses and providers made over the past month.


Grants and sources of funding

Details 1 new listing: Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant  from John Muir Trust


CJS Newsletters and updates:

CJS Weekly: subscription only weekly newsletter. Receive details of all vacancies and information advertised with CJS. Find out more here. Instant access here.

Daily email with details of latest vacancies, news and general information. Sign up free here.


CJS Professional: 14 November

Jobs: view all online jobs here


Logo: Dartmoor National Park AuthorityDartmoor National Park Authority

Dartmoor Hill Farm Project 

Dartmoor Hill Farm Officer

Grade 4: £22,462 - £26,317

Full time – 37 hours per week

Fixed term contract until April 2022  

Do you have a passion for Dartmoor, the working landscape, biodiversity and rural traditions that help shape it? Do you want to be part of a team that helps influence this National Park for future generations? 

The Dartmoor Hill Farm Project was established through a partnership to support a viable future for Dartmoor farmers by providing advice and information, promoting skills development, and offering a single point of contact to rural communities and partners regarding key issues. 

Based in Princetown as a key member of the Dartmoor Hill Farm Project team, you will build on existing links established with the farming community to develop, promote, administer and evaluate an inclusive programme of training events to help build more sustainable rural communities. You will work directly with farmers, acting as a conduit to facilitate positive change and will be central to providing support at a critical time of uncertainty and reform. 

The successful applicant will be extremely organised, have proven project management experience and excellent administration and communications skills. You will have an understanding of rural issues, demonstrable knowledge of working with communities and training providers plus a track-record of delivering successful events.  

The post is initially being appointed to on a fixed term contract until April 2022, but the intention is to extend the contract beyond this date subject to funding. 

The post is based at the Authority’s offices in Princetown, but will involve travelling around Dartmoor. The Authority operates flexible working hours and is a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme.   

If you would like to know more about this exciting opportunity, please contact Chris Giles (cgiles@dartmoor.gov.uk ).  

Closing Date:  25th November 2019 (12 noon) 

To apply please visit our website

Logo: Aire Rivers TrustDNAire Community Engagement Officer

Location: Currently in Shipley, Bradford

Remuneration: ca. £25,000 pa (plus pension, expenses)

Hours of Work: 37 hours per week but note that significant working at weekends and evenings is likely to be necessary.

Fixed Term 3-year contract until December 2022 

Do you want to connect people to their local wildlife as part of an exciting new team within a growing organisation?   

Do you have the skills to deliver a wide-ranging and varied volunteer and community engagement programme? 

Do you share our passion for improving our river? 

Developing the Natural Aire (DNAire) is a partnership project with The Environment Agency. DNAire will once again allow Atlantic salmon to spawn in our river after an absence of 200 years.  To celebrate their return and to safeguard the future of the river we are launching a wide-reaching programme of community engagement.  Through this we will connect local communities to their local river. 

You will capable of working independently as part of a small team and demonstrate a committed, mature and flexible approach to your work.  We are looking for an individual with experience of delivering practical engagement activities, such as walks, volunteer clean ups, conservation and school environmental education workshops.  As a creative communicator who will able to enthuse and inspire others whilst building good relationships with partners and volunteers. 

Logo: DNAireThe Aire Rivers Trust is an independent environmental charity established to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of the rivers, streams, watercourses and water bodies in the Aire catchment. Through our work we seek to advance the public's understanding of the management of water and its interconnection with the wider environment.  

If you believe that you have the passion, commitment and skills to take this unique opportunity forward then we would like to hear from you. To apply for this full-time post, please send an email to simon.watts@aireriverstrust.org.uk along with your current CV and a supporting statement explaining how you believe your skills and experience match our requirements for the role, directly addressing the job description and person specification. This and further details about the vacancy can be found on our website.  
The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on Friday 29th November 2019. Interviews will take place on Monday 9th December 2019 at our offices in Shipley.

Logo: Forestry EnglandVisitor Services Coordinator (Deputy Manager) - Wendover Woods 

This is a fantastic opportunity to support the development and maintenance of a beautiful woodland visitor attraction in the heart of the Chiltern AONB.  

At Forestry England, we manage and care for England’s public forests. Wendover Woods attracts over 400,000 visitors per year and is located five miles East of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. The site has recently benefited from a major capital investment project which has brought a new café, car park facilities, toilets, car park management system and play trail. These exciting developments have enhanced the capacity and potential for the site to develop and diversify the recreation business offer.  

You will join a dedicated team of nine and support the management and development of the site. As Visitor Services Coordinator you will be tasked with developing and improving the visitor experience and growing the business in ways that offer superb visitor experiences. You will also support the operational management and daily running of the site acting as Duty Manager through a rostered system. 

To be equal to the challenge, you will have supervisory experience working in a customer services / sales environment. Have experience of managing operational contracts and work activities and experience in managing budgets and finances. 

To learn more and apply please click here  

Closing date 1 December 2019 

Logo: Surrey Wildlife TrustData Controller 

c £30,000 per annum fte

Full time or 4 day week considered 

Do you love the inner complexities of a membership database?

Do you thrive on knowing the details of Data Protection regulations? 

The Trust needs an experienced Data Controller who really understands the beneficial workings of a membership and CRM database and how using the data can deliver business targets.  

This role will manage our database; project manage and support the implementation of ThankQ (currently Progress); ensure compliance with data protection and be the Trust’s “expert” in GDPR plus extend that expertise to other areas of the Trust and advise on the broader CRM data management. 

A passion for data manipulation and analysis is essential. 

If you can fulfil the criteria outlined on the job profile, please complete an application form and send to charlotte.magowan@surreywt.org.uk by midday on Wednesday 27th November 2019. Job profile and application form on our website www.surreywildlifetrust.org or by contacting Charlotte Magowan, Director of People Engagement. 

Logo: Rockingham Forest TrustSenior Ranger

£21,500 to £23,500 depending on experience

Immediate start – Permanent position.

Based at Stanwick Lakes Nature Reserve 

This is an exciting opportunity for a Senior Ranger to join our dynamic team. Based at the Stanwick Lakes Nature Reserve and Countryside Attraction with all the fantastic facilities and activities it has to offer, the purpose of the role will be twofold: to manage the daily requirements of the central hub of the site throughout the busy summer period, ensuring a great experience for our visitors. During the winter your focus will change to managing the wider site in line with the management plan, completing conservation and habitat maintenance.

What we do: 

Stanwick Lakes’ SSSI nature reserve and visitor attraction is managed as a social enterprise by Rockingham Forest Trust, an environmental charity that works to bring wide-ranging community benefits through creating and conserving special green spaces, and exploring local heritage, in ways which educate, involve and inspire. In practice this means bringing people closer to nature, through a variety of activities and events, and showing them how the landscape and traditions have changed over time. 

What you will do: 

The site becomes very busy between Easter and September and the Ranger Team focus on ensuring that the summer visitors enjoy their time with us. This will include car parking, litter clearance, educational visits by local schools, infrastructure inspections as well as being the point of contact for the visitors on a daily basis. 

For the remainder of the year the team focus on the conservation and habitat management of the wider site. Tasks will include reed bed clearance, willow coppicing and project work to ensure the site meets the requirements of the management plan. This will involve working with volunteers, contractors and other organisations from the local area. 

As the Senior Ranger you will be responsible for ensuring that the day to day requirements of the team are met. Organising the team and ensuring deadlines are met is key to this position. Working closely with the Trust’s External Operations Manager you will be involved with all work carried out by the Ranger Team, across the site.  

The position would suit an existing Ranger looking to further develop their skill base or an experienced Team Leader looking to work on a SSSI, SPA wetland site in the heart of the Nene Valley.  

Logo: Stanwick LakesPlease complete the application form and email your form and a covering letter to info@rftrust.org.uk by the 16th December 2019.  

Application Pack: 

Person Specification 

Job Description 

Application Form 


Logo: CGO Ecology LtdSenior Ecologist (Bats, Birds - SE England)

CGO Ecology Ltd, Woking, Surrey www.cgoecology.com

Starting December 2019

Permanent, with three-month probationary period

Salary £30,000 + 



CGO Ecology is a consultancy with a small team of staff, and a wide network of subcontractors and associates. We need a skilled and licensed bat ecologist, with proven experience obtaining bat EPS mitigation licences, to join our Dorset team. Good ornithological skills and a range of other ecological expertise would be a bonus. 


The position is home-based, ideally in Surrey or Berkshire, but other parts of Southeast England considered. It involves travelling to jobs across the Southeast, sometimes Dorset, Hants and the Midlands. Overnight stays are sometimes required, particularly in the summer bat season (between dusk and dawn surveys). You would coordinate and conduct surveys and mitigation for bats (PRAs, nocturnal surveys, static detectors, transects), Breeding Bird Surveys, Winter Bird Surveys, Phase 1 habitat/PEAs, and surveys for reptiles, GCN, riparian mammals, and other protected species. You must be able to write reports and licence applications to a high standard of English grammar, and deal effectively with clients, colleagues and stakeholders. You would need excellent written and verbal communication skills, be physically able, and prepared to work flexible and often unsociable hours with a flexi-time/TOIL system. You would need to be a self-starter, with a pragmatic outlook, who uses their initiative to resolve problems.  

Essential experience/skills 

   ●   Bat survey licence (at least CL17 level 2), experience obtaining bat mitigation licences.   ●   Good ornithological skills, with Annex I/Schedule 1 species survey experience.   ●   Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys/PEA, with commensurate botanical knowledge.   ●   Full driving licence, access to own vehicle.   ●   Excellent written and spoken English.   ●   Degree-level education, or equivalent in professional experience and training.   ●   Highly computer-literate, including MS Office.   ●   At least two years in the consultancy sector.

Desirable (non-essential) experience/skills 

   ●   Expertise and experience in some of the following taxa and disciplines: badger, barn owl, breeding birds, hazel dormouse, GCN, invertebrates, NVC botanical surveys, otter, reptiles, water vole.    ●   Competent in GIS or CAD software.   ●   At least five years in the consultancy sector.   ●   Full or Associate member, or eligible for membership, of CIEEM.   ●   Tree-climbing qualifications and experience.   ●   A range of professional employment demonstrating breadth of character. 


Salary £30k+, negotiable for the right candidate. Working week 40 hours with a flexi-time/TOIL system. We reimburse reasonable expenses at cost, and mileage at 45p. We provide relevant PPE and survey equipment, pension, regular CPD/training, 24 days’ discretionary leave plus statutory holidays. We operate an Equal Opportunities policy.


To apply, send a brief email to Chris Gleed-Owen chris@cgoecology.com, attaching a CV focusing on relevant experience, licences and qualifications. The post will be advertised until filled, starting December 2019, or earlier if possible. No agencies.   

Logo: RSPBHealth, Safety and Environment Advisor  

We are seeking a committed, outgoing and enthusiastic individual to support our health, safety and environmental management systems across RSPB Cymru. 

Health, Safety and Environment Advisor
Ref: A3051119
Location: North Wales Office
Salary: £25,643 to £27,585 per annum
Hours: Full Time

Contract: Permanent 

The role will involve advising staff and volunteers on health and safety matters across the full range of our operations in the region, which includes nature reserves, membership recruitment, research projects, shops, catering outlets and offices (including our Wales HQ in Cardiff). Our network of fantastic nature reserves covers the whole of Wales and includes Lake Vyrnwy, Ynys-hir, South Stack Cliffs, Conwy and Ramsey Island. The reserves cover almost every type of habitat including uplands, coast, woodland and wetlands. You will also lead the monitoring of environmental management standards as RSPB retains and improves its external accreditation for its environmental management system. A knowledge of or an interest in nature conservation would be an advantage. 

You will have a pragmatic and problem solving approach to health, safety and wellbeing, and be willing to learn how to deal with a wide range of issues in sometimes challenging and unusual situations. You will be self-reliant, have good interpersonal skills, be IT literate and be willing and able to travel throughout Wales and elsewhere in RSPB when required. 

We are looking for at least a Technician Member of IOSH or equivalent looking to use your health and safety knowledge in new and challenging situations. Wellbeing is also of significant importance to our RSPB culture and an understanding of the principles of visitor risk management in a countryside context is highly desirable. 

Welsh language is desirable but not essential for this role. 

Closing date: 20 November 2019 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website. 

The River Stewardship Company

Riverlution Community Engagement Officer

£22,000pa pro-rata

21 hours per week (2-3 days per week including weekends), permanent

Sheffield-based with travel across Yorkshire 

Are you passionate about enabling people to help protect our local waterways, come rain or shine?  

Can you inspire and communicate effectively with people of all backgrounds and abilities? 

The Role 

River Stewardship Company (RSC) works to maintain and enhance watercourses, and to inspire, empower and connect communities. We have a rapidly growing portfolio of commercial waterway maintenance and improvement projects and use these to help drive a number of community engagement initiatives under our Riverlution programme. 

We are seeking an enthusiastic, personable and motivated individual to deliver the practical elements of our community engagement work. You will engage proactively with volunteers, contribute to the development of new programmes and events, and ensure that we meet our ambitious social impact targets. 

The Riverlution Community Engagement Officer will be responsible primarily for delivering regular volunteer days on the riverbank, with further scope to include additional engagement events such as citizen science activities, wildlife walks and educational activities as our Riverlution programme develops. They will engage with our existing volunteers but also work to expand our volunteer network both in number and reach. Other tasks will focus on training and skills development within targeted communities to increase the social impact of Riverlution. 

The post holder will be responsible to the Riverlution Manager and work closely and collaboratively with RSC site supervisors, community groups and volunteers. The post will involve regular weekend work to fit around our growing volunteer programme. 

The closing date for this position is 12pm Monday 25th November 2019. Interviews are expected to be held in the week commencing 5th December.   

How to Apply  

To download the full person specification and to apply, click here. For more information, contact Sara Blackburn, Riverlution Manager at sara.blackburn@the-rsc.co.uk

Logo: Cheshire East CouncilCountryside Ranger

Location: Cheshire

Salary: £23,836 - £26,999 per annum

Hours per week: 37  

Cheshire East Council are looking to appoint an enthusiastic person, with a comprehensive understanding of countryside management, and with livestock management experience to join our Countryside Ranger Service. The appointed person must be an excellent team worker, but also confident and able to work alone and show initiative and good decision making.  The job includes weekend working on a rota for which an enhanced payment is provided, with rest days during the week. 

The Countryside Ranger Service manages Cheshire East Council’s countryside portfolio. This includes country parks, trails, local nature reserves, Sites of special Scientific Interest, picnic areas, paths and visitor centres. Working within the ranger service you will be part of an enthusiastic and dedicated team of countryside professionals, developing and carrying out practical countryside and agricultural land management works across our land, and in partnership with others organisations, for the benefit of wildlife and recreational opportunities within the Borough.  

The purpose of the job is to develop, manage, and maintain countryside recreation and nature conservation sites and facilities within the Borough using a range of recognised best practice countryside management techniques, to ensure high standards of service provision and delivery to the public. 

This job is primarily although not exclusively, centred on the management of the Longhorn cattle herd which are used as a way to improve and promote the ecological diversity of our land. The successful applicant will have an informed and practical knowledge of agricultural practices, including machinery and cattle husbandry. They must be competent and experienced in the day to day herd management including veterinary care and accurate record keeping. The successful applicant must also demonstrate ICT skills and be a confident communicator with colleagues, partner organisations and visitors.  

Click here to find out more and apply. 

Closing date 6 December 2019

Logo: RSPBConservation Scientist - Natural Climate Solutions
Ref: A3021119
Location: The Lodge / Cambridge (David Attenborough Building)
Salary: £25,643 to £27,585 per annum. Applicants should expect under normal circumstances to receive an offer at the bottom of the advertised range.
Hours: Full Time

Contract: 14 month Fixed Term contract 

Climate change and biodiversity loss are affecting people and nature and land management will be key to ameliorating the effects of both. RSPB is seeking a talented conservation scientist with good GIS and analytical skills to join projects examining the spatial conservation and climate change mitigation consequences of land management and restoration in the UK and Europe. 

You will join a small team working alongside ecological and practical conservationists. You will have a good working knowledge of spatial analytical and statistical techniques using at least two of the following analytical packages (R, SAS, ARC, QGIS). You will be experienced in manipulating and handling large datasets, writing for expert and popular audiences and have a proven scientific publication record. Knowledge and experience of land management, climate change mitigation or restoration science will be an advantage. You will be responsible for establishing and maintaining good relations with internal and external project partners and stakeholders, in the UK and Europe.
The post is for 14 months, to assist with the delivery of scenario-based models of landscape-scale land use change and its climate change mitigation potential.
Preferably, you will be based in Cambridge or Sandy. 

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click here to be directed to our website.  

Closing date: 11 December 2019
Interview date: 13 January 2020

Logo: Knighton Countryside Management LtdForeman, Chainsaw Operators & Fencers

Immediate Start 

Knighton Countryside Management Ltd is based at Piddlehinton, Dorchester & undertakes a range of ecological & environmental contracting. We have opportunities for suitably qualified Foreman, Chainsaw Operators and Fencers for fencing, vegetation clearance, & ecological contracting, to work on jobs in Dorset and across southern England/Wales. 

A driving licence is preferable. This position will require a degree of working away from Monday to Friday, with overnight accommodation and an allowance offered. Salary is dependent on experience. CSCS cards an advantage, but assistance can be offered in acquiring a card. 

Email: office@knightoncountryside.com or call 01305 848881  

Logo: ATM LtdSite Supervisor

£20,000-£24,000 pa

Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset 

Are you passionate and committed about working outdoors, enjoy a wide variety of work as well as leading and developing people’s skills? 

If you aspire to work for a company that values its staff and prides itself on high standards of workmanship and training opportunities, then this could be the right opportunity for you. 

ATM - Category Winners at the ‘BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards 2019’ provide fencing, landscape and ecology services for a variety of clients including Government Agency’s and County Councils and have been established for over 40 years. We are currently looking for experienced Site Supervisor, who has a track record of leading small teams and can demonstrate excellent leadership skills, values people development and strives to achieve high standards of quality workmanship.  

You would be primarily leading a team to undertake a variety of tasks for our clients including river vegetation, invasive species and grassland management in addition to other landscape related duties.  

No matter what your background is, we pride ourselves upon the broad spectrum of different ‘fields’ and  experience currently within our current team from farming, fencing landscaping, ecology and conservation which allows for a unique learning experience through diversity of skills and knowledge within the workplace and therefore very much look forward to hearing from you. 

Driving licence essential and CSCS and SSSTS would be an advantage along with other industry related training. 

If you feel this could be you, contact Adam Smith on 07710589021 or send your CV to hr@atm-ltd.co.uk

 Logo: CLM LtdFarm & Environment Assistant 

An opportunity is available for an enthusiastic and capable individual to join our team.  

CLM is the leading independent Farm Business Consultancy in the South East specialising in Environmental Grant schemes.  We take a commercial approach to obtaining the best possible grant scheme outcomes for our clients and the habitats they manage.   

We require a motivated client facing individual, ideally with some prior experience of rural grants and subsidies dealing with Natural England and Rural Payments Service. 

Key Responsibilities: 

   ●   Assisting in the administration of grant and subsidy sourcing and compliance including Basic Payment Scheme and Environmental and Countryside Stewardship.   ●   Organising farmer engagement events for the Eastern South Downs Farmer Cluster.   ●   Providing administrative support and assistance to the team including preparation of maps, plans and reports as required.   ●   Providing mapping support for planning and diversification projects.   ●   Working with clients and contractors to let and oversee contracts of works.

Suitable candidates may also undertake habitat and protected species surveys for planning applications as well as assisting with a broad range of other farm management and rural property issues. 


   ●   Degree level qualification   ●   2 A levels Grades C and above   ●   5 GCSEs Grades C and above (including English and Mathematics)   ●   Proficient with excel   ●   Competent report writing   ●   GIS and mapping experience   ●   Excellent administration and organisational skills   ●   Work experience within the rural property sector   ●   Event organisation experience   ●   Car and Full UK Driving Licence 

A farming/ecology background/degree would be useful however, graduates from other areas may also be considered. 

Based fulltime at our office in Hartfield, East Sussex. 

Salary dependant on experience but likely to be in the range of £22k - £25k 

CV and Covering Letter to anthony@c-l-m.co.uk   

Closing date 22nd Nov 

Logo:Woodmeadow TrustEducation Officer

(freelance, part-time, commencing Jan/Feb 2020)  


Woodmeadow Trust is seeking a highly motivated individual to coordinate and deliver high quality outdoor educational activities at Three Hagges Woodmeadow.  The successful candidate will build relationships with local schools, develop and deliver curriculum-linked activities and develop and expand our outdoor education programme.   

Please click here to view full job description   

Terms and conditions  

This is a part-time post and dependent on the demand for school visits in school term time and for any chargeable activities i.e. private children’s parties and uniformed group events.  It is anticipated that the role will demand a minimum of 2 day’ work a week, it is expected to be 6 hours a day, around 41 weeks/80 days a year. The rate of pay is c. £12 per hour (c. £5,904 a year). It requires flexibility to work occasional weekends and evenings. The position is subject to satisfactory references and an enhanced DBS check. 

Place of work  

Outdoor education sessions will take place at Three Hagges Woodmeadow, Escrick, York, YO19 6EE or carried out within schools.  Other work, such as administration to be carried out remotely (from home) or can be carried out at our education and volunteer cabin situated at Three Hagges Woodmeadow. You will be required to travel to other locations i.e. schools, for outreach activities and team meetings and travel will be reimbursed for these journeys.  

How to apply  

To apply for this post please send your CV along with a letter explaining why you are interested in this post, and how your skills and experience fit the role and contact details of two referees to emma@woodmeadowtrust.org.uk.  

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 20 November 2019. It is anticipated that shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on Tuesday 26 November 2019. 

 Logo: Cranborne Chase and Chalke Valley Landscape PartnershipCranborne Chase and Chalke Valley Landscape PartnershipLandscape Partnership Manager 

Post: Fixed term contract until 30/06/2024     

Salary: £32,029 - £33,799

Base: Near Tollard Royal, Wiltshire 

Do you have the passion, drive, experience and enthusiasm to deliver a new, innovative five-year scheme comprising 20 ambitious projects? The Cranborne Chase and Chalke Valley Landscape Partnership has been awarded £1.68m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Together with partner match funding, this £2.7m scheme aims to enhance the natural, historic and cultural heritage of this stunning, historic landscape through encouraging widespread community engagement and involvement.  

Your team will comprise a Countryside Ranger/Volunteer co-ordinator (FT), a Heritage and Community Engagement Officer (FT), a Communications Officer (PT), a Support Officer (PT). To view the Landscape Conservation Action Plan and projects click here.  

You will oversee and co-ordinate the strategic direction of the Landscape Partnership Scheme acting as the figurehead and ensuring collaborative working and communications amongst all partners and stakeholders. Working to the Cranborne Chase AONB Director, you will prepare and present regular reports to the Landscape Partnership Board and be responsible for accurate and timely grant claims to the Heritage Fund. You will oversee the smooth running and operation of specific Project Working groups and the Community Stakeholders Group. 

You’ll be a self-motivated people-person, an organised, respected team leader with a record of managing large, composite budgets. You’ll manage the team of four, be responsible for a budget of £2.7m, encourage and enable ongoing collaborative working with a multitude of partners and track delivery of a wide range of critical outcomes. You’ll also play a vital role in ensuring the scheme has a lasting legacy on the ground. 

You’ll lead on implementation and delivery of the major ‘Champions of the Past’ project, inspiring volunteers to discover more about, and become involved in, conserving the unique historic heritage of the area. You will be passionate about landscape, heritage, and the natural world and have the instinctive ability to inspire and enthuse others. You’ll have a ‘can-do’ attitude and excel at inspiring and motivating partners, colleagues and volunteers. With a substantial and proven track record of successfully managing a team to deliver many complex projects on time and to budget, you’ll also have the ambition and ability to seek out and secure additional funding. 

You’ll have a minimum of 3 years proven experience of successful management of a National Lottery Heritage Fund, or other similar large grant aided, programme of work and have in depth knowledge of the natural, historic or cultural environment. 

Logo: Cranborne Chase AONBLogo: Heritage FundFor an informal discussion please contact Anne Carney, Funding and Partnerships Officer on 01725 517417 or annecarney@cranbornechase.org.uk (Previous applicants need not re-apply)

Closing date: 11pm 24/11/19


To apply click here  

Logo: Nene Park TrustRanger

(£21,467 - £24,047 per annum, dependent upon experience)  

The post of Ranger forms a key role within Nene Park Trust’s Park Management Team, who are responsible for the day-to-day management of one of the most well-visited parks in the country with exciting ambitions for the future.  

The post will help carry out Ranger duties within the Park to ensure it is well-managed and maintained, conserving its important heritage and ensuring it provides a welcoming environment for Park visitors.  

In addition, the post will act as Health and Safety Champion for the Park Management Team, keeping an overview of health and safety as it relates to activity within the Park. The post will support the Trust’s Health and Safety Working Group, work closely with the organisation’s health and safety consultants NFU, and support wider Trust teams in working safely.

For an informal discussion please contact Greg Higby on 01733 405974.  

For further information and to download an application pack please see our website www.nenepark.org.uk/vacancies   

Closing date for applications: 9am Monday 25th November 

 Logo: The Great Out-toursBecome an owner of an award winning, pioneering outdoor franchise.

A business opportunity to inspire children in the countryside within your own County/Country.  

Great Out-tours Franchise

A franchise business opportunity to inspire children in the countryside within your own County/Country.
Closing date: Ongoing
Salary: Up to £100 per hour
Location: Your home County / Country / Area  

The Great Out-tours Limited are looking for people who are passionate about the great outdoors and inspiring the imaginative minds of children, using the school countryside stage. 
A special Franchise business opportunity offer ONLY VALID for Countryside Job Service members: A three-month ‘franchise trading trial’ with 80% income royalty returns guaranteed but without the tie of paying the franchise license engagement fee’. *See website for T&C’s

Our very first ‘pioneering’ West Sussex franchise is run by Forest School Leader/Business Owner Samantha Cross who quotes “Via the Great Out-tours after school club product children get access to the outdoors through its seasonally themed activities. The club sessions we run offer opportunities for education, practical skills development, teamwork and a whole heap of fun! The schools love it, as it is a great complement to their offering, giving support to the curriculum and after-school care. I have found that rather than conflicting with my Forest School business, it has dovetailed beautifully. The two businesses complement each other. More to the point, the children love it.”

Job description:

  • Are you at a stage of your life and career where you are reflecting on what the next steps in your professional journey should/might be?
  • Would you like the opportunity to create the same joy and inspiration within children\’s lives as we do?
  • Are you currently running an outdoor business (such as a Forest School, care farm or environmental business) & would like to increase your earning potential, whilst maintaining your existing product delivery? Via an exciting & curriculum supporting ‘Four Seasons Activity learning programme’, The Great Out-tours specialise in running after-school clubs, in-school workshops (complementing any existing countryside activities), weekend clubs and parties.

The Great Out-tours are expanding and looking to engage franchise partners throughout the United Kingdom.

  • Run your own Great Out-tours franchise business that inspires children in the flows of the rich & varied countryside calendar.
  • Such a business will not conflict with your existing environmental business or product, rather dovetail and complement it!
  • For a full introduction to this exciting and hugely rewarding franchise business opportunity, click here.

Person specification:

  • We are looking for people who are passionate about the great outdoors and most of all inspiring the imaginative minds of children.
  • An ideal candidate will be practically talented, enthusiastic, illuminating & willing to work hard. Sound knowledge of, or upbringing in the UK countryside and an understanding of the flows of the seasons, is most advantageous.
  • Being self-motivated and happy to work alone for the ultimate positive gain of the franchise business, is a key requirement.


Logo: Great Out-tours Rural Business AwardsFor further information and to apply, please click here.


Interested applicants are invited to complete a contact form which starts the exciting franchise journey! The Great Out-tours contact for all franchise application enquiries is John Brooksbank.


Logo: John Muir TrustJunior Ranger Project Officer

Salary: £25,000 pro rata p.a.

Hours: Part-time, 0.5 FTE

Location: Pitlochry or Fort William. Home working may be considered depending on location.

Contract: Fixed term, 24 months  

The Junior Ranger Programme is a well-established engagement scheme aimed at young people 11-18 years old. The John Muir Trust would like to develop a Junior Ranger programme across some of its inspiring wild places and we are recruiting a Junior Ranger Project Officer to support the development and implementation of this exciting venture. This will be a 2 year, part-time post.  

The post holder will be passionate about providing opportunities for young people to get outdoors, and develop their skills and confidence in their local wild places. You will provide support and guidance for property staff and share good practice across the Trust.  

Applicants must be able to demonstrate experience of developing and implementing projects with young people as the key audience and have experience of working effectively with internal and external stakeholders. Experience of working directly with volunteers and young people would be desirable.  

A flexible approach, strong organisational and interpersonal skills, self-motivation and an ability to work without supervision are essential for the post.  

Closing date: Midnight on Monday 18 November 2019

Interview date: Tuesday 26 November 2019 

For a full job description and application details click here.

Logo: CGO Ecology LtdSenior Ecologist (Bats, Birds)

CGO Ecology Ltd, Christchurch, Dorset www.cgoecology.com

Starting December 2019

Permanent, with three-month probationary period

Salary £30,000 + 


CGO Ecology is a consultancy with a small team of staff, and a wide network of subcontractors and associates. We need a skilled and licensed bat ecologist, with proven experience obtaining bat EPS mitigation licences, to join our Dorset team. Good ornithological skills and a range of other ecological expertise would be a bonus. 


The position is home-based (Dorset/Hants area), and mainly involves travelling to jobs across this area and the Southeast, sometimes further, and with overnight stays where necessary. You would coordinate and conduct surveys and mitigation for bats (PRAs, nocturnal surveys, static detectors, transects), Breeding Bird Surveys, Winter Bird Surveys, Phase 1 habitat/PEAs, and surveys for reptiles, GCN, riparian mammals, and other protected species. You must be able to write reports and licence applications to a high standard of English grammar, and deal effectively with clients, colleagues and stakeholders. You would need excellent written and verbal communication skills, be physically able, and prepared to work flexible and often unsociable hours with a flexi-time/TOIL system. You would need to be a self-starter, with a pragmatic outlook, who uses their initiative to resolve problems.  

Essential experience/skills 

   ●   Bat survey licence (at least CL17 level 2), experience obtaining bat mitigation licences.   ●   Good ornithological skills, with Annex I/Schedule 1 species survey experience.   ●   Extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys/PEA, with commensurate botanical knowledge.   ●   Full driving licence, access to own vehicle.   ●   Excellent written and spoken English.   ●   Degree-level education, or equivalent in professional experience and training.   ●   Highly computer-literate, including MS Office.   ●   At least two years in the consultancy sector.

Desirable (non-essential) experience/skills 

   ●   Expertise and experience in some of the following taxa and disciplines: badger, barn owl, breeding birds, hazel dormouse, GCN, invertebrates, NVC botanical surveys, otter, reptiles, water vole.    ●   Competent in GIS or CAD software.   ●   At least five years in the consultancy sector.   ●   Full or Associate member, or eligible for membership, of CIEEM.   ●   Tree-climbing qualifications and experience.   ●   A range of professional employment demonstrating breadth of character. 


Salary £30k+, negotiable for the right candidate. Working week 40 hours with a flexi-time/TOIL system. We reimburse reasonable expenses at cost, and mileage at 45p. We provide relevant PPE and survey equipment, pension, regular CPD/training, 24 days’ discretionary leave plus statutory holidays. We operate an Equal Opportunities policy.


To apply, send a brief email to Chris Gleed-Owen chris@cgoecology.com, attaching a CV focusing on relevant experience, licences and qualifications. The post will be advertised until filled, starting December 2019, or earlier if possible. No agencies.  

Logo: Neo Environmental Senior Ecologist

Location: Glasgow

Role: Full Time 

Salary: Dependent on experience 

About Us 

Neo Environmental are seeking to recruit a suitably qualified Senior Ecologist to be based in Glasgow and work on a broad variety of projects. The position will offer the right individual the opportunity to work for a well-established and growing environmental consultancy.  

The successful candidate will work on projects including large energy developments, residential and mixed-use schemes, infrastructure, aggregates and commercial projects. You will be given plenty of opportunity to develop your skills and expertise through ongoing mentoring and training. The ideal candidate will be able to work with a high degree of independence as well as in teams. The role will ideally suit an individual with consultancy experience.   

Job Description & Duties

   ●   Undertaking ecological surveys including: ◦   Phase 1 / Fossitt habitat survey and NVCs/IVCs;    ◦   Protected species scoping surveys;     ◦   Bat surveys;     ◦   Ornithological surveys;     ◦   Other surveys as required   ●   Producing comprehensive reports including:   ◦   Preliminary ecological appraisals   ◦   Ecological impact assessments   ◦   EIA chapters   ◦   Biodiversity management plans   ◦   Protected species   ●   Liaising with clients and statutory consultees   ●   Attending client and site meetings   ●   Undertaking ECoW role where required

 Essential Criteria 

   ●   Degree in ecology or similar   ●   Significant professional report writing experience   ●   Good knowledge of UK ecological legislation and regulations   ●   Experience of phase 1 / Fossitt habitat surveys & NVCs/IVCs   ●   Ornithological experience   ●   Bat survey experience   ●   Technically competent   ●   The successful candidate will be required to produce reports for clients and so attention to detail, reliability, and good organisational skills are essential   ●   Must be flexible and willing to travel, with occasional overnight stays away from home   ●   Experience using ArcGIS or similar   ●   Full driving license and own transport 

Desirable Criteria 

   ●   GWDTE experience    ●   Bat licence   ●   Clerks of Works experience   ●   Knowledge or  experience using Arc GIS or similar   ●   Other protected species licences   ●   CIEEM accredited   ●   CSCS Card  

For consideration for this role please forward your CV to Paul at: paul@neo-environmental.co.uk

Logo: Wildwood Ecology LtdSenior Ecologist  

Salary Range: up to £36K DOE 

Do you want to work for an award winning environmental consultancy whose ethos encapsulates the promotion and encouragement of sustainable and ethical environmental concepts and solutions that benefit all?  A company where your contribution is valued and where your ingenuity is actively encouraged and rewarded?  A Certified B Corporation that is not afraid to stand up for what it believes to be right? 

We are looking for an experienced and licenced Senior Ecologist to join our Cotswolds team based in the beautiful market town of Cirencester. 

In order to apply: 

   ●   You must have a relevant degree as well as a bat survey licence (Natural England Class 2 or equivalent) and be a full member of CIEEM and/or CIEMA.   ●   Having extensive experience in the ecological sector, you must have proven experience of leading on ecological surveys and have managed and mentored junior members of your team.   ●   In addition to ecological skills you must have the confidence to challenge the status quo and work to make a positive impact on both people and the planet.   ●   As a passionate advocate of the environment you will want to make your voice heard but equally you value other people’s honesty, opinions, biases and perspectives that may differ from your own. 

In return we offer a competitive salary, continuous training, relevant membership fees paid, a generous holiday allowance, flexible working opportunities and the chance to make a difference to the ecological future of our planet.

We also aim to make work fun. 

We spend a lot of our time in the work environment as there’s a lot of great stuff we need to do, so we want you to help us build a friendly, inclusive and supportive environment where people can shine and truly be themselves. 

If our values align with those of your own and you would like to find out more, please visit our website www.wildwoodecology.com, call us on 01285 610145 or email recruit@wildwoodecology.com for an application pack today! 

Closing date for applications is 13 December 2019, although we reserve the right to close applications earlier if required. 

Please note that we do not work with recruitment agencies so please don’t contact us as the answer will be no. 

Logo: Wiltshire Wildlife TrustSwindon Reserves Manager

Reports to: Head of Conservation

Salary: £26,408

Hours: Full time permanent – 37.5 hrs/week (Monday – Sunday contract)

Based: The Whitworth Building, Blakehill Farm nature reserve  

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust is looking for an experienced and enthusiastic Reserves Manager to join the Trust’s Conservation team. This is an exciting and rare opportunity to take on a key position that will assume responsibility for a suite of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s (WWT) nature reserves and some public open spaces in Swindon, ensuring that they meet their environmental, social and financial objectives.  

This is a new post funded jointly by Swindon Borough Council and the Trust to develop a Swindon-wide conservation management and community engagement programme that will enhance Swindon’s valuable meadows and connected forest habitats and realise associated health and well-being benefits within local communities through encouraging participation, taking action and engaging with nature.  

The Trust is looking for someone who possesses a high level of management competence and leadership qualities. The successful candidate will also have experience in working with and managing volunteers and contractors.  

If you share our passion for the environment and would like to help us achieve our conservation objectives we would be delighted to hear from you.  

Closing Date: 9.00am Friday 22nd November 2019  

(Successful candidates will be notified by Wednesday 27th November 2019. If you have not heard from us by 5pm on this date then unfortunately you will have been unsuccessful. It is Trust policy not to provide feedback at this stage).  

Interviews: Friday 6th December 2019 at The Whitworth Building  

A full job description and application pack is available to download from our website 

If after reading the job description you would like to discuss this opportunity informally, please contact Dr Gary Mantle on 01380 829064 or by email at garym@wiltshirewildlife.org 

Logo: Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and CambridgeshireConservation Projects Officer

Full Time: 37.5hrs per week

Location: Northampton

Salary: £24,000 - £24,500 per annum 

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire is seeking a Conservation Projects Officer to support the delivery of nature conservation both on the Trusts nature reserves and in the wider countryside in Northamptonshire. 

The Conservation Projects Officer (CPO) will assist with the production of up to date management plans for nature reserves, project co-ordination for work on nature reserves and in the wider countryside, and surveying and management advice to owners and managers of Local Wildlife Sites. 

The CPO manages the Farming for the Future project, a partnership project with an officer providing landowner support and advice in the Nene Valley. 

Closing Date: 17th November 2019 (midnight)     Interview date: 27th November 2019 

For more information and to apply, please visit our website

Logo: Cotswolds Conservation Board  Project Officer

Cotswolds AONB Rail Corridor Enhancement Project

Cotswolds Conservation Board 

Location Northleach, Gloucestershire

18.5 hours per week for two years (potential to extend to three years)

£25,416-£26,969 pro-rata  

Do you want to join the Cotswolds Conservation Board team to help deliver a lasting positive legacy for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)? 

The Cotswolds AONB Rail Corridor Enhancement Project is a two-year project which aims to address the adverse impacts of electrification works that have been carried out along a 10km section of the Great Western Main Line railway between Old Sodbury and Alderton in the South Gloucestershire section of the AONB. 

Network Rail has provided the Cotswolds Conservation Board with funding to develop, manage and deliver this project.  The focus of the project will be on two key areas:

  • Line-side planting and other schemes which help to mitigate the landscape and visual impact of the electrification works, within a 6km-wide corridor.
  • Schemes across a wider area of the Cotswolds AONB, that compensate for the adverse impacts of the electrification works by contributing to the Board’s statutory purposes.

Most of the funding will be allocated through a grants programme, working in partnership with local landowners and communities. 

The Project Officer will ensure that the project is effectively designed and delivered to ensure maximum impact; external stakeholders are positively engaged; budgets and grants are managed effectively; the project is communicated effectively to key stakeholders; and reporting requirements to the relevant bodies are met.  

Closing date:    Monday 2 December 2019, 12pm.

Interview dates: Monday 9 December and Tuesday 10 December 2019. 

For an informal discussion please contact John Mills, Planning and Landscape Officer, on 01451 862004. 

For a job description and details on how to apply visit www.cotswoldsaonb.org.uk/jobs or contact Della Morris on 01451 862000. 


Conservation Placements available with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust  

Are you aged 24 or under? Are you looking to grow your career in conservation? 

If so then we would like to hear from you. 

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has opportunities available at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve (Doncaster), Stirley Community Farm (Huddersfield) and York Head Office  

We are looking for passionate and motivated young people to join the Tomorrow’s Natural Leaders programme.  As part of the programme we help build your practical skills, conservation knowledge, leadership skills and employability in the conservation & environmental sector. This will be achieved through a 3 day week - 8 month placement carrying out a wide range of activities such as; reserves management, habitat restoration, biodiversity monitoring, events management, campaigning, species surveys, livestock management and outreach & education.  

In return you will receive benefits including a bursary of £250 per month, a £480 training budget and a £500 completion bonus.   

Applications for this exciting opportunity are open now so please click here, ring the office: 01904 659570 or e-mail joe.wyatt@ywt.org.uk for your chance to be a part of the future in environmental conservation.  

YWT Company 409650; Charity no. 210807.




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Volunteers: 25 adverts for voluntary posts added this month  see all of these online at: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/vols


Logo: National TrustImmersive Volunteer Role  

National Trust Ranger team, Black Down Estate, Haslemere, Surrey.

c.30 hours per week for a period of 6-12 months (maximum 12 months).    

The role involves, for example, spending time with the Ranger team across the Black Down Estate, assisting with our events programme, helping to look after the basecamp and the volunteer groups which stay there, maintaining the biomass boiler, coordinating our small-scale sustainable food production by looking after the basecamp vegetable garden and chicken run.

The successful candidate would get an opportunity to develop their experience of countryside conservation on an estate with a variety of habitats including woodland, grassland and heathland as well dealing with small herds of in-hand cattle.    

Our team of immersive volunteer rangers are offered free accommodation in our Speckled Wood Building. They help us to run the estate in a more sustainable way, whilst living in a house constructed from materials that were produced in the woodlands within which they will be living and volunteering.    

This role will suit people who are looking to develop a career in the countryside management or conservation sector and want to gain practical experience on the ground in a variety of areas. We are looking for people who enjoy being part of a team but are also able to self-manage when on their own.  

Ideally applicants will have some previous experience and knowledge of countryside management. Appropriate practical qualifications or skills would be an advantage.    

Detailed job specification available from jo-anne.buckrell@nationaltrust.org.uk    

Applications: covering letter and CV please to jo-anne.buckrell@nationaltrust.org.uk  

Application Deadline: 11.00 a.m. on 26 November, 2019

Interview Date: 3 December, 2019 

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Surveys and Fieldwork: additions in

Many conservation organisations appeal for volunteer surveyors to record and submit local sightings for a national wildlife survey.

Taking part in any of these surveys will give you useful experience and also help to extend the scientific knowledge of a species, so vital for appropriate conservation management. Some include training in survey techniques and some may even pay expenses. 



People's Trust for Endangered Species run several surveys which can be done in your own time and local area. These include Living with Mammals, Mammals on Roads, Dormouse Monitoring, Water Vole Monitoring, Great Stag Hunt, Traditional Orchard Survey, the Big Hedgehog Map and the Great British Hedgerow Survey. See the website or call: 020 7498 4533 http://www.ptes.org/surveys


Become a Community Flooding Volunteer

A Citizen Science project to help monitor local burns in Menstrie, Alva, Tillicoultry and Dollar in Clackmannanshire to monitor, record and clear debris from burns and identify and record invasive non-native plant species to assess their condition which may help prevent and alleviate flood events. No previous knowledge of the subject required. We will provide training, support and guidance. Contact for details: citizenscience-scotland@tcv.org.uk


Garden Wildlife Health (GWH)

A collaborative project between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Froglife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), that aims to monitor the health of, and identify disease threats to, British wildlife. http://www.gardenwildlifehealth.org


Naturehood: A citizen science project focused on taking action for wildlife in private gardens, this project encourages the implementation and recording of wildlife friendly actions in communities. Take simple surveys to record changes in your garden wildlife.   naturehood@earthwatch.org.uk https://naturehood.uk/



Record a Raptor

The Wildlife Information Centre’s Record a Raptor survey aims to gather up-to-date information on the distribution of three raptors in south-east and part of central Scotland. Please let us know every time you see a Red Kite, Kestrel or Buzzard https://c-js.co.uk/1Cbz7gW


Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) is a long-term, national monitoring scheme that quantifies the concentrations of contaminants in the livers and eggs of selected species of predator in Britain. The Scheme is run by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH). Have you found a deceased bird of prey? https://pbms.ceh.ac.uk/


Seabird Watch is a citizen science project set up by Oxford University to find solutions to the present research gaps using cameras as a monitoring network for Arctic seabird conservation. We need your help counting birds, nests and eggs in our thousands of photos to turn them into data. http://seabirdwatch.org


Penguin Watch is a citizen science project set up by Oxford University to find solutions to the present research gaps using cameras as a monitoring network for penguin conservation. We need your help counting penguins, chicks, nests and eggs in our thousands of photos to turn them into data. http://www.penguinwatch.org



Hedgehog Survey

The Wildlife Information Centre's Hedgehog survey aims to gather up-to-date information on the distribution of hedgehogs in our region. If you see a hedgehog in the Lothians, Borders, Falkirk, Stirling or Clackmannanshire Council areas or the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park please let us know. https://c-js.co.uk/2f8RPS4  


National Water Vole Monitoring Programme

Our fastest declining mammal needs your help. We launched the first ongoing national monitoring programme for water voles in 2015, the data collected will guide our conservation work and inform us where action is needed. Can you survey a site for water voles? https://c-js.co.uk/2f8Qfj3


National Bat Monitoring Programme

Help us monitor the UK's bats by taking part in one or more of our surveys and observing these fascinating mammals in your local area. Anyone can take part, from beginners to experts, and we run training workshops. Find a survey to suit you and sign up online at https://c-js.co.uk/2TzRgQM


Have you seen a badger in south-east or central Scotland? If so, please let us know. Even roadkill sightings are useful to us. Data will inform planning, conservation and research both locally and nationally. More information including how to report sightings can be found on our website. http://www.wildlifeinformation.co.uk/spots_stripes.php


Cardiff University Otter Project is a 25year+ programme collecting otters found dead from across UK, for post mortem examination, to investigate pollution, health and ecology. Get involved, volunteer, check out studentships (PhD/Masters), report otters found dead: FB @otterprojectuk; Twitter @otter_project or website https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/otter-project


Living with Mammals survey PTES is calling for volunteers to take part in spring’s survey of wild mammals in gardens and local green spaces. Choose a site close to home or place of work, and spend a short time each week looking out for wild mammals or the signs they leave behind. To receive a survey pack contact PTES. https://c-js.co.uk/2nchGIf


Mammals on Roads survey from PTES We want to know about your route and what you see along the way, dead and alive. This information is compared year to year, alerting us to changes in the wider population. Journeys should include twenty miles or more on single-carriageways and should be outside of towns or built-up areas. https://c-js.co.uk/2sEW3It


The BIG Hedgehog Map – please help us by recording your sightings of hedgehogs (dead or alive) as well as find out where others are seeing the nation’s favourite wild animal. You can also pledge to make a Hedgehog Highway in your fence and add it to the map. http://bighedgehogmap.org/


Badger sightings wanted.  Scottish Badgers collects all sightings of badgers seen around Scotland, from road casualties to live encounters, as well as sett records and possible badger crime. We use this information to monitor local populations and distributions. Please see the website for more information or email operationscoordinator@scottishbadgers.org.uk http://www.scottishbadgers.org.uk/


Walk this Water Way is a citizen science project run by the Mammal Society. We are asking people to walk 600m+ transects along any local waterway, using the free Mammal Mapper app to record signs and sightings of our mammals! More information on the project can be found here: https://c-js.co.uk/2YW0f2m



The Bumblebee Conservation Trust runs a nationwide bumblebee-monitoring project, BeeWalk. The scheme involves walking a self-set route once a month March - October, identifying the bumblebees you see and recording them online. Anyone can get involved, though the better your bumblebee ID the better! http://www.beewalk.org.uk


Scottish Spider Search

We need your help to find out more about 4 easily identified spiders in Scotland! Find out how to take part on The Wildlife Information Centre’s website. The survey is part-funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and is supported by the British Arachnological Society, Caledonian Conservation Ltd. and Buglife Scotland. https://c-js.co.uk/2p3qUZD


The Garden Butterfly Survey allows you to record and report the butterflies that visit your garden over the course of a year. Create a free account, submit your sightings and help us learn more about how butterflies are faring in UK gardens. Please tell us what is fluttering behind your fence and help us to monitor garden butterfly populations. http://www.gardenbutterflysurvey.org


Noble Chafer Beetle Survey

People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and Royal Holloway University of London have joined forces to launch a new national beetle survey, in order to conserve the beautiful but threatened noble chafer beetle. To find out more information and to take part in the survey, contact Deborah on: d.harvey@rhul.ac.uk https://c-js.co.uk/2X3Qbn7


National Moth Recording Scheme

Run by Butterfly Conservation the NMRS is the UK recording scheme for all moth species (micros and macros). Sightings should be submitted to the appropriate County Recorder or via the NMRS online recording system https://c-js.co.uk/2zMlWrx


Migrant Watch

The Painted Lady butterfly and Humming-bird Hawk-moth are arriving from Africa and becoming increasingly common in the UK. To find out just how common, we need your help. Butterfly Conservation is running a project to map the arrival, spread and departure of migrant insects online. https://c-js.co.uk/2zLYQ4f


Great Stag Hunt Stag beetle sightings – let us know where you’ve spotted a stag beetle via the Great Stag Hunt! Sightings are key to finding out where populations are thriving, in need of help, or non-existent. http://ptes.org/gsh


The Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (PMRP) aims to establish how insect pollinator populations are changing across Great Britain. Two new large-scale surveys are running under the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme banner (PoMS) – read on to find out how you can take part and help us track changes in pollinator numbers. poms@ceh.ac.uk https://c-js.co.uk/2CGxPk0


Butterfly Conservation has raised awareness of the drastic decline in butterflies and moths, and created widespread acceptance that action needs to be taken. Through our conservation work, we have also begun to reverse the decline of several of our most threatened species. See how you can get involved at https://butterfly-conservation.org/


Have you seen a Leopard Slug in south-east or central Scotland? If so, please let us know! The Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) is native to our region, but is under-recorded. Help us fill in the dots on our map by submitting your sightings to us. Photos would be appreciated to help us confirm sightings. http://www.wildlifeinformation.co.uk/spots_stripes.php


Dragonfly surveys

Help the BDS track the distribution and health of Dragonfly populations across the UK. The BDS runs a number of Dragonfly recording projects, suitable for both experienced recorders and beginners, ranging for single species surveys to site monitoring. Find out more on the BDS website: eleanor.colver@british-dragonflies.org.uk https://british-dragonflies.org.uk/


RHS Cellar Slug Survey

Our survey asks members of the public to submit records of Yellow Cellar Slug and Green Cellar Slug in UK gardens, along with information about your garden so we can establish any links between habitat features and where these species occur. See the website for full details Advisory_Entomology@rhs.org.uk http://rhs.org.uk/slugsurvey



The National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS) gathers data on the UK’s wild plants and habitats. Whether new to the world of wild flowers or an experienced botanist, if you are interested in joining thousands of volunteers nationwide to gather evidence of which plants are increasing or declining and the health of our habitats, visit http://www.npms.org.uk/


Species alert for Water Primrose - Ludwigia grandiflora issued as part of the GB rapid response protocol An invasive non-native plant from South America which has become a serious pest in other countries, where it smothers water bodies reducing the numbers of native species and potentially increasing the risk of flooding. It has started to be found in some parts of England and Wales. https://c-js.co.uk/2OELY86


Ethnoveterinary Medicine Project, based at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, is researching current knowledge of the use of plants, either as medicines or feed, to treat animals (livestock or pets). If you have contributions, please send an email to ethnovet@kew.org https://c-js.co.uk/31pWlRc


Can you help us build an urban canopy cover map for Britain? Trees for Cities, Brillianto and Forest Research are hosting a citizen science project to map out the canopy cover of Britain’s towns and cities. Help us build this canopy cover map for Britain by measuring the canopy cover in your local area.



RiverLife's West Lothian Aspen search

The RiverLife team at Forth Rivers Trust invite you to take part in our aspen search across West Lothian. Feeding into aspen conservation and education, the project aims to record wild and planted aspen stands across West Lothian. To get involved and access resources get in touch. l.park@forthriverstrust.org http://www.river-life.org.uk


Send us your wildlife sightings

This September, October and November Norfolk Wildlife Trust is asking people to share their wildlife sightings of three fungi you may find within a woodland habitat: common earthball, penny bun (cep) and earpick fungus. http:// https://c-js.co.uk/2sFsfIx


If you are interested in helping with any of the surveys please contact the person or see the website listed.

Please see the full listings online at: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/workdays/surveys



Features and In Depth Articles.


logo: Canal & River TrustSixth and final article from this year's featured charity: Canal & River Trust

Rescuing fish at Toddbrook Reservoir


Since August this year, Canal & River Trust has been getting underway with the long task of repairing the dam wall at Toddbrook Reservoir. We’re bringing you the latest updates from our dedicated project manager, as well as an insight into the vital fish rescue operation. 

Image: Canal & River Trust

Canal & River Trust

We have appointed experienced project manager, Rob Jowitt, to lead a team of experts to work out what happened at Toddbrook. Working alongside Rob, contractor Kier is on site to maintain and manage water levels, deliver the repair works to the dam and keep the reservoir secure. Additionally, independent experts will be carrying out the inquiry into what caused the damage to the dam spillway.


Rob Jowitt commented: “Moving on from the emergency response, our job is to find out what caused the damage and prepare a detailed plan for repairing the dam wall. It is a huge job which is likely to take some time.”


The water level in the reservoir was lowered by over ten metres following the discovery of damage to the dam wall this summer. Soon after this operation, when the reservoir was made safe and residents of Whaley Bridge returned home, the Trust carried out a major fish rescue to re-home thousands of fish which had been affected by the draining of the reservoir.

Image: Canal & River Trust

Canal & River Trust


Coarse fish, such as bream, roach, perch, tench and pike were captured in large nets by our fish specialists and transported mostly to Upper Bittell Reservoir, near Birmingham. Upper Bittell reservoir has low fish stocks after it was drained and refilled following maintenance works two years ago. Therefore it can accommodate this large amount of fish without upsetting the local ecosystem.


On the advice of our fisheries and angling team, the remaining fish at Toddbrook will be removed and rehomed this autumn when the weather is cooler. This is much better for the health of the fish and increases their survival rate. Until then a small amount of water has been left in the centre of the reservoir to keep the local fish stock alive.


With an estimated 30,000 fish (about 5,000kg) to rehome, this task will take around three weeks.


More about fish recues

It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act to cause fish any unnecessary suffering and harm. An environmentally responsible organisation like the Trust is obliged to make best endeavors to avoid killing fish. Therefore, fish rescues play an important part of our overall fisheries management programme.

Image: Canal & River Trust

Canal & River Trust

Fish are an integral part of the wildlife of the nation’s canals and rivers. For example, when people talk of the need to encourage kingfishers or otters, what they really referring to is the need to ensure thriving fish stock populations which can then support a sustainable level of predation.


Like most other living things, fish need a supply of oxygen to breath. Left in shallow water this oxygen supply can quickly run out, especially if the temperature is high. Leaving fish in situ in shallow water also makes them easy prey for their natural predators such as herons, kingfishers and cormorants.


Replacing fish does not come cheaply, if the Trust had to replace all its fish we would be looking at writing out a cheque for the sum of around £40 million.


Healthy fish stocks are important to anglers too. The health and wellbeing benefits of angling are well known, but without sufficient healthy fish stocks these benefits cannot be unlocked. During 2019 the Trust has introduced more than 7,000 new people, the majority of them young people, to angling through the Let’s Fish! campaign. 95% of these participants have caught at least one fish in their first 30 minute fishing session.


Could you be part of the Canal & River Trust team, working to transform canals and rivers into spaces where local people (and local wildlife) enjoy spending time?  We have professional roles, seasonal roles and volunteer roles available right now. To find out more go to www.canalrivertrust.org.uk or receive all our latest news, offers and more by signing up to our newsletter.


It's been a lovely year working with the Canal and River Trust, our next featured charity will introduce themselves next month. 

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logo: #iwillCelebrating the #PowerOfYouth this #iwillWeek


Young people aren't just the leaders of tomorrow. They have the skills, energy and ideas to change society for the better today. That's why the #iwill campaign, comprised of over 10000 organisations from across the UK, aims to make participation in social action – such as volunteering, campaigning or fundraising - the norm for young people aged 10 to 20. 


Young people are passionate about the environment. In their communities, young people want to feel safe and proud of spaces in which they spend time and socialise with family and friends. On a global level, young people are worried about environmental challenges that threaten their future. Results from the National Youth Social Action survey show that there is a strong appetite from young people to engage in environmental social action, particularly to protect animals and wildlife. By utilising their talents, entrepreneurialism and creativity, young people can and should be a key part of the solution to environmental threats. 


To coincide with the Government’s plans to make 2019 a “Year of Green Action”, this year the #iwill campaign has launched #iwill4nature: a partnership between young people and organisations to grow participation in high quality environmental youth social action. We want organisations to understand and champion the vital role that young people can play in supporting and improving the environment, and to embed youth social action into their work and long-term strategies.


To find out more about how you can support green youth social action, visit www.iwill.org.uk. You can also join forces with #iwill campaign partners to celebrate the #PowerOfYouth during #iwillWeek, 18-24th November, where organisations and young people from across the UK will be shining a spotlight on the variety of ways in which young people are making a positive difference to others and the environment. To find out more on how you can you get involved, visit https://www.iwill.org.uk/iwill-week-2019

logo: John Muir TrustThe upsides and downsides of tourism in rural Scotland

By Hebe Carus , Policy Officer



Marketing initiatives such as the North Coast 500 route, and promotion of our stunning remoter landscapes in Scotland by government-sponsored organisations such as Visit Scotland, have been a success when measured against economic benefits, but is that the only important criteria?

JMT volunteers suilven path work June 2018 Credit: Chris Puddephatt

JMT volunteers suilven path work June 2018 (Chris Puddephatt)


Alongside the marketing there has been a reduction in facilities such as toilets and waste management in order for local authorities to save money due to tightened budgets. Facilities for campervan waste disposal and roads maintenance are not keeping pace with increased vehicles, and upland footpath maintenance almost exclusively relies on donations, charity and lottery funds.


Increasingly it is becoming clear that there needs to be a balance between the economic boost and the associated impacts, and managing these within acceptable to-be-defined limits to protect the very natural resource that much of the tourism depends upon.


Communities are expressing concern – the very communities that should be seeing benefits through jobs and tourist spend. The John Muir Trust works closely with community interests – land owning and other groups. A survey we undertook of community representatives around the land that the Trust owns or manages revealed a strong feeling that the situation was not sustainable and that urgent action was needed. We don’t want to get to the stage of the anti-tourist protests by local residents in Majorca!


Bla Bheinn car park composting toilet 2019 Credit: Richard Williams (JMT)

Bla Bheinn car park composting toilet 2019 (Richard Williams / JMT)

The John Muir Trust’s main aims are to protect / conserve, inspire / connect, and repair / rewild. We care deeply that people have the opportunity to have wild experiences – both visitors and residents.

The Trust is doing what it can on its own with the generous support of our members and charitable trusts including –

  • investing more than £500,000 in the past four years to repair footpaths in partnership with local communities and businesses
  • installing composting toilets, and upgrading car parking facilities (partly supported by the Scottish Government)
  • providing ranger services at six of our seven properties.


We are meeting the relevant Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary next year and our questions will be:

  • Where businesses benefit from visitor marketing, but the impacts are felt by the whole community, how do we manage that?
  • Where is the quality of the visitor experience calculated in the drive for economic growth, and how can consideration be taken of the intangible costs to the quality of the experience? Do we want loyal repeat visitors or many one-off visitors?
  • Does it matter if visitors move through an area quickly only taking selfies? Even some tourist businesses are concerned that the change in character is impacting on their longstanding regulars likelihood of returning. Should “slow tourism” be promoted instead as a better fit with the wild experiences that attracts visitors to these areas? Would this increase the appreciation and support for wildness and translate into greater conservation of the wilds?
  • The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on enabling local authorities to be able to introduce a tourist tax (click here) but this is primarily about how and from whom it could be collected, and nothing about strategically planning how it might be spent. Highland Council is also undertaking a consultation, and one of their questions asks if it should be spent on general Council costs. There is no clear strategic plan to spend any resulting funds on facilities to manage the visitor impacts – would that be just?
  • Can tourism be promoted and managed so it positively contributes to wild places through enhancement and quality experiences creating a demand for rewilding. This would also result in benefits for tackling climate change and biodiversity loss at the same time. Surely that is the ideal win-win?
  • How do we spread tourism beyond the favoured honeypots – is there room for ecological enhancement in other areas that could, in the future, become places that people would want to visit?

Tree planting on Schiehallion (Liz Auty / JMT)

Tree planting on Schiehallion (Liz Auty / JMT)


To ensure the economy, communities and the environment are fully integrated into visitor management planning, the John Muir Trust is suggesting the following:

1.    Destination management plans setting out how tourism can sustain and balance the needs of communities and the environment to ensure:

  • community participation in planning visitor management
  • assessment of the full social, economic and environmental impacts to inform the type of tourism we want and where
  • the benefits are spread across a wider area through investment in ‘natural infrastructure’ such as peat and woodland to tackle climate change and create wildlife habitats.

2.    Strategic targeting of funding (where it is most needed at a national level across all destination management plans) in order to:

  • ensure priority infrastructure and facilities are delivered proactively e.g. footpaths, roads, waste facilities, ranger services, visitor information points
  • encourage a shift in marketing to “slow tourism,” multiple night stays, public transport etc.
  • enhance the environment on which tourism depends such as upland footpath maintenance and landscape scale ecological restoration.


The John Muir Trust believes we can change from focussing purely on economic benefits, and reactively trying to manage negative impacts, to enabling positive benefits for communities and the environment at the same time as an economic boost. It is a challenge, but with the right government and local authority policies, we believe this is possible and Scotland can lead the way.



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logo: The Tree CouncilBe a #TreeChampion this #NationalTreeWeek

23 November – 1 December


Everyone can tackle climate change by planting a tree this National Tree Week, says The Tree Council.

Tree planting materials (The Tree Council)

Tree planting materials (The Tree Council)


National Tree Week is the UK's largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season.


This National Tree Week, people are planting trees around the country, laying down roots for a more tree-filled future, led by the National Tree Champion Sir William Worsley, to tackle climate change and protect our precious wildlife habitats.


Trees do so much for us every day. They give us oxygen, store carbon, improve air quality, conserve water, preserve soil, support wildlife andare a key solution to climate change. They also make our communities more beautiful and improve our wellbeing.


But trees need our help now. We need to champion them, by planting many more trees, in the right places, and caring for the ones we already have, to ensure a green, tree-filled future.

Local schools get planting in North London (The Tree Council / Penny Dixie)

Local schools get planting in North London

(The Tree Council / Penny Dixie)


Existing tree planting targets will not help us plant the millions more trees needed to help reduce UK carbon emissions and tackle climate change. We need to plant around 30,000 hectares of trees every year for the next thirty years throughout the UK – which is approximately the size of the Isle of Wight (38,000 ha) in trees every year.


To make the challenge harder, our trees are threatened by many diseases. For example, ash dieback will wipe out millions of ash trees throughout the UK over the coming decade.


To meet these challenges, we all need to get involved and work together - families, communities, landowners, local authorities, charities, farmers and government bodies. National Tree Week is an opportunity for everyone to plant a tree and help ensure a tree-filled future. So dig out your sturdy boots, grab a spade and become a Tree Champion today!


Ready to be a Tree Champion? Here’s how:


Plant trees!

Planting trees is easy with a little guidance and once you have found a suitable space. The most important things to bear in mind are to get permission from the landowner, buy UK-grown trees from a trustworthy nursery, and share videos and photos of your event @TheTreeCouncil and #NationalTreeWeek.

Don’t forget to share your event plans on our map so others can see what you have planned: https://www.treecouncil.org.uk/Take-Part/Near-You


Spread the word

Make sure everyone knows it’s National Tree Week using #NationalTreeWeek! 


Attend a local event

Tree planting events are being organised by our amazing volunteer Tree Wardens and partners around the country, and new events are being confirmed all the time. Check our Near You map to find the event nearest to you.


To get involved, visit www.treecouncil.org.uk

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CJS FocusThe most recent edition: Countryside Management

view the most recent edition here or download a pdf copy.

The next edition will be published on 2 December

And is looking at: The Next Generation it is in association with Action for Conservation


Here's a big question for you - what do you think the countryside will look like in 20, 30 or even a 100 years?

How about our wildlife? Will rabbits still be digging holes in fields, do you think our bird feeders will still be swarming with tits and finches?

What can we do to try to conserve our future landscape and biodiversity? For as King George VI said: "The wildlife of today is not ours to dispose of as we please, we have it in trust, we must account for it to those who come after".

Whilst planting trees and running conservation projects for our most imperilled animals are all fantastic initiatives there is one thing we can all do - engender a love of the natural world in our youngsters.  Many of them are getting there before us, the youth arm of Extinction Rebellion is a perfect example, but what about those still welded to their phones and computers?  This is the subject we're tackling next, considering ways to get school age children involved and the importance doing so. 

If you have any projects, resources, tools, or perhaps your own envrionmental education services to promote then a 50 words advert is totally free. 


CJS Announcements and articles of interest.


25 Birthday wishes this month from Scottish Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust.

logo: Scottish Wildlife TrustBack in the mid 1990’s there weren’t many options for environmental job seekers other than looking at individual newspapers and contacting individual organisations.  CJS made the process a whole lot easier by collating these jobs and putting them in one place.  Organisations then realised that CJS was the best place to advertise their jobs because it was the publication for environmental job seekers.   Although there are now many more competitors, CJS is the original countryside jobs service.  Thank you CJS and best wishes for your next 25 years!

Peter Gilbert, Volunteer Development Officer at Scottish Wildlife Trust


logo: the Woodland TrustWe’ve always appreciated the help CJS has given us here at the Woodland Trust. Over the years we’ve successfully recruited many volunteers as well as paid staff through the website and we really value  being able to advertise our roles here. The service we’ve had has always been very prompt and thorough.

But it’s not just recruitment that’s important to us. The knowledge sharing that goes on through CJS is invaluable too. Whether it’s a “how to” guide, an article on current thinking on a particular issue or the handy news digest, it’s a great way for the sector to keep updated with developments and opportunities.

Twenty-five years is quite the achievement. Here’s to the next!

Dee Smith, Senior PR Officer,  Woodland Trust


Birthday PresentThis month's gift giveaway  

For November we have two more gifts for you: a years membership of Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA) and Two sets of Royal Mail Birds of Prey commemorative stamps.  


SCRAYear's membership to SCRA

Your years free membership of the Scottish Countryside Rangers Association (SCRA)  will see you join a national association with a membership of over 300 countryside and related professionals. We are the only organisation promoting the work of Scotland’s network of Rangers and represent them when working with national and international agencies. SCRA is a member of both the European Ranger Federation and the International Ranger Federation which has 92 member countries. We are invited to send representatives to Ranger Congress events including the biennial world congress.

SCRA supports continuing professional development through the Ranger Standards Award available to SCRA members at a modest cost. The SCRA CPD programme is a peer-reviewed system, with assessment and verification carried out by trained fellow professionals.

SCRA supports training initiatives and holds training events and a Ranger Rendezvous event where members from all over Scotland come together to share best practise and enhance their network of colleagues.  Your membership is also supported with a quarterly online magazine “Scramble” and a regular online update on the activities of SCRA with “Scribble.”   In addition there are opportunities for you to be involved with the activities of the association using your own skills and interests to develop the work SCRA carries out on behalf of the membership.

George Potts. Chair, Scottish Countryside Rangers Association.       

birds of prey stamps presentation wallets 

Two sets of Royal Mail Birds of Prey commemorative stamps.   Featuring: White-tailed Eagle, Merlin, Hobby, Buzzard, Golden Eagle, Kestrel, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Red Kite and Peregrine Falcon in a presentation wallet.

This unique Presentation Pack has been written by Jemima Parry-Jones MBE, Director of International Centre for Birds of Prey and leading UK Birds of Prey expert.

Features Stamp photography and large, close up of the Peregrine Falcon taken especially by Tim Flach for Royal Mail at the International Centre for Birds of Prey.



Enter the draw here.  Draw closes on 30 November



CJS25: Photography CompetitionWe really struggled to pick just one image this month the entry standard was incredible, eventually we picked two photos Val Gall's red stag just nudged Olivia Massi's seal into second place.  Both have won a six month subscription to CJS and Val has taken the main prize this month of a robin nest box from Wildlife and Countryside Services.

red stag wading through a river, image: Val Gall

Red stag walking up a river by Val Gall.

See the full size image here.


CJS: The red stag is a beautifully balanced, perfectly composed and in focus image.  Every hair is visible, the texture of the antlers and the spikiness of the gorse, even  the water running down the lifted stepping foreleg which together with the disrupted reflection in the water below all come together to create a sense of movement in what is a quite serene image.


BDMLR medic talking a seal pup by Olivia Masi 

Here to Help by Olivia Masi.

See the full size image here.


CJS says: Here to Help is the caption Olivia gave her photo of the seal, it's quite easy to believe that is what the BDMLR medic is saying to the seal whose head tilt gives the impression that they're deep in conversation. This is another perfectly focused, nicely composed image with both medic and seal centre stage but neither overshadowing the other.


It seems fitting that flora should follow fauna so the suggested theme for November is Plants and Botany and the prize is membership of Prize: membership to Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland   

logo: BSBIThe BSBI is for everyone who is interested in the wild and naturalised plants of Britain and Ireland. We trace our origins back to 1836, when the society was founded as the Botanical Society of London. We are now one of the world's largest contributors of biological records: our data inform scientific research and underpin evidence-based conservation.

We have always welcomed both professional and amateur members, and remain the biggest and most active organisation devoted to the study of botany in Britain, Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Our training, outreach and research programmes continue to support botanists at all skill levels, and our grants programmes helps us support the next generation of botanists.

The BSBI produces national Atlases and county Floras of the distribution of plants. We publish British and Irish Botany and hold conferences, workshops, indoor and field meetings.  

As a BSBI member, you are kept informed by a newsletter three times a year; your benefits include discounts on a range of botanical books; and you are given exclusive access to our network of 100+ national expert referees who can help with the identification of difficult plants.


As well as the monthly prizes there are four over all prizes.

The winner will receive an invitation to the gala opening of the British Wildlife Photography Awards 2020. We have runners up prizes of a year's membership of Society of International Nature & Wildlife Photographers and a huge bundle of birdwatching books complete with pocket binoculars.  These are chosen by the CJS Team however we are also going to open the floor to readers with a Readers Choice photo which will win a year's subscription to BBC Wildlife magazine. More about the prizes here.



We collate together news from across the internet; sent out in real time via twitter and each day we pick a handful of stories of interest which are included on the Headlines page, the daily email update and here grouped according to subject.


Click on the headline to read more.


Two top headlines this month: Stateof Nature Report and, the Queen's Speech and Environment Bill.

State of Nature report

No let-up in net loss of UK’s nature - NBN on behalf of State of Nature Partnership

The UK’s wildlife continues to decline according to the State of Nature 2019 report. The latest findings show that since rigorous scientific monitoring began in the 1970s there has been a 13% decline in average abundance across wildlife studied and that the declines continue unabated.

Pasqueflower - Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)Pasqueflower - Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)

Following the State of Nature reports in 2013 and 2016, leading professionals from more than 70 wildlife organisations have joined with government agencies for the first time, to present the clearest picture to date of the status of our species across land and sea.

The State of Nature 2019 report also reveals that 41% of UK species studied have declined, 26% have increased and 33% shown little change since 1970, while 133 species assessed have already been lost from our shores since 1500.

Butterflies and moths have been particularly hard hit with numbers of butterflies down by 17% and moths down by 25%. The numbers of species, such as the High Brown Fritillary and Grayling, that require more specialised habitats have declined by more than three quarters.

The UK’s mammals also fare badly with greater than 26% of species at risk of disappearing altogether. The Wild Cat and Greater Mouse-eared Bat are among those species teetering on the edge of disappearing.

Much is known about the causes of decline and about some of the ways in which we could reduce impacts and help struggling species. The evidence from the last 50 years shows that significant and ongoing changes in the way we manage our land for agriculture, and the ongoing effects of climate change are having the biggest impacts on nature.

Hedgehog - David Woodfall (rspb-images.com)Pollution is also a major issue. Whilst emissions of many pollutants have been reduced dramatically in recent decades, pollution continues to have a severe impact on the UK’s sensitive habitats and freshwaters, and new pollutant threats are continuing to emerge. 

Hedgehog - David Woodfall (rspb-images.com)

Daniel Hayhow, lead author on the report, said:  “We know more about the UK’s wildlife than any other country on the planet, and what it is telling us should make us sit up and listen. We need to respond more urgently across the board if we are to put nature back where it belongs. Governments, conservation groups and individuals must continue to work together to help restore our land and sea for wildlife and people in a way that is both ambitious and inspiring for future generations.  In this report we have drawn on the best available data on the UK’s biodiversity, produced by partnerships between conservation NGOs, research institutes, UK and national governments, and thousands of dedicated volunteers. It’s through working together that we can help nature recover but the battle must intensify.” 


The Untold Story of Working Conservationists - Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust

The latest State of Nature report rightly grabs the headlines with a vital assessment of the loss of British wildlife, but there is an “Untold Story” of private land managers’ spectacular success in reversing biodiversity declines at a local level. 

Their stories are important because 75% of the country is farmed and so farmers represent potentially the largest conservation force in the country. Now is the time to mobilise that force with the right support and encouragement. 

A new collection of case studies published by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust shows why private land managers are uniquely placed to provide a solution to biodiversity loss in the UK.

These unsung “Working Conservationists” are bucking the national trends. For example, in Suffolk red-listed turtle doves are thriving on Graham Denny’s 200-acre family farm and thanks to his dedication to feeding all year round he has ringed an incredible 32,000 songbirds on the farm, many of which are threatened species. 

Rural Television presenter and farmer Adam Henson, who wrote the foreword to the collection, said: “These uplifting stories of increasing wildlife remind us of the real opportunity for British farmers to lead the world in producing the food and environmental goods we urgently need.”

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, which provides conservation advice to land managers said: “Enlightened stewards of the land, such as those in GWCT’s new collection of case studies, are increasingly proving that they can be at the heart of restoring nature while running productive and profitable businesses. Encouraging land managers to adopt such approaches is an important part of the new Environmental Land Management scheme that Natural England is helping to shape, so that farmers can be properly rewarded for providing public goods alongside first-class food production.”

GWCT Chief executive Teresa Dent CBE added: “Given the right kind of funding, advice and encouragement and by working together in Farmer Clusters, private land managers have proved they can boost biodiversity in the wider working countryside. It’s time for this untold story of conservation success to become a central narrative of British wildlife restoration.” 

Purchase a copy of the Working conservations publication here.


New film from Sir David Attenborough and The Wildlife Trusts calls for nature’s recovery – The Wildlife Trusts

In the film Sir David calls for powerful new laws to ensure the UK’s wild places can thrive once more and for a Nature Recovery Network.

Sir David Attenborough says in the film: “A wildlife-rich natural world is vital for our wellbeing and survival. We need wild places to thrive. Yet many of our systems and laws have failed the natural world. We now live in one of the most nature depleted places on the planet. Nature urgently needs our help to recover – and it can be done. By joining up wild places and creating more across the UK we would improve our lives and help nature to flourish - because everything works better when it’s connected. Now is the time to tell our politicians that we need a Nature Recovery Network set in law. A legally binding network for nature would mean that wildlife is prioritised when managing our land and planning our towns. Powerful new environmental laws can ensure habitats are expanded and reconnected meaning all life will thrive once more.

“It’s time to turn things around. Nature is capable of extraordinary recovery but we must act now!  Tell your politicians now is the time to put nature into recovery. Everything works better when it’s connected.”


Queen's Speech and Environment Bill 

Queen's Speech 2019 - Cabinet Office

Her Majesty’s most gracious speech to both Houses of Parliament.  Delviered on Monday14 October

My Ministers remain committed to protecting and improving the environment for future generations. For the first time, environmental principles will be enshrined in law. Measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive. Legislation will also create new legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new, world-leading independent regulator will be established in statute to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action [Environment Bill].


CLA responds to Queen's speech, Environmental and Agriculture Bills

Commenting on the re-introduction of the Agriculture Bill, Country Land and Business Association Director General Sarah Hendry said: “The Government’s direction of travel is robust and ambitious, and will be welcomed by rural businesses. Nevertheless, farmers will be dismayed that the Agriculture Bill has to start all over again having been stuck in the legislative process for the past year. It has been a wasted year. Farmers cannot begin to plan for their future until they know what they are transitioning towards, so Government must fast track the bill to make up for lost time, and finally give rural business owners some clarity.”

On the introduction of the Environmental Bill, she said: “There is much to welcome in the Bill which does a good job of creating an enduring framework for positive action. Long-term plans, environmental targets and embedding environmental principles will help provide the stability and clarity needed for the Government to meet its environmental ambitions.”


Response from Wildlife & Countryside Link - Queen’s speech 2019: A welcome injection of ambition, but a long way to go to get nature off the critical list

Environment and animal welfare groups welcomed the inclusion of the Environment Bill in today’s Queen’s Speech, but are calling for ambitious targets and urgent delivery to turn positive aspirations into truly world-leading environmental laws.

They also welcomed the announcement of new animal welfare laws, but warned that a new expert committee will be needed to ensure that they are effective.

With one in seven UK species at risk of extinction, just over a decade to avoid an irreversible climate change tipping point, and our oceans set to contain more plastic than fish in just 30 years, the proposed Bills must be radical enough in intent and content to tackle the scale of our nature crisis.

Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “Everyone deserves a healthy environment, but many local wild places and many habitats and species are still in terminal decline. Legally-binding targets for nature are a fantastic step forward and could usher in a new era of environmental improvement, but only if the targets deliver a major dose of ambition, backed by credible plans for change—across Whitehall and across our economy. This week, we will be watching for the critical clauses needed for nature’s recovery. The Agriculture Bill must guarantee sufficient funding for greener farming for at least a decade. The Fisheries Bill must include legal limits on catches to restore our seas. The Environment Bill must match aspirational targets with ambitious action.”


Following the Queen's Speech 

Government introduces ground-breaking Environment Bill - Defra

Government introduces landmark Bill to Parliament to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time.

The government will today (Tuesday 15 October) introduce a landmark Bill to Parliament to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time, signalling a historic step change in the way we protect and enhance our precious natural environment.

The transformative Environment Bill will help ensure that we maintain and improve our environmental protections as we leave the EU. It will build on the UK’s strong track record and sets out a comprehensive and world-leading vision to allow future generations to prosper. Environmental principles will be enshrined in law and measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

Legislation will also create, legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards. The office’s powers will cover all climate change legislation and hold the government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. By also championing nature-based solutions, the Bill demonstrates our commitment to tackle climate change.

The Bill also places the bold ambition of our flagship 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing and goes beyond the key government commitments outlined earlier this year by confirming powers to enhance nature and habitats and combat the devastating effects of plastics on our natural environment. Introducing charges for a number of single use plastic items will build on the success of the government’s 5p plastic bag charge, which has cut sales from the biggest supermarkets by 90% since 2015.


Response: Woodland Trust response to the Environment Bill

Responding to the publication of the Environment Bill, Woodland Trust CEO Darren Moorcroft said:

“Our environment is the bedrock of our quality of life. It needs to be healthy, resilient and sustainable. The Environment Bill certainly has the scope to deliver that if sufficient resources are made available for those delivering on the front line and making sure we’re delivering on the ambition.

“The emphasis being placed on nature-based solutions to climate change, and the fact there will now be legally binding targets as well as a duty to protect nature is a big step forward and something we welcome.” 


Landmark Environment Bill moves forwards - Defra

Environment Bill passes second reading by MPs unopposed and will now progress to Committee stage.

The Government’s landmark Environment Bill to tackle the biggest environmental priorities of our time has moved a step closer to becoming law following its second reading by MPs (Monday 28 October).

After the debate, the Bill now progress to the Committee stage for further scrutiny and onto the next stages of the Parliamentary process for becoming law.

The transformative Environment Bill, introduced to Parliament two weeks ago, will help ensure that we maintain and improve our environmental protections as we leave the EU.

The Bill will build on the UK’s strong track record and sets out a comprehensive and world-leading vision to allow future generations to prosper. Environmental principles will be enshrined in law and measures will be introduced to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore habitats so plants and wildlife can thrive.

Legislation will also create legally-binding environmental improvement targets. A new independent Office for Environmental Protection will be established to scrutinise environmental policy and law, investigate complaints and take enforcement action against public authorities, if necessary, to uphold our environmental standards.

The office’s remit will include all climate change legislation, enabling the office to hold the government to account on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. By also championing nature-based solutions, the Bill demonstrates our commitment to tackle climate change.


Government Announcements and Policy.

UK natural capital accounts: 2019  - The Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin.

The ONS has today published new Natural Capital figures. The aim of these estimates is to value all the UK’s natural assets – such as plants, mountains, rivers and trees.

While the figures do not yet cover all environmental goods and services, these new estimates include the impact of green spaces on house prices (which were published on Monday 14/10) the cooling of cities provided by trees and ponds and the noise reduction provided by woodland.

Today’s figures show:

  • In 2016 the partial asset value of UK natural capital was estimated to be £951bn
  • On average annually, people in Wales spend over three times longer on outdoor recreation than people in England
  • In 2018, feedstock and grazing for livestock made up 61% of UK agricultural biomass
  • The cooling shade of trees and water saved the UK £248m in 2017 by maintaining productivity and lowering air conditioning costs on hot days
  • 1,238 years of life were saved through vegetation removing air pollution in 2017
  • Renewable energy generation grew from 5% of all electricity generated in 2008 to 35% in 2018
  • Driven by Scotland, UK timber production has increased 51% between 2000 and 2018

View release and supplementary documents.


New report on state of our seas is the most comprehensive of its kind says environment chief - DAERA

A new report into the state of our seas is the most comprehensive assessment of its kind according to environment chief David Small.

Common dolphin (image: DAERA)The UK Marine Strategy, which is led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) with input from devolved administrations including Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), means we now know more about the condition of our local marine environment than we ever did before.

Common dolphin (image: DAERA)

Mr Small, Head of DAERA’s Environment Marine and Fisheries Group said: “Today’s report gives us a much better understanding of the state of our seas and what’s in them. It also provides more analysis on the existing and emerging pressures and what more needs to be done to protect our marine environment, prevent its deterioration and restore it while allowing sustainable use of marine resources,” he explained. “Protecting our marine waters, which represent a third of our natural environment, is vital. As well as being home to a huge variety of marine species and habitats, our seas provide us with food, help regulate our climate and provide much of the oxygen we breathe.”

The report shows that in Northern Ireland, we have made good progress in recent years to achieve clean, healthy and biologically diverse seas, but there is still work to be done.


Vibrant new parks set to benefit communities with government funding - Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Thousands of people are set to benefit from new pocket parks or the revival of rundown green spaces as Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick launched a £1.35 million fund today (27 October 2019).

Championing the crucial role parks and green spaces play at the heart of our communities, Mr Jenrick opened bidding for the pocket parks programme, which helps support communities to transform unloved, neglected or derelict urban spaces into new green spaces.

Community groups can now bid for new parks or reimagined spaces that will be used for everything from children’s play areas, to vegetable patches and community events, benefiting the mental and physical health of people who use them.

Funded projects will be led by community groups, in partnership with local authorities, to refurbish parks and encourage community activities. Those wanting to develop new parks can bid for up to £15,000. While up to £25,000 is available for plans to refurbish existing parks.

Parks Minister Lord Younger said: "Parks and green spaces are a key asset in towns and cities up and down the country and provide great value to our communities. The pocket parks programme has seen great success in supporting community-led groups to take over neglected and derelict spaces for the whole community to use. Our ambition is to extend its transformative effect with a further round of the pocket parks programme and ensure parks and green spaces remain at the heart of our communities. It is now for community-led organisations to take the lead and encourage everyone to apply." 

In addition to the pocket parks programme, the government has:

  • awarded £9.7 million of new funding to local authorities giving them the resources they need to better maintain, protect and increase their recreational spaces
  • awarded over a million pounds to the National Trust and The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Future Parks Accelerator initiative to test new and innovative approaches to managing and funding parks
  • extended the Green Flag Award licence by a further five years meaning the people behind Britain’s best parks and green spaces will continue to be recognised and awarded for their tireless dedication
  • Alongside these crucial actions, the government will continue to work with the Parks Action Group, which represents leaders from across the parks sector and provide support and funding for community empowerment programmes, professional development for the parks workforce and alternative park management models to ensure our parks are fit for the 21st century.

Read the prospectus and find out how to apply for the funds: Pocket Parks: helping communities transform unloved, neglected or derelict areas into new green spaces


Local Government Association:  Responding to the Government’s Pocket Parks programme which provides £1.35 million funding for green spaces, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said: ”The LGA has long made the case for the importance of green and outdoor spaces for people’s health and wellbeing. In the face of the current childhood obesity epidemic, green spaces are a key resource which are enjoyed by people of all ages across the country, and sit at the heart of local communities. However, it is important that councils can maintain their core leisure and green spaces so our residents can keep active, host community events, and enjoy top-quality, safe, children’s play areas, all of which benefit the mental and physical health of people who use them.  It is therefore important that the Government provides long-term, sustainable funding so they can continue to provide excellent services for their residents, including green spaces.”  


Recreation, Community and Health.

Parks for London has published the Good Parks for London Report 2019 – Parks and health.

This year the report takes a close look at how London’s parks* can improve the health and well-being of London’s residents. The report foreword is written by Julie Billett, Chair of the London Association of Directors of Public Health. Good Parks for London 2019 considers the approach that London Boroughs are taking towards their parks*, evaluating them against ten criteria: public satisfaction, awards for quality, health and wellbeing, sustainability, events, supporting nature, skills development, community partnerships, collaboration and strategic planning.

This report comes at a time of ongoing political turmoil over Brexit, continued uncertainty over funding for parks services and growing concerns about the environment and climate change.

This year the London Borough of Southwark has topped the league table for the overall best parks service, demonstrating the fantastic work that they are doing to promote, enhance and protect their parks. They scored exceptionally well in the areas of public satisfaction; provision of health, fitness and wellbeing facilities and activities; and in developing the skills of their parks staff by offering apprenticeships and training & development for staff at every level.

Tony Leach, CEO of Parks for London said: ‘We hope this year’s report will motivate decision makers to protect future parks budgets and stimulate more Boroughs and other organisations to work together to make parks healthier so that Londoners can benefit from having not just good parks, but great ones.’’

The report is available to download here.

Read the full press release (PDF)


New report reveals that prescribing nature is excellent value for money - The Wildlife Trusts

Call for green prescribing to become widespread

A new report published today reveals that prescribing contact with nature for people who have low levels of mental wellbeing is excellent value for money by improving people’s health and wellbeing.

Researchers at Leeds Beckett University analysed the social value of Wildlife Trusts’ nature conservation projects which offer outdoor volunteering opportunities and programmes that support people experiencing problems such as anxiety, stress or mild depression.The report draws on the conclusions of three years research which found that people participating in both sorts of outdoor nature conservation activities felt significantly better, both emotionally and physically, as a result. They needed, for example, fewer visits to GPs or felt more able to get back into work.

Simon says: “Before coming to MyPlace, I would close myself off from the world. They offered me encouragement, support and how to expand my social skills. MyPlace has made my transition back into life far easier and it’s helped my confidence and self-esteem. I thought my life was going to go one of three ways, I was either going to end up in a hospital, in a prison cell or on a slab. I did not imagine that I would be here, being able to offer what I do today.”

The new report – Social return on investment analysis of the health and wellbeing impacts of Wildlife Trust programmes – calculates the social return on investment for every £1 invested in the two types of project and found that they are excellent value.


New Mental Health First Aid Network within Forest Research

Communicative, open, and safe are three organisational values that we champion within Forest Research.  As part of our values, we have recently developed a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Network, and now have 21 trained Mental Health First Aiders spread across the UK.  This is a new initiative for us and is part of a wider approach to supporting the wellbeing of our staff, both physical and mental – keeping our staff safe and well.  It is also a recognition and willingness, as an organisation, to support open conversations on mental health, and to break down the barriers of any associated stigma in its many guises.

The aims of any first aid programme are to preserve life; to prevent deterioration; to promote recovery; and to provide comfort to someone who is ill, injured, or distressed.  Over the years, it has been shown that MHFA training also improves knowledge, reduces stigmatising attitudes, and increases first aid actions towards those who need it and we look forward to growing these benefits for our staff.

We are using the training of Mental Health First Aiders to complement our existing physical First Aid network and the wider mental health awareness sessions that we have been rolling out to our managers. 

Click through for details of the courses. 


1 in 10 homes built on land released from the Green Belt are ‘affordable’ CPRE

Only 1 in 10 homes built on land released from the Green Belt over the past decade are ‘affordable’ according to a new report: Space to Breathe, A State of the Green Belt Report,published today (Monday 14 October) by CPRE, the countryside charity.

Image: Liz ReynoldsImage: Liz Reynolds

The reports says that harmful development on the Green Belt, often in the guise of providing ‘affordable’ homes, is squandering this valuable asset at a time when it is needed for our own health and well-being, and to address the climate change crisis.

Key findings of Space to Breathe, A State of the Green Belt Report show that: 

  • In the past decade, only 1 in 10 new homes built on land released from the Green Belt are considered ‘affordable’, showing that building on the Green Belt is not the solution to the affordable housing crisis’;
  • This trend looks set to continue in the future as our research shows that there are proposals for a further 266,000 homes on undeveloped Green Belt land in advanced local plans, and only a third of these are likely to be classified as ‘affordable’ according to local policies3; and
  • Development on the Green Belt is inefficient and land hungry, with the average density of homes within the Green Belt just 14 dwellings per hectare, compared to an average of 31 outside these designated green areas.
  • CPRE’s recommendations include:
  • Better and existing solutions to fix the housing crisis such as building on brownfield sites;
  • Enhancement of the Green Belt so it is valued as much by local authorities, government and developers, as it is by local communities; and
  • Stronger evidence-based tests for planning proposals.

Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said: ‘Building homes on the Green Belt is not the answer to the housing crisis. Indeed, in terms of the Green Belt, it’s clear that we are reaching a tipping point. The increasing number of new homes proposed on the Green Belt has continued to rise since the report was first undertaken in 2012, despite the fact that these homes are not delivering promised affordable housing. We must not allow our Green Belt to be gobbled up, but instead focus on building affordable homes in which young struggling families can actually live.”

Read the report here


Birdsong to sweep the country - RSPB

Over five million people will hear soothing birdsong in over 5,000 unexpected locations

The RSPB and its supporters will be playing birdsong across the UK to millions of people on Thursday 17 October to highlight the declines in UK wildlife, as the public call on their Government to address climate change and the environment as its legacy for future generations.

Credit Tom Wren, SWNSFollowing May’s surprise UK top 20 chart hit, Let Nature Sing, a music track of pure birdsong, the charity is hoping to once again bring birdsong back into everyone’s life as a reminder of what we all stand to lose if the crisis facing nature is not addressed.

Credit Tom Wren, SWNS

New research from the RSPB revealed UK citizens aged 18-44 felt addressing climate change and the environment was the number one issue for today’s politicians looking to secure the long-term legacy of their Government. When respondents were asked to choose the top three issues, across all adults surveyed, climate change and the environment (38%) polled ahead of our future relationship with the EU (36%) as a long-term legacy issue for politicians to address, coming second just behind health (44%).

And more people are waking up to the crisis facing nature. When asked how they would describe the health of nature in the UK, almost six out of ten (59%) adults felt nature was not doing well or in crisis in the UK, with less than a quarter (24%) believing nature was doing well or thriving. When asked the same question in April 29% of people were confident that nature was doing well or thriving in the UK, with today’s stats highlighting the growing public understanding of the crisis facing nature.


Spending time in forests is crucial for both people and planet - Forestry England

We’re mid-way through October and it’s becoming increasingly tempting to put the kettle on and retreat under the covers. But new research has suggested that the amount of time we spend indoors is affecting our health – which in turn is impacting the planet.
A new survey commissioned by the Forestry Commission has found that more than two thirds of people (68%) in the UK think they spend too much time inside between October and March. Almost four in five people (79%) who agreed they didn’t go outside enough said, they regretted it.
Studies have shown how exercising in forests provides a distraction from fatigue, making physical activity feel easier and more enjoyable, keeping people active for longer, and increasing their satisfaction compared to working out indoors. In addition, being among trees helps to reduce stress, improves mood, and reduces the possibility of poor mental health.
Research has also revealed that outdoor pursuits in natural settings can help people feel more connected to the natural world. Not only does this benefit individual wellbeing, it has been shown to encourage pro-environmental behaviour. Spending time outdoors is a win-win for people and planet.


Designs of iconic new wildlife and birdwatching facility for Greater London's largest park are revealed - Lee Valley Regional Park

 Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is excited to unveil the designs for a brand new, state-of-the-art wildlife and birdwatching hub in the heart of Greater London’s largest park, set to open to the public in June 2020. The project will also incorporate environmental improvements for some of the park’s priority species, including the creation of a Kingfisher nest bank and enhancements to the lake’s existing reedbed which is the natural habitat for Bitterns.

 Bittern (image: Brenda Chanter & Mark Braun / Lee Valley)Designs for a new state-of-the-art bird and wildlife development in Lee Valley Regional Park, just north of London on the Hertfordshire Essex border, were unveiled today (Friday 25 October 2019).

 Bittern (image: Brenda Chanter & Mark Braun / Lee Valley)

The new venue, with a five metre viewing tower, will replace the 30-year-old Bittern Information Point at Fishers Green, near Waltham Abbey in Essex, which is nearing the end of its operational life. Overlooking Seventy Acres Lake, the current bird hide is one of the best places in the country to see the wintering Bittern, alongside other native species including Common Tern and Kingfisher.

Set to open to the public in June 2020, the fully accessible hide and information point will include a two-tier viewing area at ground level with a separate wildlife information room. Complete with a CCTV system and live nest box camera footage, it will provide visitors of all ages with undisturbed, close-up access to the lake’s wildlife.  

The venue will also offer far-reaching, 360 degree views of the surrounding area from a five metre viewing tower. Design works are currently underway for the plans to include a bespoke wetland habitat ‘living’ roof. Equipped with ramps and a lift, this new centre and is expected to become one of the most popular wildlife spotting areas in the 26-mile-long Lee Valley Regional Park which stretches from the Thames to Hertfordshire. 

The project will also involve habitat improvements for some of the park’s priority species, including the creation of a Kingfisher nest bank and enhancements to the lake’s existing reedbed.


ZSL London Zoo pledges 100,000 subsidised tickets to ensure accessible for all - ZSL  

ZSL London Zoo is pledging 100,000 subsidised tickets to ensure the Zoo is accessible to all – helping people who currently face barriers to visiting, the opportunity to connect with wildlife.

Along with the subsidised tickets, the Zoo will be looking at other ways to improve accessibility, making sure a day out at ZSL London Zoo is accessible to people with all needs and abilities. The Community Access Scheme is being delivered in conjunction with the Snowdon Aviary restoration project supported by National Lottery players through £4.5m funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Zoo will also be working with local people and specialist organisations to hear from visitors first-hand on how to make positive changes to ensure every visitor has a wonderful day out.

Charities, community-interest companies and groups working with older people, people with additional needs and disabilities and low-income families in Camden and Westminster will be able to apply for an allocation of tickets for their members from today (Friday 25 October) until 2023.

Kathryn England, Chief Operating Officer at ZSL London Zoo said: “Everybody should have the chance to experience the unique learning opportunity Zoos have to offer, getting up-close with animals, and feeling that little bit closer to the natural world. Through our local Community Access Scheme supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund – we’ve realised there’s several underrepresented groups in society that currently feel unable to come to the zoo because of a number of barriers, but we want to change that."


Cross-party MP report hails health & wellbeing benefits of London’s Green Belt - CPRE

A new report by a cross-party Parliamentary group shows that London’s Metropolitan Green Belt not only protects against urban sprawl but also provides vital countryside on our doorstep for health and well-being benefits, including:

  • 26, 267 hectares of Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • 5,400 hectares of local nature reserves; 
  • 44% of London’s Wildlife Trust sites; 
  • 10,000km of public rights of way for use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders; and 
  • An area of which one quarter (24%) is designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty;

A new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London’s Green Belt shows that the London Metropolitan Green Belt (LMGB) not only protects against urban sprawl, it’s also the ‘countryside on our doorstep’, containing much of the capital’s natural reserves and wildlife, which is vital for Londoners to spend time in for their health and well-being.

Findings highlight the value of ‘green-prescribing’ and the positive impact of the Green Belt on people’s mental health, physical well-being, local food production, and the capital’s ability to address the climate emergency, such as supporting the target’s set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

However, despite these benefits, research also shows that the purpose of London’s Green Belt is under threat from new housing development

Access the report from here.


Volunteering and Environmental Education.
Minister Launches Cairngorms Youth Action Team – Cairngorms National Park Authority

Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment officially launched the Cairngorms Youth Action Team on Monday 7 October at the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) offices in Grantown on Spey.

Cairngorms Youth Action is an empowering and inspiring platform for young people to engage with the natural and cultural heritage of our local rural communities.  The Cairngorms Youth Action Team will be the youth voice of the platform and will enable young people to tackle issues and create positive change across the Cairngorms National Park.

The launch is the culmination of two years work.  Last year the Youth Manifesto was created which voiced some of the hopes and fears that young people have for the future of their communities. The CNPA pledged to set up this Youth Action Team to ensure that the views of the next generation are listened to on matters which concern them.

Ms Gougeon spent time with some of the young people who have been instrumental in forming the Team, she said: “It is vital that Scotland’s young people are listened to and included in decisions that affect their future, and the Cairngorms Youth Action project will do just that: empowering young people to play a strong role in creating a sustainable future for the Cairngorms – a vital piece of our natural heritage. I was involved at the start when the Youth Manifesto was launched last year and I am delighted to launch the Cairngorms Youth Action Team. I have been impressed with the energy and commitment of the young people I have met today and would encourage any 14-26 year old who cares about the future of the National Park to apply to join the Team”


Funding of £20,000 has been announced for projects to engage young people with nature at an event to celebrate Scotland’s Youth Biodiversity Panel - Scottish Natural Heritage 

The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) Future Routes Fund is aimed at those aged 11-26 and supports young people to connect with nature and make a positive impact on the environment in Scotland.

Future Routes aims to help young people improve their local environment, increase their knowledge and understanding of Scottish biodiversity and provide more opportunities to connect with nature. 

The ReRoute panel with SNH staff (©Young Scot)The ReRoute panel with SNH staff (©Young Scot)

A partnership with Young Scot, the fund is designed and delivered by the Youth Biodiversity Panel, ReRoute.

The latest round was announced at an event in Edinburgh to celebrate the achievements of ReRoute over the last year.

The group of young people aged 14 – 24 from across Scotland have volunteered more than 1,000 hours over the past 12 months.

Following the publication of ReRoute’s first report in 2018, the panel has been working with SNH to take forward its recommendations on environmental volunteering and jobs; outdoor learning and environmental education; junior rangers and kit libraries and urban nature parks.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “Young people always tell us that they want a bigger say in the decisions that affect their lives, and that’s why projects such as ReRoute are so important. It’s fantastic to see the young people working in partnership with staff from Scottish Natural Heritage to implement their ideas. This partnership will help to ensure that the panellists’ friends and peers engage more with Scotland’s stunning natural environment.” 


Children get to learn “Moor” as pioneering project boosted by £37k BASC legacy funding - British Association for Shooting and Conservation 

The future of the pioneering upland education initiative Let’s Learn Moor has been secured and strengthened by a grant from the UK’s largest shooting organisation.

Building on the first three successful years, the £37,000 legacy funding from the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) will enable the initiative to continue to grow over the next three years and achieve its ambitious educational aims.

Let’s Learn Moor is a multi-partnership free education experience for school children in upland areas.

This summer the initiative welcomed 1,400 children to seven moorland locations in the north of England. They were introduced to and educated by more than 30 partner organisations including conservation groups, national park and AONB authorities and local produce businesses, water utility companies, the emergency services and farmers.

All of the events were hosted on grouse moors with gamekeepers and regional moorland groups acting as coordinators and one of the key attractions. Events were held at locations across Yorkshire, Lancashire, the Peak District and the northern Pennines.

At its heart, the project aims to show children the variety of wildlife on our uplands and the importance of creating a balanced and healthy moorland for future generations. The funding will allow phase two of the initiative to begin, creating further opportunities to allow local organisations to engage and educate children.


New research competition challenges 11-19 year olds to help save the UK’s bumblebees – Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Volunteers gather vital data about bumblebees on a BeeWalk survey (Bumblebee Conservation Trust)School and college students across the UK are being challenged to generate new scientific discoveries that could be used to help protect the country’s struggling bumblebees, though a competition being run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Volunteers gather vital data about bumblebees on a BeeWalk survey (Bumblebee Conservation Trust)

As part of the conservation charity’s Big BeeWalk Data Research Competition – which runs from 5 November 2019 to 7 February 2020 – hundreds of thousands of bumblebee records gathered over the past decade are being made available to students for the first time.

Those taking part will have access to the records of almost 400,000 bumblebees, gathered since 2010 through the Trust’s BeeWalk national recording scheme. This citizen science survey – in which volunteers identify and count bumblebees they see while walking the same route monthly from March to October – builds a national picture of bumblebee health, and provides early warning of declines.

The vast set of BeeWalk data includes information on different bumblebee species and factors such as the weather, location, habitat type, and time of day of sightings – allowing a huge range of new and different research questions to be analysed, from how temperature affects bumblebee behaviour to how availability of specific plants can increase bumblebee numbers.

“By drawing on our unique BeeWalk data and using fresh thinking to design their own innovative research projects, students will be able to get involved in real-life science and develop skills desirable to universities – while potentially producing findings that could be used to boost practical conservation action to help bumblebees,” said Andy Benson, Education Officer at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.


(image: The Wildlife Trust)New report shows how nature nurtures children - The Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts call for every child to have a daily one-hour nature boost

The Wildlife Trusts commissioned a study by the Institute of Education at UCL to evaluate the impact that experiencing nature has upon children. The study focused on over 450 primary school children and the effects of Wildlife Trust-led activities on their wellbeing. This is one of the largest studies into the effects of outdoor activities on children’s wellbeing and views about nature.

Overall, the research revealed that children’s wellbeing increased after they had spent time connecting with nature: the children showed an increase in their personal wellbeing and health over time, and they showed an increase in nature connection and demonstrated high levels of enjoyment.

The children also gained educational benefits as well as wider personal and social benefits:

  • 90% of children felt they learned something new about the natural world
  • 79% felt that their experience could help their school work
  • After their activities 84% of children felt that they were capable of doing new things when they tried
  • 79% of children reported feeling more confident in themselves
  • 81% agreed that they had better relationships with their teachers
  • 79% reported better relationships with their class-mates


One of the UK’s largest youth-led environmental programmes is calling young people to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day this Thursday - Our Bright Future

Our Bright Future, a partnership of 31 projects across the UK, is calling young people to spend an hour of their school day outdoors, this Thursday (7 November), in order to improve wellbeing and engage with nature.

  • three-quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates
  • children from families with lower incomes tend to have fewer opportunities to engage with nature than children from families with a higher income. This makes their need for improved access to nature through the school curriculum significantly greater
  • studies have shown that increasing time spent outdoors reduces children’s infectious diseases (colds, sore throats etc) by 80%
  • youth led environmental programme, Our Bright Future, is calling on young people to take part in Outdoor Classroom Day

Following consultation with 300 young people from across the programme, Our Bright Future found that 11-24 year olds wanted to campaign for more time spent learning in and about nature. To make this a reality the programme is calling on policy makers to produce guidance to schools stating that at least an hour of lesson time per day should be spent outdoors.


Employment and careers.

2019 Arboriculture and Horticulture Results Published - Arboricultural Association

The results of the Arboriculture sector skills survey carried out in Spring 2019 have now been published. The new report provides evidence of many long-term issues facing the sector.

The survey found that most Arboricultural businesses expect environmental opportunities and Health & Safety to be the main driver of change within the industry, as well as shortages of skills, particularly at technical and supervisor level, and access to labour which many within the sector are already experiencing. 

The key results include:

  • Arboriculture is facing a skills shortage. Primarily in skilled professional and technical occupations and supervisory positions. Recruits to the sector often lack basic skills.
  • Growth is being restrained by the availability of skilled staff
  • There is low take up of apprenticeship schemes by the industry
  • Most Arboricultural businesses, being micro or small sized, do not understand apprenticeship offerings nor the available apprenticeship funding.
  • Environmental Awareness and Soft Skills are cl early identified as key training areas going forward.
  • There is a lack of appropriate training provision and a lack of signposting to existing training provision.

Skills and Labour Issues Highlighted

  • Skills and labour issues are of key concern for the entire sector in the near to medium term. There are significant skills issues (skills gaps and shortages) which were highlighted by the sector through the survey and workshops and which need to be addressed for both the sector as a whole and for specific sub-sectors.
  • Arboriculture-skills shortages
  • There is an overall shortage of apprentices in the industry. Recruiting apprentices is relatively easy, their retention proves more difficult. This may be related to little awareness of the true nature of the profession and its physical demands. Aspiring candidates seem to be aware of exciting Arb features like climbing, but underestimate the physical demands and menial tasks involved. Work ethics and behaviours are also issues.
  • Knowledge of the sector and the knowledge of trees should be promoted in schools and teachers should be engaged as well. Horticulture skills should be included in career days. The pathways and career progression routes and a pride in the profession also should be promoted.

Read the Arboriculture subsector report (pdf)  


Land and Countryside Management.

Rare plant blooms on Cornish Urban Buzz site – Buglife

Nature conservationists are surprised and excited by the unexpected appearance of a rare plant in parks in Falmouth and St Austell.  The Small-flowered catchfly is an endangered plant in the UK, and to find it in a park is very unusual.

Last year, Buglife’s Urban Buzz project, funded by Biffa Award and the Eden Project, worked with local councils and communities to create new wildflower-rich habitats for pollinating insects across Falmouth, Truro, Wadebridge and St Austell.

As part of Urban Buzz, several new wildflower meadows were created in each town, and they are just starting to flower for the first time. Upon surveying the Falmouth meadows, Buglife volunteer Charlotte Rankin and Kevin Thomas from Falmouth Nature discovered the rare and endangered plant, Small-flowered Catchfly.

Charlotte said “Discovering Small-flowered Catchfly at two Urban Buzz sites in Falmouth was greatly exciting! This arable plant is a rare sight to see both in Cornwall and nationally, so I certainly wasn’t expecting to see it in an urban setting on my doorstep. As its name suggests, it is a really small plant and easily overlooked, so it was only when I knelt down to photograph a visiting pollinator that I discovered it amongst the meadow’s annuals. When visiting the other Urban Buzz meadows in Falmouth, I kept my eyes peeled and to my delight, another was found! It’s amazing what species can be discovered when they are given a chance."


New report shows pilot scheme farmers boost environment outcomes - Defra

Farmers and land managers in a “Payment by Results” pilot are more motivated to succeed, delivering “exceptional results” for the environment.

The first major assessment of a “Payment by Results” pilot has shown the project is boosting local wildlife and motivating farmers to develop nature-friendly practices.

Unlike the prescriptive approach of the current national agri-environment schemes – which pay a flat rate for actions taken rather than results achieved – the 34 farmers taking part in the Payment by Results pilot have had the freedom to choose how they manage their land to enhance the environment.

A new report published today by project partners Natural England and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority shows these farmers have recorded 43% increased score for number and diversity of seed bearing plants than nearby sites under conventional funding schemes – providing a rich food source for farmland birds during the winter months.

The trial areas for species-rich meadows also recorded a greater number of important plant species, such as pignut and eyebright, benefitting bumblebees, butterflies and birds. Participating farmers have also reported they felt more motivated to manage their land in a way that enhances the environment.

The report concludes the result-based approach has “considerable potential” for the design of the future Environmental Land Management scheme – the government’s future vision for farming outside the EU.


Partnership wins National Lottery support to help protect chalk grassland - South Downs National Park Authority

(image: South Downs National Park Authority)A partnership of 10 organisations has received initial National Lottery support for the Changing Chalk project. Made possible by National Lottery players, the partnership will work with local communities and landowners to connect people with nature and address challenges facing the Sussex Downs to protect this fragile chalk grassland landscape for future generations.

(image: South Downs National Park Authority)

Development funding of £138,300 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund  to help the Changing Chalk partnership progress their plans to apply for a full National Lottery grant of £2,234,600 in 2021.

Changing Chalk is focused on the chalk grassland landscape of the Sussex Downs and the communities of the coastal urban fringe of Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and Lewes. This distinctive landscape has 746,000 people living within the perimeter, it is one of the most densely populated coastal areas in Northern Europe bordering the fragile chalk grassland.

The majority of the 392sq/km2 project area falls within the South Downs National Park, which was designated for the nation in 2009. Chalk grassland and its abundance of wildlife, including an array of rare butterflies, were a key part of the designation.


Cranborne Chase AONB becomes an International Dark Sky Reserve

Cranborne Chase becomes the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the country to be designated in its entirety as an International Dark-Sky Reserve

Chasing Stars logo: Cranborne Chase AONB Dark Skies ReserveCranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), one of the UK’s finest landscapes, has today (18th October 2019) been formally designated an International Dark-Sky Reserve (IDSR) by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) based in Tucson, USA.

Cranborne Chase AONB becomes the 14th Reserve across the globe, and joins an exclusive club of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Protected Areas to gain international recognition for its dark skies.

“Some people are lucky enough to recognise ‘the Plough’, but for others, seeing stars and their constellations is often impossible because of light pollution. Here in Cranborne Chase we can see the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy, if the clouds allow!” said Linda Nunn, Director of Cranborne Chase AONB.

Adam Dalton, International Dark-Sky Places Program Manager at the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), said: “Cranborne Chase has the largest central area of darkness of any International Dark-Sky Reserve in the UK. It is a huge area of land at almost 1000 sq kms, and less than 2 hours from London and Bristol. For those living and visiting this beautiful area, this is something to be celebrated and enjoyed.” 


New B-lines to put the buzz back into Cornwall - Buglife

Bombus terrestris on Kelsey Head (c) Will HawkesAn ambitious new plan for helping our bees, butterflies, hoverflies and other pollinating insects is being launched today by Buglife, University of Exeter and Cornwall Council.

Bombus terrestris on Kelsey Head (c) Will Hawkes

Cornwall B-Lines will create rivers of wildflowers across the countryside connecting the county’s best wildlife sites from coast to coast, and from our towns to the countryside.

Buglife, University of Exeter and Cornwall Council have worked with partners to map out a network of potential wildflower habitat – B-Lines, and are now inviting farmers, landowners and the public to get involved in creating new pollinator habitat, and practically restoring wildflower-rich areas. 

Bees and other pollinators are disappearing from our countryside because of a lack of wildflower-rich habitats.  Three million hectares, 97%, of the UK’s wildflower-rich grasslands have been lost since the 1930s.  Creating B-Lines will help wildlife move across our countryside, saving threatened species and making sure that there are plenty of pollinators out there to help us grow crops and pollinate wildflowers.

Andrew Whitehouse from Buglife said “Our pollinating insects are in trouble.  In recent years it has become apparent that pollinator populations are fragile and if not cared for they can become damaged, depleted and cease to function.  But all is not lost.  We can fix this!  We have an opportunity to turn the tide, by putting wildflowers back into our Cornish countryside and towns, by creating B-Lines, we can put the buzz back into our countryside. With the B-Lines map we have an opportunity to make a big difference for wildlife.  If you have land which you are interested in restoring to wildflower-rich grassland, or if you would like to get involved in other ways, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.”


Environment Agency launches future of rivers consultation - Environment Agency

Safeguarding our water environment: Environment Agency launches consultation on future of rivers

Challenges and Choices consultation to seek input from members of the public, businesses and environmental organisations

Consultation to run for six months, seeking views on how river basin districts will be managed from 2021

Challenges covered include dry weather, climate change, pollution in our waters and invasive non-native species

Residents and organisations invited to give views on future management of our water environments.

The Environment Agency has invited the public to share their views and ideas on the future of our water environment and rivers through its ‘Challenges and Choices’ consultation, launched today (Thursday 24 October).

Members of the public, businesses and environmental organisations are being urged to give their views on how water in the eight river basin districts will be managed and looked after from 2021 onwards.

The current river basin management plans were published in February 2016. Each river basin district has its own plan, which is now being updated to provide a framework for improvements from 2021.

The water environment is a precious resource that must be preserved for the future prosperity of wildlife, people and business. We have already lost 90 per cent of the UK’s wetland habitats in the last 100 years and urgent action is needed to ensure we can protect what is left.

Better, faster ways to encourage greater investment in our water environment must be developed if we are to reverse the damage caused to these precious habitats.


‘Citizens’ army’ needed to tackle biosecurity risk from invasive non-native species - Environmental Audit Committee, Commons Select Committee

The Environmental Audit Committee calls for a ‘citizens’ army’ to tackle the growing threat from invasive species, estimated to cost Britain’s economy £1.8 billion a year.

MPs are calling for a ‘citizens’ army’ to tackle the growing threat from invasive species, estimated to cost Britain’s economy £1.8 billion a year. Trained volunteers would help identify and respond to biosecurity outbreaks, modelled on a system developed in New Zealand.

The report found that urgent action is needed to slow the rate of arrival of invasive species and prevent them becoming established. It estimates that around 40 non-native species will become invasive within 20 years.

MPs conclude that the Government has missed its legal targets on tackling invasive species and has failed to give it the same priority and funding as animal and plant health regimes. Current funding for biosecurity in Great Britain is estimated at £220 million a year however invasive species receive less than one per cent of that sum (£0.9m).

The term Invasive non-native species (INNS) describes those species that have been directly moved as a result of human activity.

The report calls on the Government to:

  • Train a ‘biosecurity citizens’ army’ of 1.3 million volunteers to identify and respond to outbreaks of invasive species
  • Establish a dedicated border force by 2020 to improve biosecurity at UK borders
  • Ban imports of problem species before they present a risk to the UK
  • Set up a rapid response emergency fund to enable agencies to tackle a threat before it becomes out of control
  • Increase funding to Non-Native Species Secretariat to £3 million a year
  • Include invasive pathogens in next Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy

Further information:

Read the report summary

Read the report conclusions and recommendations

Read the full report: Invasive species


Response : Resounding support for tripling UK budget for defences against ‘nature invaders’ - Wildlife and Countryside Link

Charities across the conservation, wildlife, environment and recreation sectors, coordinated by Wildlife and Countryside Link, are overwhelmingly backing the hugely welcome calls to strengthen our defences against invasive plant and animal species, in a new report from the Environmental Audit Committee today (Fri 25 Oct).

This report is particularly timely as the risk of invasive species is set to soar given the increase in new trade routes that is likely to result from Brexit and climate change making the UK more hospitable to a wider range of invasive species. Currently invasive species cost the UK economy at least £2bn per year, and invasives are classed as one of the top 5 risks to nature and a critical driver of our declining biodiversity. Yet measures to protect and manage the risks from invasive species make up just 0.4% of the UK spend on biosecurity, totalling 0.9 million per year.

Dr Paul Walton, Head of Habitats and Species, RSPB: ‘We strongly support the Committee’s calls for a drastic step change of our approach in tackling the threat of invasive species. The multi-billion pound cost to the economy from damage by invasive species is set to soar in the next decade as new species arrive on our shores from expanded trade and climate change improves conditions for them to establish. Prevention is always better than cure, yet the budget for our first lines of invasive defence is relatively miniscule. We urge the Government to announce the extra-funding needed in the forth-coming Budget and Spending Review.’  

Zoe Davies, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Wildlife and Countryside Link examines why EAC are right to criticise Government’s consistent under investment in, and consequent failure to tackle, this major environmental threat. Stark figures show that while invasive species control gets just 0.4% (£0.9m) of the biosecurity budget, we are letting in more than three times more listed species than all other areas of biosecurity combined. These plant and animal species are driving native wildlife to the brink and costing our economy £2bn a year. Treasury needs to treat invasive species like the ticking ecological time bomb they really are and triple funding to £3billion per year.



Councils introduce PSPOs to protect moorland, wildlife and property - Oldham Council

Oldham and Tameside Councils have banned fires and barbecues on the moors above the local authorities.

Two Public Spaces Protections Orders (PSPOs) will be put in place from Friday to protect huge swathes of land – and wildlife – following a number of devastating fires over the last few years.

The orders come into force in time for the Bonfire period – traditionally one of the busiest times for the emergency services due to the number of fires and fireworks being set off.

We've introduced the orders following a consultation. We asked residents and interested parties and stakeholders, such as Unirted Utilities (UU) and the RSPB, for their views on the PSPOs and a large majority supported the proposals.

From November 1 anyone found lighting a fire, barbecue, or other objects such as fireworks and sky lanterns, will be given a fixed penalty notice of £100, or face prosecution.

Failure to pay any fixed penalty amount could also lead to prosecution.

There are exemptions for private residential areas but any land that has a public right of way or public access is included in the PSPOs.

Signage will now be put in place around the designated area to advertise the PSPOs, which are in place for three years.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Social Justice and Communities, said: “Our moorland is some of the most beautiful countryside in England and must be protected".


Arboriculture, Woodland and Trees

Woodland Trust welcomes doubling of funding for new woodland creation in Wales 

The Woodland Trust (Coed Cadw), the UK’s largest woodland conservation charity has welcomed the doubling of the funds available for new woodland creation in Wales and is encouraging farmers to take up this opportunity. 

The Welsh Government has doubled the funding for current window of Glastir Woodland Creation.The Welsh Government has doubled the funding for current window of Glastir Woodland Creation.

Credit: Eric Porter/WTML

Sharon Thomas, the Woodland Trust’s woodland outreach manager for Wales says: “This is a great opportunity for farmers in Wales. I strongly welcome the increase in funding and hope that these grants can be delivered without unnecessary bureaucracy.

"Native trees can offer us so many benefits, reducing flood risk, improving water quality, improving biosecurity and providing superb habitats for wildlife, as well as a renewable source of valuable timber. At a time when, sadly, there is huge uncertainty around farming in Wales, the Glastir Woodland Creation scheme offers a great opportunity to farmers and other landowners to make use of all of their land in ways that are sustainable both economically and environmentally. 


Extra 20,000 trees for Highland nature reserve – Scottish Natural Heritage

Scots pines at Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve ©Lorne Gill SNHAn additional 20,000 trees will be planted in and around Beinn Eighe next year as part of work to expand native woodlands on some of Scotland’s finest National Nature Reserves (NNRs).

Scots pines at Beinn Eighe National Nature Reserve ©Lorne Gill SNH

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) made the commitment at the start of Climate Week to build on a long-running tree planting programme at the Wester Ross reserve.

Woodland expansion is part of the solution to the climate emergency, helping to increase biodiversity, conserve Scottish species and help our society and economy adapt to climate change, for example by reducing potential for flooding and reducing the effects of heatwaves.

Beinn Eighe with its stunning ancient Caledonian pine forest was designated as the UK’s first NNR in 1951.

Since its establishment, some 800,000 trees have been planted at the reserve. Most have been Scots pine as well as additional broadleaf species such as birch, aspen, holly, rowan and oak.

The tree planting is designed to supplement wider management work to encourage natural regeneration at Beinn Eighe NNR and also at Creag Meagaidh NNR in the Highlands, which allows the woodlands to expand by natural ecological processes in the presence of wild deer.

Meanwhile Rum NNR marked one million trees planted back in 1997, with the full benefit of these trees now beginning to be realised, including the building up of natural seed sources around the reserve.

The precious native woodlands in SNH’s nature reserves capture more than 30,000 tonnes of ‘greenhouse gases’ annually in total.  This is the equivalent of removing around 10,000 vehicles from the roads every year.

The economic value of this carbon sequestration was estimated to be around £2.2 million in 2017.

Stuart MacQuarrie, SNH Head of Nature Reserves, said: “Beinn Eighe is renowned for its beautiful ancient pinewoods and we have long managed the reserve to expand and enhance this special woodland. Planting a further 20,000 native trees will help increase the nature reserve’s biodiversity, restore habitats to healthy ecosystems and provide greater resilience against the effects of climate change.”


Liverpool’s Allerton Oak crowned England’s Tree of the Year - Woodland Trust

Allerton Oak - Credit Jill Jennings Woodland TrustLiverpool’s lofty Allerton Oak has been crowned England’s Tree of the Year.

Allerton Oak - Credit Jill Jennings Woodland Trust

The tree, which stands in the city’s Calderstones Park and was once home to a medieval court, received an impressive 34% of more than 11,000 votes cast in the Woodland Trust’s annual competition, and will now represent the UK in the European Tree of the Year contest which begins in February 2020.

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning at the Woodland Trust said:

“The Allerton Oak is a spectacular example of a city tree. It has stood in Calderstones Park for centuries and has an intriguing story. Trees are an important part of the urban landscape helping to make our towns and cities better places to live. We are keen to increase understanding of their value and promote their protection. We are currently working with partners to help increase tree cover in the city and make Liverpool a greener place to live.”

The Colchester Castle Sycamore, which grows on top of the mighty Essex stronghold, came second while the mythical Dragon Tree on the Isle of Wight was a close third.


Funding, Awards and Prizes.  

logo: Canal and River TrustOur featured charity Canal and Rover Trust announced the Living Waterways Awards 2019

The winners of the 2019 Living Waterways Awards, were announced at a gala ceremony in Birmingham on 10 October 2019.

The winners of Canal & River Trust’s 2019 Living Waterways Awards were announced at a gala ceremony in Birmingham last night (10 October 2019). 

The Living Waterways Awards, sponsored by Kier, Amco Giffen, Arcadis, CPC Civils, Fountains, Land & Water and Vinci, recognise the most exciting and inspiring waterway-based improvement projects across the UK.   

Sue Wilkinson, Canal & River Trust trustee and chair of the Award’s assessment panel, explains: “Canal & River Trust is once again proud to announce the winners of our annual national Living Waterways Awards. These awards give us the opportunity to celebrate the tireless efforts of those who are helping to transform the nation’s rivers, canals, lochs, lakes, and reservoirs, making life better for millions of people across the UK.” 

A rigorous assessment process saw the expert judges travel across England, Wales and Scotland before selecting the finalists for the 2019 Living Waterways Awards.

Click through for video reports and interviews with the winners. 


The British people have spoken – and voted for their ten favourite UK parks - Green Flag Award

More than 45,000 votes were cast as the nation picks the best of British. Today Green Flag Award is announcing the winners of the UK 2019 People’s Choice vote.

With more than 1,800 sites to choose from – all of which meet the standards demanded by the international Green Flag Award programme – the public have chosen their ten favourites.

Included in this year’s list of winners for the first time are Valentines Park, managed by Vision Redbridge, and Hollycroft Park, managed by Hinckley and Bosworth Council

Paul Todd, Green Flag Award manager for Keep Britain Tidy, said: “We know that parks matter to people and that receiving a Green Flag Award brings a real sense of achievement and pride to staff, volunteers and the community. The number of people that took the time to vote for their favourite park is testament to how much these spaces are valued and we congratulate this year’s top ten.”

The ten winners of the 2019 UK People’s Choice Award are (in alphabetical order): 

Clifton Park

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Elsecar Park and Local Reservoir Nature Reserve

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Harlow Town Park

Harlow District Council

Hollycroft Park

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Strathaven Park

South Lanarkshire Council

University of Essex Wivenhoe Park

University of Essex

Valentines Park

Vision Redbridge

Victoria Park (Tower Hamlets)

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Victoria Park (Widnes)

Halton Metropolitan Borough Council

Warley Woods

Warley Woods Community Trust


Forty-four projects from across Scotland have been shortlisted for the eighth Nature of Scotland Awards, hosted by RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage - RSPB

The shortlist of nominees up for this year’s Nature of Scotland Awards were announced yesterday at a reception at the Scottish Parliament, hosted by Emma Harper MSP and sponsored by The Botanist.

This is the eighth year of this prestigious nature awards, and trophies will be presented in December.

A record number of projects were nominated for their achievements in the natural world all over Scotland.

There are nine different categories, and 44 entries have been shortlisted representing people, projects, and community groups across Scotland, from Shetland to South Lanarkshire, Aberdeen to Stirling, with the youngest nominees still at school. All those shortlisted are invited to the awards ceremony later this year.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 4 December in Edinburgh, at a black-tie presentation dinner, which this year is hosted by Scottish wildlife presenter and natural history filmmaker Gordon Buchanan, and BBC Scotland radio and TV presenter, and wildlife expert, Euan McIlwraith. The dinner will be held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh.


Rural businesses to benefit from £35m government fund - defra

Grants of up to £750,000 available to rural firms to boost productivity and create local jobs

Rural businesses across the country are set to benefit from a guaranteed £35 million in government funding to create new jobs, boost tourism, and unlock growth in rural areas. This figure could be increased to £50 million if there are enough high-quality applications.

The government’s Growth Programme, which opens for expressions of interest on Monday 4 November, provides grants for rural start-ups and businesses to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and machinery to grow their business or open up opportunities for tourism.

The scheme has already granted £99 million to 546 local businesses across England, creating 3,771 new jobs in rural areas.

Paul Caldwell, Chief Executive of the Rural Payments Agency, said: "The Growth Programme provides funding to the 98% of the rural economy in England that isn’t directly engaged in farming. From heritage railways to creameries and vineyards, small and micro-businesses have benefited from the investment available under the Growth Programme in recent years.  We are looking to support applications from businesses with ambitious plans to grow their business and provide wider benefits to their local community. I would urge all interested applicants to submit their expressions of interest as soon as possible to ensure they have plenty of time to complete a full application if their project is assessed to be eligible."


Government launches new scheme to boost tree-planting - defra & Forestry Commission

£50 million Woodland Carbon Guarantee scheme will encourage farmers and landowners to plant more trees and help to tackle climate change  The government today (Monday 4 November) launched a £50 million scheme to help boost tree-planting rates.

The new Woodland Carbon Guarantee will encourage farmers and landowners to plant more trees and create new woodland in return for payments as those trees grow.  It gives land managers in England the long-term financial income they need to invest in carbon sequestration - the process by which trees lock up and store carbon from the atmosphere.  Successful participants will be offered the option to sell Woodland Carbon Units to the government over 35 years at a guaranteed price set by auction, providing new income for land managers who help businesses compensate for their carbon emissions.

Trees are a precious natural asset and, as a natural carbon sink, are a vital part of the fight against climate change. Woodlands and forests will play an important role in the UK’s efforts to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050, which is why the government is committed to planting 11 million trees by 2022. Funding for this scheme was announced by HM Treasury in the 2018 Autumn Budget.  By planting more trees and creating new woodland, land managers also provide a range of other ecosystem benefits such as preventing flood risk, soil conservation and boosting biodiversity.


Over 700,000 free trees for communities – Woodland Trust

Nearly three quarters of a million trees are winging their way across the UK as part of the Woodland Trust’s Big Climate Fightback.

Almost 4,000 schools and community groups will be taking delivery of the free saplings over the next two weeks, and while each group has its own reasons for planting, every tree will count towards the Trust’s campaign to help tackle climate change.

The Big Climate Fightback aims to get more than a million people to pledge to plant a tree on the run up to a mass day of planting across the UK on November 30. Everyone that applied for a tree pack will be added to the list of pledges.

John Tucker, director of woodland outreach at the Woodland Trust said: “Tree planting has never been higher on the social and political agenda. From school children to MPs, people are waking up to the message that trees are a big part of the solution to tackling climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, as well as filtering out other harmful pollutants from the air that we all breathe. Quite simply we need more of them. The government has committed to act on the Committee on Climate Change recommendations and legislate for net zero emissions by 2050. To do this we need to plant 50 million trees each year. The Woodland Trust is pleased to be sending out this huge number of trees to schools and community groups that are eager to get planting and be part of the Big Climate Fightback.”


And finally there's £100,000 on offer for three charities, all they need is your vote:

Vote now to help us receive £100k say - Bat Conservation Trust

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Animal Friends Pet Insurance, last year they donated a massive £100,000 to the charity StreetVets.

In December 2018, the public voted for StreetVets, who deliver free veterinary care to the homeless and their dogs from a short list of three animal charities. The award-winning practice currently provides assistance in 15 areas of the UK.

This year we are excited that we are through to the public round of voting in the Animal Friends £100K giveaway. We are up against Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Four Paws – both worthy charities but we love BATS! Thank you to everyone who helped to get us selected as one of the three finalists who could potentially win a £100K donation from Animal Friends Pet Insurance.

 Also through to the final three are Whale and Dolphin Conservation: We’re through to the final for the ‘100k Giveaway’ 

Because of our incredible supporters, we’ve made it through to the grand final of the Animal Friends Pet Insurance ‘£100k giveaway’. We’re in with a real chance of securing a game-changing donation that could genuinely make all the difference in our fight to end captivity.

To vote for any of the three chosen charities click here.

Voting closes on 24 November.


Sustainability, Pollution and Climate Change.

Exmoor National Park Declares Climate Emergency

Exmoor National Park Authority Members this week declared a climate emergency and agreed to work towards being a carbon neutral Authority by 2030, subject to a detailed action plan now being drawn up. 

Members also agreed to sign up to the Devon Climate Declaration, alongside 25 other organisations, and to join forces with both Devon and Somerset County Councils to produce carbon plans covering the National Park to meet or exceed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) targets.

The report to Members noted the 30% reduction in carbon emissions that Exmoor National Park Authority had already made since it started monitoring its carbon footprint across all its corporate assets in 2008. The measures taken include action to improve energy efficiency within Authority owned buildings and install renewable energy along with a scheme to facilitate installation of 73 new renewable energy systems in local communities, farms and houses across Exmoor.

The Authority has also taken steps to respond through management of its own estate, particularly the woodlands which are managed in-house, and collaboration with other foresters and land owners to support positive woodland planting and management. 


Action on plastics – Scottish Government

Cotton bud ban comes into force.

Scotland has become the first country in the UK to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds.

This is the latest step being taken to reduce reliance on single-use products and protect our natural environment.

Further action is already planned with Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme expecting to capture 90% of aluminium and steel cans, glass and plastic bottles once operational.

A commitment to meet or exceed the standards set out in the EU single-use Plastics Directive means that other items, including cutlery, plates and food and drink containers made of expanded polystyrene, will be banned or restricted by July 2021.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “I am proud that the Scottish Government has become the first UK administration to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds, with Regulations laid in Parliament on 2 September now coming into force. Single-use plastic products are not only wasteful but generate unnecessary litter that blights our beautiful beaches and green spaces while threatening our wildlife on land and at sea. This ban builds on work already underway to address Scotland’s throw-away culture, and we will continue to take action on other problematic items in the coming years as part of our efforts to reduce harmful plastics and single-use items, protect our environment and develop a thriving circular economy. We are facing a global climate emergency and must all work together to reduce, reuse and recycle to ensure a sustainable future for the current and next generation.”


It’s time to secure ‘all in’ Deposit Return Scheme to clean up countryside - CPRE

(image: CPRE)More than one in four bottles that litter our countryside may not be included in the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) if the government buckles under pressure from industry, according to CPRE, the countryside charity.

(image: CPRE)

Responding to the publication this week of the Environment Bill, which will allow for the creation of the DRS, CPRE is urging the government to continue with its ambition for all drinks containers – no matter the size or material - to be included in the system and not fold under industry lobbying. The Bill allows for the creation of the DRS but does not specify what will be included or when it will be introduced.

Evidence for an ‘all in’ scheme continues to build with the CPRE’s Green Clean, a nationwide litter pick carried out in September 2019, suggesting that millions of drinks containers would still end up littering our countryside if industry secures a limited system to serve their vested interests. Key stats from CPRE’s Green Clean, which took place right across England, include:

- A quarter (23%) of glass bottles collected were over the 750ml size limit, the current upper limit for the ‘on the go’ DRS being pushed by key industries;

- More than one quarter (28%) of plastic bottles found littering the countryside were larger than the common 500ml bottle size and could be excluded from the scheme being pushed by key industry stakeholders; and

- 10,000 drinks containers were collected during the month-long litter pick, including cans, plastic bottles of all sizes and glass bottles.

Additionally, more than 1 in 10 drinks containers collected were glass, a figure that does not include the shattered pieces of glass volunteers were unable to count. These would all be left to harm people, and the wildlife, should industry succeed in excluding glass from the Deposit Return Scheme.


Regulator calls on businesses to do more to protect the environment - Environment Agency

The Environment Agency's report includes a review of business compliance, greenhouse gas emissions, serious pollution incidents and illegal waste activity.

A new report shows the majority of England’s regulated businesses are working to protect the environment and support prosperity, although more work is needed to reduce serious pollution incidents and illegal waste activity.

Published today, the Environment Agency’s (EA) annual Regulating for People, Environment and Growth (RPEG) report reveals that greenhouse gas emissions from industry have been cut by half in the last 10 years and compliance rates of energy efficiency and emissions trading schemes are above 98%.

It also shows 92% of operators demonstrated good compliance with their environmental permit conditions. A record 72% of the waste produced by activities with permits was recovered, and high levels of bathing water quality have been maintained. 

The report highlights:

  • there were 533 serious pollution incidents in 2018, 14% fewer than 10 years ago, but 27% more than in 2017
  • 912 illegal waste sites were closed down by the EA last year, a 12% increase on previous year
  • 896 new illegal waste sites were discovered last year, blotting the country’s landscapes and undercutting legitimate businesses

The full report is available on the Environment Agency’s website.


National Trust to return rivers to their natural path to reduce impact of climate change, flood risk and to make space for nature - National Trust

The National Trust is leading a pioneering project to revert rivers to their natural path before any human interference.

Allowing rivers to meander like ‘the branches of a tree’ rather than along a single channel will slow river flow, increase wildlife and tackle the impacts of climate change by holding water in the landscape.

It is the first scheme of its kind in the UK and aims to reduce the frequency of flooding, re-connect rivers to their original floodplains and increase wildlife by improving riverside habitat.

The project is being run in conjunction with Interreg 2 Seas Co-Adapt and the Environment Agency on the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate in Somerset. 

Work has already started on a pilot project to return a tributary of the River Aller on the edge of Exmoor to a more natural state. The approach, known as ‘Stage 0’,  will revert the tributary to its original flow before human interference, allowing natural processes to be developed.

The approach could develop a more resilient landscape better able to adapt to modern challenges like climate change and habitat loss. It also allows for more water to be stored in the water table to help in times of drought.

It works alongside nature to restore ecosystems and habitat diversity, providing a suitable home for species like the endangered water vole.

Inspired by successful river projects in America, including Fivemile-Bell in Oregon, it is the first time such a technique has been tried in the UK. 


Myriad of litter collected from fish pass - Environment Agency

The extent of littering was evident when an Environment Agency officer undertook some essential clearance of a fish pass this week.

Some of the rubbish found in the River Skerne, including a rubber duck and plastic containers (image: Environment Agency)Some of the rubbish found in the River Skerne, including a rubber duck and plastic containers (image: Environment Agency) 

Our officer found a diverse selection of litter and debris at at South Park on the River Skerne, south of Darlington.

Not only is litter damaging to the river but also to the fish that live and pass through the waters.

The items retrieved during the hour-long clear up included:

  • 67 single use plastic bottles
  • two oven trays
  • a flip-flop
  • a fridge door, and
  • a rubber duck

Paul Frear, Fisheries Technical Officer for the Environment Agency, said: "The North East is proud to have a number of beautiful rivers that provide a great natural resource for people, groups and wildlife. It was disappointing to find the pieces of debris and litter as each piece is a potential obstruction for the fish that live in our rivers. We would urge people to use public litter bins provided or to take their rubbish away with them and dispatch the content at home. "

Over the past two years other unusual items that have been found in rivers across the region include traffic cones, a deflated space hopper and a deck chair. 


Remote bird haven found strewn with elastic bands - National Trust

An uninhabited island that is so remote a permit is required to visit has been littered with thousands of elastic bands – by seabirds mistakenly thinking they are worms, the National Trust said.

Rangers who care for the colony off the Cornish coast were initially left scratching their heads by the phenomenon, which has seen coloured bands strewn across the island.

It is thought to be caused by great black-backed and herring gulls mistaking the bands for food while feeding in agricultural fields on the mainland, before returning to deposit them at roosting sites on the island. 

Experts monitoring the site found large numbers of tan, yellow and green bands among pellets regurgitated by the birds.

Small bundles of green fishing net and twine were also uncovered among the undigested food, likely mistaken by the gulls for tasty morsels floating on the surface of the sea.

Rachel Holder, Area Ranger for the National Trust, said: “Ingested plastic and rubber is another factor in a long list of challenges which our gulls and other seabirds must contend with just to survive.  Despite being noisy and boisterous and seemingly common, gulls are on the decline. They’re already struggling with changes to fish populations and disturbance to nesting sites - and eating elastic bands and fishing waste does nothing to ease their plight. Places like Mullion Island should be sanctuaries for our seabirds, so it’s distressing to see them become victims of human activity.”

Mullion Island is a small, rocky outpost off the Lizard Peninsula, cared for by the National Trust, that provides a sanctuary for nesting seabirds including great black-backed gulls - the largest species of gull in the world – herring gulls, cormorants and shags.

Despite public access to the isolated site being forbidden, the effects of human influence are increasingly evident.

The elastic bands are believed to have come from nearby horticultural fields, where they are used to tie together bunches of cut flowers. 


Microplastics, microbeads and single-use plastics poisoning sea life and affecting humans - United Nations 

Each year, an estimated eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean – equivalent to a full garbage truck dumped into the sea every minute - the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said on Monday 4 November.

Between 60 to 90 per cent of the litter that accumulates on shorelines, the surface and the sea floor is made up of plastic.   The most common items are cigarette butts, bags, and food and beverage containers. Consequently, marine litter harms over 800 marine species, 15 of which are endangered. And plastic consumed by marine species enters the human food chain through fish consumption.   Alarmingly, in the last 20 years, the proliferation of microplastics, microbeads and single-use plastics have made this problem even more pronounced.  Most people associate marine plastic pollution with what they can see along coastlines or floating on sea surfaces. But microplastics and microbeads pose a hidden challenge as they are out of sight and, therefore, out of mind. 

Trash at a beach in Bali where the UN Environment Programme  launched the Clean Seas Campaign.(image: UNEP/Shawn Heinrichs)Trash at a beach in Bali where the UN Environment Programme  launched the Clean Seas Campaign.(image: UNEP/Shawn Heinrichs) 

Clean Seas Campaign

“What’s in Your Bathroom?”, UNEP asked on Monday, as part of a campaign to raise awareness on the harm caused by plastics in personal care products and shifts that can be made to reduce plastic footprints.

UNEP launched the Clean Seas Campaign in 2017 to galvanize a global movement that tackles single-use plastics and microbeads.   Now in its second phase, it is shining a light on specific aspects of marine litter, such as plastic pollution generated by the cosmetic industry. 

Microbeads have been banned in England and Scotland since June 2018

World leading microbeads ban comes into force - defra

Ban on the sale of products containing microbeads comes into effect. 


LGA – Clearer labelling and higher charges for hard to recycle products needed to help boost recycling rates - Local Government Association

“Councils want to increase recycling rates. Clearer labelling and increased charges for hard to recycle products would help councils, manufacturers and the public be part of a vital recycling revolution."

(image: LGA)Clearer labelling on all products, increased charges for hard to recycle products and measures to force producers to pay the full cost of disposing of their waste are needed to help councils boost recycling rates and tackle a growing environmental crisis, the Local Government Association says today.

(image: LGA)

The LGA said councils have used successful initiatives to try and help increase recycling rates in their local areas, maintaining them at the current national rate of around 45 per cent in recent years, against a target of recycling at least 50 per cent of household waste by 2020.

It says recycling labels on packaging are often unclear and conflicting, resulting in many recyclables ending up in landfill and preventing manufacturers being able to use recyclable materials.

Research by one council alone shows that more than 40 per cent of household rubbish it sends to landfill could be recycled, but there are more than 20 different recycling labels in the UK that can appear on packaging. The LGA says that clearer labelling would make it easier for people to know what can be recycled and increase recycling rates.

The LGA is also calling for the next government to commit to measures to charge manufacturers more to cover the end of life costs to councils of packaging that is more difficult to recycle, which would encourage manufacturers to switch to recyclable alternatives


The Countryside Alliance responds to the latest Government statistics on fly-tipping - Countryside Alliance

Today's statistics by the government, which were collated by the Environment Agency, reveal that fly-tipping has increased by 8% in England. This amounts, overall, to over 1 million instances in 2018/19.

The Countryside Alliance has longed campaigned on the blight that is fly-tipping and lobbied for these figures to be released annually. 

Responding to the new figures, Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance said: "Fly-tipping has been a serious issue in the countryside, and there is no quick fix but it is an issue many people feel strongly about and they want to see stronger enforcement action taken by the police and local authorities. The UK has a fly-tipping and litter problem and in 2018-2019 there were 1,072,000 incidents of fly-tipping in England, the equivalent of nearly 122 incidents every hour, and at a cost to local authorities of £12.9 million."

The Countryside Alliance calls for:

Improved access to Civic Amenity sites: extension of opening hours; locations; and overhaul and standardisation of admission policies, to encourage lawful disposal of waste.

  • Greater support for landowners: anti-fly-tipping measures; utilisation of comprehension orders; and closer working relationships with local authorities in recognition to particular problems caused by waste fly-tipped on private land. 
  • Increased investment in education: raise awareness of responsibility amongst individuals and businesses. 
  • Tougher penalties on perpetrators: imposing and enforcing penalties which better reflect the seriousness of the crime, such as seizing vehicles used to fly-tip, is vital.

You can see the full statistics here


Wildlife news.

Reports of crimes against wildlife continue to rise, reveals third annual wildlife crime report - Wildlife and Countryside Link

Wildlife and Countryside Link and Wales Environment Link, reveal today in their third Annual Wildlife Crime Report, that reports of alleged wildlife crime incidents to NGOs rose again in 2018, with an increase of more than 17% since our first report in 2016.

There were a total of 1,324 reports of wildlife crime incidents against bats, badgers, birds of prey, amphibians and reptiles, marine mammals, recorded by these NGOs in 2018, compared to 1287 in 2017 and 1130 in 2016. Despite the increase in reporting of wildlife crimes, the number of convictions remains very low, with just 11 individuals and businesses convicted of these types of crimes last year (see table below for further information).

Crimes against badgers, birds of prey and bats remain among the most common wildlife crimes reported. Also noteworthy is that the number of reports of marine mammal disturbances have more than doubled this year. This increase may be in part be explained by a public awareness increase and associated rise in reports of crimes.

Pete Charleston, Chair of Link’s Wildlife Crime Working Group and Conservation Wildlife Crime Officer for the Bat Conservation Trust, said: ‘The abuse and persecution of wildlife will remain invisible, and go unpunished, unless crimes against wildlife are effectively recorded and assessed. Wildlife crime police officers are hugely dedicated, but they need funding certainty and resources to catch these criminals, and tougher sentences available to ensure criminals face a punishment fit for their crime.’

Read the report here  

Cover of the Bat Crime Report 2018 

Bat Crime Report released - Bat Conservation Trust

On Friday Bat Conservation Trust launched Bat Crime 2018 – our annual report on levels of bat crime recorded, investigated and sometimes prosecuted. 2018 saw the smallest number of allegations of offences against bats being recorded for some years and a significant decrease in the number recorded in 2017. The reasons for this are far from clear, the number of cases in 2019 already surpass the 2018 figures.

Our report looks at why bats are protected and how the police and others deal with allegations of offences. It reveals which police forces deal with the greatest number of allegations and also provides analysis of the information we hold. We look at how each case is investigated and explain the various ways in which they are finalised.

Download the bat crime report 2018 here  



Greater horseshoe bat rediscovered in Kent - Bat Conservation Trust

We are excited to announce that the rare greater horseshoe bat has recently been recorded in Kent for the first time in over 100 years. The last known record of this species in Kent dates from 1904.

The first record of this species in Kent for 115 years was made by Laragh Smyth and Emily Cummins of Lloyd Bore Ltd, a Kent-based ecological consultancy, in May 2019 during a commercial bat activity survey visit. A single pass by this bat was recorded at a location on the East Kent coast.

Greater horseshoe bat in flight (Photo Credit: © Dale Sutton/www.bats.org.uk)Greater horseshoe bat in flight (Photo Credit: © Dale Sutton/www.bats.org.uk)

Bakerwell Limited also recorded greater horseshoe bat passes during a bat survey using static detectors at the end of June 2019, within a mile of the initial record. These records were identified by Angela Weaving and confirmed by Donna Popplewell and Fiona Baker. Six passes were recorded over a period of one minute on a single date, further confirming the return of this species to Kent.

Due to the unexpected nature of these records, the sound recordings have been verified, and the species identity confirmed, by Peter Scrimshaw of the Kent Bat Group and by national bat experts Sandie Sowler and Richard Crompton.

The reasons for the presence of this species in Kent are currently unknown. It is possible that an individual bat was blown off course or has travelled over from France, or that a bat has dispersed across the UK, from strongholds in the west of England or Wales. It is also possible that the species is now able to expand its range into Kent due to climatic changes. The habitats in the area that the recordings were made are not dissimilar to those in its western strongholds, prompting speculation that the records could represent more than just an itinerant bat.

Lloyd Bore and Bakerwell will be discussing further research efforts with the Kent Bat Group and Bat Conservation Trust, to ascertain whether this species is now resident in Kent.


Red squirrel reintroductions move to Sutherland in new phase of groundbreaking project - Trees for Life

Conservation charities Trees for Life and Woodland Trust Scotland have partnered up to return red squirrels to a Sutherland wood.

The releases at Woodland Trust Scotland’s Ledmore and Migdale Woods are the latest phase of a successful Trees for Life red squirrel reintroduction project across the Scottish Highlands, which is now moving into Sutherland for the first time.

© Mat Larkin © Mat Larkin 

Launching a drive to help red squirrels extend their range further north, around 20 reds from thriving populations in Inverness-shire and Moray will be relocated to the Woodland Trust site near the village of Spinningdale on the shore of Dornoch Firth during October and November. Critically, the region is free of grey squirrels.

“We are reintroducing red squirrels to carefully chosen native woodlands where these iconic wild animals belong, but from which they have been lost. They will then be able to spread, safe from threats from grey squirrels,” said Becky Priestley, Trees for Life’s Red Squirrel Project Manager. “The Woodland Trust’s Ledmore and Migdale Woods are a perfect habitat for red squirrels. It’s fantastic to be helping the species return to this beautiful part of the Highlands, and to be kick-starting their reintroduction to northeast Scotland.”

Urgent action is needed to secure the long-term future of the increasingly rare red squirrel in the UK, where only an estimated 138,000 survive, including some 120,000 in Scotland. Numbers of the much-loved mammals have been decimated by reduction of their forest homes to isolated fragments, and by competition and lethal disease from non-native grey squirrels


First seal pups seen on the National Trust’s Farne Islands - National Trust

The first Atlantic grey seal pups of the season have been spotted on the Farne Islands, just off the Northumberland coast.

Globally, the Atlantic grey seal is one of the rarest seal species and is a protected sea mammal.  Global numbers are estimated to be around 300,000 with half living in British and Irish waters. 

The Farnes is home to one of the largest colonies in England and last year seal pup numbers reached a record high of 2,737 - an increase of 57 per cent over the last five years.

The sighting of the first pup of the year triggers the start of the seal pup count by National Trust rangers on the islands, and they’ll be waiting to see if the upward trend continues.

The rangers, who live on the Islands for nine months of the year, count the seals every four days in the autumn once pupping season begins, weather permitting.  Once born, they’re sprayed with a harmless vegetable dye to indicate the week they are born.  Using a rotation of three or four colours allows the rangers keep track of the numbers.

Ranger Thomas Hendry commented: “We wait until the first pups are born and then begin the process of counting and marking all pups born on the Islands. A lack of predators and a plentiful supply of fish – has helped bolster our seal pup numbers in recent years. Over the next few years we will monitor the effect of a growing seal population to manage the island habitats accordingly.”

Following a successful trial last year, rangers will use a drone to help make the count more accurate and less stressful for the seals. 


(image: Foresty and Land Scotland)Enchanted Forest success leads to bat box boost - Forestry and Land Scotland

Partnership work to erect bat boxes in woodland near Loch Faskally has been a huge success!

A total of 30 boxes were funded by The Enchanted Forest Community Trust and installed in September 2017 by Tayside Bat Group volunteers in Woodlands near Loch Faskally.

(image: Foresty and Land Scotland)

Forestry and Land Scotland, which provided support funding, has been monitoring the boxes and has found them to be home to 44 soprano pipistrelle bats.

Ian Sim, Chairman of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, said; “The Enchanted Forest is a huge annual event that goes from success to success and we are always looking to reinvest in the local community as a thank you for its continued support through the years. Funding the bat boxes was a great idea that we thought would help encourage and develop the forest’s wild ecosystem. We are really pleased that they have proved to be so popular!”

The mix of hand-made wooden, and ready-made woodcrete boxes are located in good habitat, close to Loch Faskally and well away from where The Enchanted Forest is held.

Gareth Ventress, for the FLS environment team in the area, said; “The boxes have increased the potential roosting sites for protected species within a working forest and our survey in September this year has revealed how successful they’ve been. Almost all of the bats have now been sexed, weighed and measured and some of them are nearing the upper end of the scale for their species, weighing in at 7.2g when their upper limit is around the 8g mark. That’s a really good sign that they thriving!”


Rare hazel dormice prepare for winter sleep as National Trust asks public to help this endangered species - National Trust

The National Trust is today calling on people to assist struggling dormice in a bid to boost numbers of the endangered species.

While dormice are typically found in rural areas, there are a few simple things people can do to encourage the elusive animals, particularly if they live near a wood.

Allowing bramble to grow, leaving ivy on trees and piling up logs can all help, according to the conservation charity, which is also asking people to report any sightings.

Hazel dormice populations in the UK have fallen by around a third since 2000 and are now extinct in 17 English counties.

Habitat loss is believed to be the main reason for the decline, but increasingly warm winters are also having a negative effect, with dormice awaking from hibernation too early and hazel trees, their main habitat, showing signs of stress.

Rangers on the wooded Cotehele Estate in Cornwall found this sleepy pair during their monthly monitoring check of the local dormouse population, conducted each year from April to October.

George Holmes, Lead Ranger at the National Trust, said: “Finding a snoring dormouse inside a nesting box is an amazing feeling – they’re such gentle and charismatic creatures. Sadly, they’re so rare now that most people will never see one in their lifetime. We’re working hard to improve numbers on the estate. Dormice are a key indicator species of the health of a woodland – so if the dormice are thriving, chances are other wildlife is too. Everyone can do their bit to encourage dormice and other wildlife, whether it’s by letting the ivy grow on a tree in your garden or stacking up a pile of logs as shelter.”  


One big happy family! First footage of mother otter and cubs delights wildlife lovers - South Downs National Park

Adorable footage of a mother otter and her two cubs provides the first definitive proof that the iconic creatures are breeding on the River Meon.

Thought to be locally extinct in Hampshire until a few years ago, the incredible video is further evidence of reductions in river pollution that is allowing the secretive mammals to thrive.

The otter family was captured under the cover of darkness by a wildlife camera installed by the South Downs National Park Authority.

image: Karen Arnold / pixabay)The mother, with gleaming bright eyes, is seen climbing on to a raft – a device used to monitor river-dwelling species. Her two curious cubs are then seen following in her tracks before the trio glide back into the water.

image: Karen Arnold / pixabay)

Monitoring the wildlife camera was Dave Strutt, who is a Volunteer Ranger for the South Downs National Park.

Dave, who lives in Horndean, said: “We have a few of these wildlife cameras dotted around the Meon Valley and we sometimes see foxes, badgers, deer and hare.

“To see an otter is incredibly rare – let alone a mum and her two cubs. After watching hours and hours of waving leaves and reeds, it was a delightful moment to see this otter family appear on the screen. It’s a rare treat for any nature lover!” 

Click through to view the footage.



Rare moth returns to Cornwall after 10-year absence – Butterfly Conservation

A rare moth has returned to Cornwall for the first time in more than ten years, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation can reveal.

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth caterpillar found by Cerin PolandNarrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth caterpillar found by Cerin Poland

A caterpillar of the elusive Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth was found on Goss Moor National Nature Reserve near Victoria in late June.

The discovery is confirmation the moth is breeding in the county again and is the first record of the species in Cornwall since 2008, when the moth was seen on Bodmin Moor.

Butterfly Conservation’s Jenny Plackett said: “This amazing find is all down to one of our young volunteers, Cerin Poland, who was trained as part of our All the Moor Butterflies project on how to identify the caterpillar. To have our volunteers discovering new sites for our rare butterflies and moths is really amazing and thanks to the dedication of people like Cerin, we are increasing our knowledge about the distribution of these species.”

24-year-old Cerin from Zelah in Cornwall said: “I was at Goss Moor helping to carry out a habitat survey for Natural England, who manage the National Nature Reserve. I was recording Devil’s-bit Scabious plants and saw the head of a caterpillar poking above one of the leaves looking up at me. I turned over the leaf and saw the distinctive pink horn on its tail and I knew straight away what it was!  Due to my training from Butterfly Conservation I was informed on the signs to look out for and how to identify the species, but I still can’t quite believe I found one. It is a great addition to the diversity at Goss Moor and I have high hopes we will discover the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth in other locations across Cornwall.”


New report highlights extinction threat to many of Northern Ireland’s bees - Buglife

Loss of wildflower habitats, pollution and climate change are pushing many of Northern Ireland’s wild bee species to extinction, a new report by Buglife reveals.  The new review looked at bee populations in the country and found that, unless action is taken, 21 species are at risk of extinction.

(image: Buglife)There is widespread concern over the status of pollinators, as many insect groups including bees, butterflies, moths and hoverflies have declined dramatically in the UK and globally both in their abundance and diversity.  Wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees) show among the most severe declines of any UK pollinators.  Northern Ireland is home to many nationally rare and threatened bee species and supports the largest population in the UK of Northern Colletes (Colletes floralis) a Priority Species for conservation action.  The Bee report is a call to action to save Northern Ireland’s wild bees.

(image: Buglife)

By examining historical and modern data, the report has found that many threatened species are declining and are facing an uncertain future, due to the loss of wildflower-rich habitats, pollution, disease and climate change. The report has also highlighted the need for better recording and monitoring of the health of our pollinator populations.

Anna Hart, Conservation Officer for Buglife Northern Ireland has said “The Northern Ireland Threatened Bee Report has sadly highlighted some extremely worrying trends in our wild bees, unless urgent action is taken we are likely to see the extinction of some of these species over the next 10 years.  However, we have a solution to the pollinator crisis – by making more space for wildlife and restoring networks of wildflower-rich habitats across the country we can reverse these declines and ensure healthy pollinator populations for future generations.”


Developers urged to help pollinators - Scottish Natural Heritage

Developers are being encouraged to do more to help butterflies, bees and other pollinators in our towns and cities.

©Lorne Gill/SNHScottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has published new guidance for the planning and construction industry to create a more resilient and nature-rich urban environment.

Pollinators including bees, wasps, moths, butterflies and flies are vital for our biodiversity, but populations face challenges due to changes in land use, habitat loss, diseases, pesticides and climate change.

The new guide offers advice on how best to fit pollinators into urban design and construction with a series of easy to follow steps to suit all project budgets and sizes.

©Lorne Gill/SNH

Wildflower meadows, flowering trees, hedgerows, nectar-rich plants and herbs, window boxes, green roofs, living walls and sustainable drainage systems can all help expand the habitats of pollinators.

As well as helping nature, these simple steps create more attractive environments for living, working and travelling, support local authorities in meeting biodiversity priorities and contribute to developers’ corporate social responsibility.


Climate change impact on butterflies revealed - Scottish Natural Heritage

Butterfly populations remain stable in Scotland but climate change is having a variable impact on different species.

The latest Scottish Biodiversity Indicator published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) examines the long-term trend for butterflies since 1979.

Climate change impact on butterflies revealed: Orange-tip butterfly ©Lorne Gill SNHThe warming summer climate has pushed the distribution of some species northwards, but this has been balanced out by the negative effects of warmer and wetter winters and poor land management practices in some habitats.

Populations of orange-tip, small heath, ringlet, small pearl-bordered fritillary and red admiral butterflies have all experienced significant increases.

Climate change impact on butterflies revealed: Orange-tip butterfly

©Lorne Gill SNH

Meanwhile there have been decreases in the numbers of grayling, small tortoiseshell and small copper butterflies.

Habitat loss, climate change, urban development and increased nitrogen deposition have all been linked to declines.

Recent research has shown that milder wetter winters in particular are having a negative impact on some species including the small tortoiseshell.

Simon Foster, SNH Trends and Indicators Analyst, said: “While butterfly populations in Scotland have remained stable overall, a closer look at the data reveals that climate change is impacting differently on different species. While the range of some established or expanding butterfly populations has been pushed northwards as a result of warming summers, other species are struggling to cope. We know that nature-based solutions are crucial to helping us tackle the climate emergency, and together with partners we are working on a range of projects to help pollinators such as butterflies. Members of the public can also do their bit – for example planting butterfly-friendly native plants can help populations locally, and leaving nettles alone will ensure an essential food plant for small tortoiseshells. Providing a nice dry area such as a log pile or an old shed left partly open can also provide essential overwintering conditions for small tortoiseshell and peacock butterflies.”



Over 700 responses to SNH General Licence consultation - Scottish Natural Heritage

The Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) consultation about wild birds ended yesterday, garnering over 700 responses.

SNH will now consider this feedback, along with all other evidence about wild birds. Any changes to the current set of licences will be announced later this year. These changes would apply to all 2020 licences.

Lesser black-backed gull-copyright Lorne Gill-SNHLesser black-backed gull-copyright Lorne Gill-SNH

The consultation covers circumstances when wild birds can be controlled under General Licence. All wild birds are protected by law. But in some circumstances, SNH allows wild birds to be controlled – for example, to prevent serious damage to crops, protect public health, and ensure air safety when flocks of birds are liable to get in flight paths. 

Robbie Kernahan, SNH’s Head of Wildlife Management, said: “We’d like to thank everyone for their feedback. We’ll be looking at all these responses carefully over the next months to ensure that our licences are clear, proportionate and fit-for-purpose. Our role is to make sure that wild birds thrive, but we must balance this with making sure the public is safe from health and safety risks, as well as ensuring that farmers can protect their crops.”

General Licences cover relatively common situations – such as preventing agricultural damage and protecting public health and safety – when there’s unlikely to be any conservation impact on a species. They avoid the need for people to apply for individual licences for these specific situations. General Licences must strike the appropriate balance between species conservation and a range of other legitimate interests.


Birds put on spectacular autumnal show at Scotland’s nature reserves - Scottish Natural Heritage

Photographers have captured stunning images of wild geese and waders flocking to Scotland.

Images taken at Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) national nature reserves at Forvie, Loch Leven and Caerlaverock reveal the mass migration of wild birds from Iceland, Greenland and Svalbard.

Stuart MacQuarrie, SNH’s Head of Nature Reserves, said: “To see a flock of geese as they lift off from their night-time roost is one of Scotland’s greatest wildlife spectacles. It’s such a remarkable aerial display, made even better by the chorus of their high-pitched calls. These amazing birds migrate as far as 3,400 miles to reach Scotland for their winter feeding, before returning to more northern climes in the spring. And there’s plenty of time for people to come out to one of our nature reserves over the next few months and see this marvellous display for themselves.” 


Announcement of review of RSPB policy on gamebird shooting - Martin Harper, RSPB’s Global Conservation Director's blog on RSPB Community

At today’s [26 October] AGM, the Chair of RSPB Council, Kevin Cox, made the announcement (click through to read)

Martin says: "I shall say more on this subject in due course.  But if you do have any immediate reaction, please do get in touch as it would be great to hear your views."

Response: BASC urges RSPB to acknowledge shooting’s benefits during review - British Association for Shooting and Conservation

The RSPB announced at its AGM at the weekend that it would be examining its policy on game bird shooting and associated land management.

The review could take up to a year and the organisation has said it will consider the views of stakeholders. 

Caroline Bedell, BASC’s executive director of conservation, said “We have already made contact with the RSPB to ask how we can feed into this review. While there will be fears from some quarters within shooting that this review could lead to the RSPB creating a hard-line anti-shooting policy, BASC believes that the RSPB will in fact conduct the review in the manner expected of an evidence-based organisation"


Landmark survey reveals moorland birds are thriving - Moors for the Future Partnership

A new survey of breeding birds in the Peak District National Park has shown a positive trend in numbers of endangered species.

Populations of 16 bird species in the Peak District are up, in contrast to national trends from the UK Government’s State of Nature 2019 report.

(image: Moors for the Future Partnership)Out of the 29 species sighted, the numbers of 21 species – notably golden plover, snipe and lapwing – have increased.

The curlew, which experienced a decline of 48% nationally between 1995 and 2017, increased 252% between 1990 and 2018 in the Peak District.

(image: Moors for the Future Partnership)

There was a dramatic increase in sightings of buzzard throughout the area, from one sighting in 1990 to 239 in 2018. Equally remarkable was a rise in raven sightings from 0 to 157 in the same period.

Traditional hill grazing, grouse moor management and peatland restoration have all played their part in these success stories.

The survey, which took place in 2018, and previously in 1990 and 2004, was carried out by Moors for the Future Partnership, in collaboration with Peak District land owners and land managers. The survey was funded by Natural England, the Moorland Association, National Trust, RSPB, Severn Trent, United Utilities and Yorkshire Water.

The Peak District and South Pennine moors are a vital and unique habitat for moorland birds. Their population numbers provide a key insight into the health of these moorlands. The purpose of the survey was to discover how moorland birds were faring and whether interventions that will enhance their habitat are having a positive impact.

The surveyed area covered 500 square kilometres in the South Pennine Moors Special Protection Area (SPA), roughly equating to the size of 70,000 football pitches. The British Trust for Ornithology analysed the survey results and drew comparisons to the previous two surveys to give an insight into breeding bird populations, and the influence of key factors. These factors include land use, land management and habitat conditions and types.


Glimmers of hope for UK's wild birds - BTO

Published today, the Wild Bird Populations in the UK, 1970-2018 report shows that after years of decline, and despite a poor 2018 breeding season, there are the signs of recovery for at least some of our wild birds.

Song Thrush by Edmund Fellowes/BTOThe Wild Bird Populations in the UK 1970-2018 report is an annual stocktake of a suite of species groups, termed 'indicators', of which farmland, woodland, breeding wetland, wintering wetland and seabirds are included.

Song Thrush by Edmund Fellowes/BTO

The indicators are intended to broadly reflect the environmental condition of different landscapes and these are presented alongside an 'all species indicator', which is made up of trends for 130 different widespread bird species. The 'all species' indicator shows that over the long-term (1970-2018), positives and negatives are balanced - with 29% of species on the up and 28% experiencing decline. The short-term trend, 2012-2017 delivers a similar story, with 35% of those species increasing and 33% decreasing.
It will come as no surprise that our farmland birds are not doing very well at all but there are signs of recovery here too. The long-term picture is still pretty grim, with 62% of the species monitored, 19 in all, showing a decline. However, the short-term picture is more positive with 32% of farmland bird species showing an increase in their populations, 42% stable and 26% falling between 2012 and 2018.

Within the farmland group, Skylark, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting and Linnet populations have all shown short-term increases and Tree Sparrow, Starling, Lapwing and Kestrel have all remained stable over the five-year period. Grey Partridge populations are still in decline and showing no sign of recovery.


Scientific Research, Results and Publications.

Study: Do nature documentaries make a difference? - University College Cork

Nature documentaries raise species awareness and promote pro-conservation behaviours, but don't lead to donations to conservation charities, a new Irish study has revealed.

For the study, published in the journal Conservation Letters, researchers examined BBC’s popular, six-episode documentary series, Planet Earth II (2016), narrated by David Attenborough. 

The objective was to track how nature documentaries change attitudes towards nature by measuring audience reactions and engagement on social media. 

“Criticism of nature documentaries often highlights that they are misleading, by showing pristine views of nature and portraying environmental problems. We wondered if it would be possible to answer this question using big data," said co-author, Dr Darío Fernández-Bellon of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Environmental Research Institute in University College Cork (UCC). 

Using Planet Earth II as a case study, the researchers found that, in line with criticism, the show allocated very little time to conservation topics, and those that were mentioned generated little reaction in audiences. 

"But we did find that the show generated active interest in the species it portrayed, and that in some cases this interest lasted up to six months after the initial broadcast," Dr Fernández-Bellon added. 

The research examined how Planet Earth II portrayed nature, from what species appeared in the show and how much screen time was dedicated to each, to what group of animals they belonged to. They subsequently searched Twitter for 35,000 tweets with the hashtag #PlanetEarth2, to see if audiences reacted more to some species than others. 

By analysing the number of visits to Wikipedia pages of each species, they assessed whether audiences searched for further information on the species featured in the show. Finally, they examined if donations to two nature charities coincided with the broadcast of the show. 

Read the paper: Fernández-Bellon, D, Kane, A. Natural history films raise species awareness—A big data approach. Conservation Letters. 2019;e12678. Doi: 10.1111/conl.12678 (open access)


A new website to improve open access to research data on Scotland’s natural assets - James Hutton Institute

Scientists based at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen have developed a brand-new, web-based portal to improve access to spatial data on Scotland’s natural assets, including soils, land, biodiversity and cultural heritage.

(image: James Hutton Institute)(image: James Hutton Institute)

The new Natural Asset Register Data Portal, or NAR-DP for short, facilitates access to open-access datasets created through the Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme that otherwise wouldn’t be readily available to stakeholders, other researchers or the wider public.

Kit Macleod, from the Institute’s Information and Computational Sciences group and co-developer of NAR-DP together with colleague David Donnelly, explains: “A key aim of the Strategic Research Programme funded by the Scottish Government is to improve our understanding and management of natural resources. The aim of NAR-DP is to create an accessible and easy to use online resource for a wide range of people, from organisations to members of the public. The web pages contain datasets on specific aspects of Scotland’s natural assets including socio-economic features, soils and biodiversity.”


Citizen scientists help Rewilding Europe analyse camera trap photos - Rewilding Europe

Wildlife enthusiasts can now contribute to rewilding efforts wherever they are. ZSL’s (Zoological Society of London) groundbreaking ‘Instant Wild’ platform allows everyone to collectively identify animals in camera trap photos. A research partnership with Rewilding Europe has already seen a wide range of species tagged in imagery from the Central Apennines rewilding area.

What do wolves and wild boar, pine marten and porcupine all have in common? Yes, they are all animals found in the Central Apennines rewilding area. But more than this, they have all recently been spotted in camera trap photos from the area by netizens using ZSL’s free and pioneering Instant Wild platform and app.

The pilot collaboration between ZSL and Rewilding Europe has seen camera trap imagery from the Central Apennines rewilding area fed into Instant Wild since August. The initiative may soon be scaled up to include imagery from other Rewilding Europe areas.

“With camera trap photos and videos from locations around the world posted online, Instant Wild lets citizen scientists take part in vital global conservation work,” says Kate Moses, a project manager with ZSL’s Conservation Technology Programme. “We’re really excited to be working with Rewilding Europe and seeing Instant Wild advance the cause of rewilding.”

Open collaboration: Every day tens of thousands of photos are generated by camera traps, but it takes far longer to study each of these images and correctly identify any wildlife that may be present. Such cameras are widely employed across Rewilding Europe’s rewilding areas, which means many of our partner foundations have significant backlogs of photos that need processing.

Instant Wild features a feed of imagery uploaded from participating conservation projects around the world

When we checked today the Featured Project was: Thames Estuary. Help conservation scientists to understand how seals use a popular haul-out site in the Thames Estuary.

Get involved here.


GWCT statement on Langholm Moor Demonstration Project final report - Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

The final report of the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project (2008 – 2017) has now been published and is available to download online.

Teresa Dent, chief executive of the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and GWCT Director for the Langholm Moor Demonstration Project board commented: “This final report concludes a period of more than 25 years of study at Langholm. The partnership working on this moor has delivered profound and practical insight into what it takes to sustain our moorlands. We all hoped that reaching a moorland balance would be easy and some seemed to think it would be. It was not, especially within the current policy framework which needs to adapt to new habitat and predation circumstances if we wish to keep our moors. The project has demonstrated that where numbers of red grouse have fallen to low levels (perhaps because habitat management has reduced or has been abandoned, or predators are no longer controlled by gamekeepers, it is exceptionally difficult to recover that moor to a state where driven grouse shooting can take place.  Without driven shooting we know active management declines, exposing ground nesting birds of prey to predation themselves, and losing heather cover. The clear message from this final report is not one of a binary choice of red grouse or birds of prey, but that we need both to be balanced if we value our moorlands and their ecosystems. Once grouse numbers fall the reason for cost-effective investment in the management of this ecosystem is also lost, jeopardising habitats and biodiversity. This project shows we need adaptive management measures so that game shooting remains an incentive for managing a moorland balance.”


UK wetlands get a health check - BTO

Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) Alerts, published today, highlight how well protected wetland sites in Great Britain and Northern Ireland are working for wintering waterbirds in the short-, medium- and long-term.

Wetland by Anne CottonWetland by Anne Cotton

Many of the UK’s wetlands are given protected status as a result of the number of ducks, geese, swans and waders that use these sites during the winter months. The WeBS Alerts system provides a method for identifying protected sites with notable changes in these numbers. The Medium and High Alerts provide evidence for notable declines, flagging-up issues that may require further investigation.
To trigger a Medium Alert a species must show a decline of at least 25%, whilst a High Alert is triggered by a decline of 50% or more in either the short-term (5 year) period, the medium-term (10 year) period, or the long-term (25 year) period.
WeBS Alerts assessed change for 471 site-species populations on 82 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) of international importance. Long-term High Alerts were triggered for 118 of these and Medium Alerts for a further 110. This means there is evidence of long-term declines of 25% or more for almost half of the featured species on our most important wetlands. In the previous health check six years ago, just a third of the featured species were flagged with long-term alerts. 

Some of these declines are because of large-scale changes in global waterbird distributions due to climate change. Others may be due to problems at the site itself.
Several declining ducks and waders such as Scaup, Goldeneye and Purple Sandpiper are becoming increasingly reliant on the SPAs designed to protect them. One species, the Pochard, Red listed under the UK Birds of Conservation Concern and IUCN Global Red List, clearly demonstrates the immense value of these protected areas. Whilst overall winter numbers in the UK are half what they used to be, numbers at protected sites have declined at a comparatively slower rate, so that protected sites now hold up to 40% of the British wintering Pochard population, compared to just 15% in the 1970s and 1980s. Almost no Pochard now occur in Northern Ireland outside the protected areas.To view the full report, please visit: www.bto.org/webs-alerts


Climate change

Widespread drying of European peatlands in recent centuries - University of Exeter

Many of Europe’s peatlands are currently the driest they have been in the last 1,000 years, new research shows.

Scientists examined 31 peatlands across Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and continental Europe to assess changes in peatland surface wetness over the last 2,000 years.

(image: Stephen Barclay)They found that nearly half of the study sites are now the driest they have been for a millennium.

(image: Stephen Barclay)

While changes to temperature and rainfall have significantly contributed to peatland drying, 42 percent of the sites had been significantly damaged by human activities.

The peatland sites in Britain and Ireland had the most extensive degradation compared to the other sites, with cutting, drainage, burning and grazing all contributing to peatland drying.

“Peatlands that are ‘healthy’ have an exceptional potential for the capture and storage of carbon from the atmosphere, and are one of Earth’s most important carbon sinks,” said Dr Thomas Roland, of the University of Exeter. “However, our study found that many European peatlands have been drying out over the last 300 years, most likely in response to climate change and human impacts, like draining, cutting and burning. This may transform these ecosystems from sinks to sources in the global carbon cycle, highlighting a vital need to protect, conserve and restore our peatlands.”

Study lead author Dr Graeme Swindles, from the University of Leeds, said: “Our study sites include some of the least damaged peatlands in Europe, but it is clear that almost all European peatlands have been affected by human activities to some extent.


Climate change is affecting the way Europe floods, experts warn - University of Glasgow 

Climate change is disrupting the rhythms of spring growing and river flooding across Europe, which could pose new problems for biodiversity and food security in floodplains, scientists say.

New analysis of five decades of European flood and temperature data, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, demonstrates for the first time an increasing overlap between the onset of spring and the highest points of seasonal flooding.  

Dr Thorsten Balke, of the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, is the paper’s lead author.  Dr Balke said: “Previous research has shown that climate-change-driven mismatches between the changing of the seasons and the biorhythms of wildlife is having a direct impact on ecosystems across Europe.  The question we set out to answer for the first time was whether a similar crossover was happening with seasonal floods, and quite clearly the answer is yes. The changes we’re seeing are actually quite drastic – there’s a clear pattern of flooding occurring more regularly in the growing season. That raises a lot of questions about the effect that might have on the European landscape."

Access the paper: Balke, T., & Nilsson, C. ( 2019). Increasing synchrony of annual river- flood peaks and growing season in Europe. Geophysical Research Letters, 46, 10446– 10453.  doi: 10.1029/2019GL084612


Pioneering Study Maps Ocean Areas in Need of Preservation - Stony Brook University (The State University of New York)

A first-of-its-kind global marine mapping study provides a roadmap on where to place Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in accordance with United Nations goals for environmental preservation.

The study, conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers examined 10 diverse and internationally recognized maps depicting global marine priority areas. The findings, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, may serve as a roadmap for the goal set by the United Nations to create 10 percent of the ocean as marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2020.

There are numerous ongoing United Nations and nongovernmental initiatives to map globally important marine areas. Such areas may be identified because of their high biodiversity, threatened or vulnerable species, or relatively natural state. Criteria used for mapping vary by initiative, resulting in differences in areas identified as important. This paper is the first to overlay mapping initiatives, quantify consensus, and conduct gap analyses at the global scale.

The analysis found that 55% of the ocean has been identified as important by at least one of the mapping initiatives (58% of this area is within national jurisdiction and 42% is in the high seas). More than 14% of the ocean was identified as important by between two and four maps, and a gap analysis showed that nearly 90% of this area is currently unprotected. The largest of these important but unprotected areas were located in the Caribbean Sea, Madagascar and the southern tip of Africa, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Coral Triangle region. Nearly all area identified by five or more maps is already protected as reported by the World Database on Protected Areas. Most (three quarters) nations protect less than 10 percent of the identified priority areas within their exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

Access the paper: Gownaris Natasha J., Santora Christine M., Davis John B., Pikitch Ellen K.  Gaps in Protection of Important Ocean Areas: A Spatial Meta-Analysis of Ten Global Mapping Initiatives.  Frontiers in Marine Science (2019) DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2019.00650


No place like home: species are on the move, but many have nowhere to go - University of York

Many insects moving north in response to climate change find they have nowhere to go in Britain’s intensively managed landscapes, according to new research.

The Bog Bush Cricket is highly specialised and has been slow to expand its range. Photo by Gilles San Martin. Since the 1970s, insects in the warmer half of Britain have been flying, hopping and crawling northwards at an average rate of around five metres per day. Landscapes that were once too cold for them have been warming up, allowing many species to expand their ranges.

The Bog Bush Cricket is highly specialised and has been slow to expand its range. (Photo by Gilles San Martin.)

However, the new study, led by researchers at the University of York, suggests that expansion rates have been limited by insufficient habitat in the areas that are becoming climatically suitable.

Limited by habitat

The study analysed 25 million recorded sightings of 300 different insect species and found there is huge variation in the rates at which they are moving and that not all species are able to keep pace with the warming conditions.

Scientists and conservationists have always assumed that species’ responses to climate change would be limited by habitat, but this is the first study to measure and quantify the effect across a large and diverse set of species.

Read the paper: Philip J. Platts, Suzanna C. Mason, Georgina Palmer, Jane K. Hill, Tom H. Oliver, Gary D. Powney, Richard Fox & Chris D. Thomas Habitat availability explains variation in climate-driven range shifts across multiple taxonomic groups, Scientific Reports, 10.1038/s41598-019-51582-2



Gardenwatch; first findings on how we can improve our gardens for wildlife - BTO

Gardens provide important space for our wildlife, but they could provide even more, according to preliminary results from Gardenwatch, the UK’s biggest-ever garden audit.

Gardenwatch was launched on BBC Springwatch in May 2019, and asked people for information on garden features and wildlife across the country. The responses have given us fascinating new information on how people help wildlife in their gardens, and where there is still more that can be done.
The report covers 31 different wildlife-friendly garden features and practices, from feeding Badgers to leaving long grass to grow. A number of recommended practices are not as widespread as they could be, and some of these are things that people can start doing right away.
Right now the leaves are beginning to fall from trees across the UK, providing important food and cover for a myriad of invertebrate life and shelter for Hedgehogs, however, according to the Gardenwatch results, over half of us remove the leaves from our gardens, in effect removing a resource that will help to underpin other wildlife. Worms feed on fallen leaves, pulling them into their underground tunnels – more leaves means more worms and more food for birds such as Blackbirds and Song Thrushes.


Badger behaviour inside the cull zone - ZSL

ZSL study shows survivors of culls cover 61% greater areas, potentially increasing risk of transmission to cattle.

A study led by researchers from ZSL and Imperial College London has found that culling drives badgers to roam 61% further afield – helping to explain why the practice, intended to reduce bovine TB transmission, can sometimes exacerbate the problem instead. 

Published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, the paper reveals that, after a population was culled, surviving badgers covered 61% more land each month than they had before the cull began, leading researchers to conclude that badgers explore new areas as individuals are removed from neighbouring groups and territories open up. 

Badgers were also found to visit 45% more fields each month, and the odds of a badger visiting neighbouring territories each night increased 20-fold – potentially increasing the risk of TB transmission both to cattle and to other badgers. These changes were witnessed as soon as culling began, meaning even badgers that were killed may have first spread the infection over wider areas while management was being implemented.

Badgers however spent less time outside of their setts in culled areas – spending on average 91 minutes less per night out and about. ZSL scientists believe this could be linked to reduced competition and increased food availability as badgers are removed from the population. 

The research group from ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, and Imperial’s MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, studied 67 badgers across 20 cattle farms in areas with and without farmer-led culling in Cornwall, collecting GPS-collar data between 2013 and 2017.

Read the paper: Ham, C, Donnelly, CA, Astley, KL, Jackson, SYB, Woodroffe, R. Effect of culling on individual badger Meles meles behaviour: Potential implications for bovine tuberculosis transmission. J Appl Ecol. 2019; 00: 1– 10. doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.13512


Study recommends special protection of emperor penguins - British Antarctic Survey

Emperor penguins need sea ice to breed. Photo credit: Peter FretwellIn a new study published this week (Wednesday 9 October) in the journal Biological Conservation, an international team of researchers recommends the need for additional measures to protect and conserve one of the most iconic Antarctic species – the emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri).

Emperor penguins need sea ice to breed. Photo credit: Peter Fretwell

The researchers reviewed over 150 studies on the species and its environment as well as its behaviour and character in relation to its breeding biology. Current climate change projections indicate that rising temperatures and changing wind patterns will impact negatively the sea ice on which emperor penguins breed; and some studies indicate that emperor populations will decrease by more than 50% over the current century. The researchers therefore recommend that the IUCN status for the species be escalated to ‘vulnerable’; the species is currently listed as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN Red List.  They conclude that improvements in climate change forecasting in relation to impacts on Antarctic wildlife would be beneficial, and recommend that the emperor penguin should be listed by the Antarctic Treaty as a Specially Protected Species.

Lead author Dr Philip Trathan, Head of Conservation Biology at British Antarctic Survey, says: “The current rate of warming in parts of the Antarctic is greater than anything in the recent glaciological record. Though emperor penguins have experienced periods of warming and cooling over their evolutionary history, the current rates of warming are unprecedented. Currently, we have no idea how the emperors will adjust to the loss of their primary breeding habitat – sea ice. They are not agile and climbing ashore across steep coastal land forms will be difficult. For breeding, they depend upon sea ice, and in a warming world there is a high probability that this will decrease. Without it, they will have little or no breeding habitat.”


Birds benefiting from climate change may find their boost short-lived - RSPB

The climate crisis has had a profound impact upon bird populations across Europe and the US, scientists say.

Climate change is a major global threat to humanity and nature. It threatens to undermine our water and food supplies, it’s fueling extreme weather and some mega-cities are predicted to disappear under rising sea levels.

Lapwing (photo Andy Hay)Lapwing (photo Andy Hay)

So conservationists were flummoxed by studies which showed climate change is having a stronger effect upon species which benefit from climate change compared to those which suffer negative impacts.

The authors of a major study investigating 525 bird species over 30 years and across two continents believed there could be a time lag in the response of populations to climate change, creating an ‘extinction debt’. They were also concerned most studies cover time spans too short to pick up on shrinking habitat ranges and focused on changes in range, rather than change in numbers.

But the most detailed report of its kind to date has turned theories about the effects of climate change upon birds on their head.

Despite carefully examining the population trends of over 500 bird species over three decades, the researchers found no evidence climate change has a more profound effect upon birds which should cope well with climate change compared to those which might struggle. Climate change is causing widespread population change in birds.

The researchers called for further research into the long-term consequences of climate change on wildlife to be commissioned urgently.

Read the paper: Mason LR et al (2019) Population responses of bird populations to climate change on two continents vary with species’ ecological traits but not with direction of change in climate suitability. Climatic Change. doi: 10.1007/s10584-019-02549-9.(Open Access)


‘Rice breast’ in wildfowl increasingly prevalent, new research finds - British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) 

Peer-reviewed research coming from a joint British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) survey, has found the wildfowl disease sarcocystosis is both more prevalent and more widely distributed than previously thought.

Sarcocystosis, otherwise known as ‘rice breast’ because of how the disease appears in the breast of the birds, is a parasitic disease that infects the muscle of wildfowl and can cause weakness, potentially impacting survival rates and reproductive success.  Prevalence of the disease was recorded in several ways including surveys of wildfowlers who recorded the disease impacting ten different species, with mallard, wigeon and teal seemingly being the most affected.

Based on samples also provided by shooters, the authors were able to confirm that the disease was the parasite Sarcocystis rileyi. This parasite is relatively common in America where it passes between skunks and ducks. In Europe the assumption is that foxes and introduced raccoon dogs play the host role.

Dr. Matt Ellis, head of science at BASC and co-author of the paper, said: “This vital piece of work highlights an emerging issue to European wildfowl. As little is known of the health and fitness impacts of wildfowl who contract this parasite, this paper provides a useful baseline for further research."

The paper ‘Sarcocystis rileyi in UK free-living wildfowl (Anatidae): surveillance, histopathology and first molecular characterisation’ which represents a collaboration between BASC, WWT, Royal Veterinary College and Liverpool University, has been published in the Veterinary Record journal and is available here.

Any sightings of rice breast should be reported here.


Saving heather will help save our wild bees - RBG Kew

A new study published in the journal Current Biology from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Royal Holloway has discovered that a natural nectar chemical in Calluna heather called callunene can act as a medicine to protect bumblebees from a harmful parasite.

  • Study finds medicinal properties of heather nectar protect bumblebees from disease
  • Discovery shows the vital importance of protecting plants like heather to help address bee decline
  • Heather in UK is facing rapid decline due to changes in land use. 

Bumblebee foraging on heather, Calluna vulgaris. (Credit Hauke Koch)A new study published today in the journal Current Biology from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Royal Holloway, University of London, has discovered that a natural nectar chemical in Calluna heather called callunene can act as a medicine to protect bumblebees from a harmful parasite. The parasite, Crithidia bombi, is common among wild bumblebees and can be transmitted between bumblebees on flowers or within the nest.

Bumblebee foraging on heather, Calluna vulgaris. (Credit Hauke Koch)

The scientists have been studying several different UK plants for medicinal properties in nectar that might help naturally protect bees against disease, as this is a major contributing factor in bee decline. They found that the species with the highest medicinal value was heather – the UK’s second most productive nectar plant, which is found across Europe.
This discovery is extremely important – around 90% of the world’s plants, including many important food crops, rely on animals for pollination. Bees’ contribution to these pollination services are by far the most important and are vital, but they are in decline due to interacting effects of diseases, climate change and habitat destruction.

Read paper: Hauke Koch, James Woodward, Moses K. Langat, Mark J.F. Brown & Philip C. Stevenson. Flagellum removal by a nectar metabolite inhibits infectivity of a bumblebee parasite. Current Biology  DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.08.037 (open access)


Scientists identify British butterflies most threatened by climate change - University of York

Scientists have discovered why climate change may be contributing to the decline of some British butterflies and moths, such as Silver-studded Blue and High Brown Fritillary butterflies.

Many British butterflies and moths have been responding to warmer temperatures by emerging earlier in the year and for the first time scientists have identified why this is creating winners and losers among species.

The findings will help conservationists identify butterfly and moth species most at risk from climate change, the researchers say.

Shrink in numbers

The study, led by the University of York, found that emerging earlier in the year may be benefitting species which have multiple, rapid breeding cycles per year and are flexible about their habitat (such as the Speckled Wood butterfly), by allowing them more time to bulk up in numbers before winter and expand their range towards the north.

In contrast, early emergence may be causing species that are habitat specialists and have only a single life-cycle per year, to shrink in numbers and disappear from northern parts of the country within their historical range.

Single generation species that are habitat specialists (like the rare High Brown Fritillary butterfly) are most vulnerable to climate change because they cannot benefit from extra breeding time and emerging earlier may throw them out of seasonal synchrony with their restricted diet of food resources, the researchers suggest.

Read the paper: Callum J. Macgregor, Chris D. Thomas, David B. Roy et al, Climate-induced phenology shifts linked to range expansions in species with multiple reproductive cycles per year, Nature Communications, 10.1038/s41467-019-12479-w


Gannets learn to hunt by following their elders - University of Glasgow

Flock of gannets over Bass Rock (image: Adrian Kirby / pixabay)Gannets, the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, can travel hundreds of miles from their homes just to catch food for their chicks. However, with around a million square miles of ocean to choose from, it has always been a mystery how they decide where is best to search for fish.

Now, new research led by the University of Glasgow and published today in the Journal of Avian Biology, offers new insights into why these iconic shaped seabirds choose to hunt the way they do.

Scientists recorded thousands of gannets commuting to and from the Bass Rock, in the outer part of the Firth of Forth in Eastern Scotland. The Bass Rock houses the world’s largest northern gannet colony, with an estimated 75,300 breeding pairs calling it home. 

Flock of gannets over Bass Rock (image: Adrian Kirby / pixabay)

They found that travelling as part of a flock appeared to be about more than just gaining aerodynamic benefits. The researchers were able to show that the more experienced adult birds were often found at the front of commuting flocks, with younger birds following behind. The results add weight to the theory that gannets learn to hunt by following their elders.

Dr Ewan Wakefield from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, said: “Our research offers a more detailed insight into how and why gannets search for food in the way they do. With such a large expanse of ocean to choose from it has always been a mystery as to how they know where fish are most likely to be found. 

Read the paper:

Wakefield, E. D., Furness, R. W., Lane, J. V., Jeglinski, J. W. and Pinder, S. J. (2019), Immature gannets follow adults in commuting flocks providing a potential mechanism for social learning. J Avian Biol, 50:. doi:10.1111/jav.02164


Puffins making poor diet choices when the chips are down - University of Southampton

A new study has shown that Britain’s puffins may struggle to adapt to changes in their North Sea feeding grounds and researchers are calling for better use of marine protection areas (MPAs) to help protect the country’s best known seabirds. Britain’s coasts support globally important populations of many species of seabird, but they face many challenges as their established habitats change.

puffin with fish (James Glen / Pixabay)puffin with fish (James Glen / Pixabay)

Scientists at the University of Southampton and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology studied the diet and distribution of Atlantic puffins and razorbills on the Isle of May National Nature Reserve, off the coast of southeast Scotland.

They studied the seabirds’ over-winter feeding habits and found that during the 2014 to 2015 winter, when conditions were good, both species foraged close to their breeding colony eating a diet consisting mostly of lipid-rich fish such as sandeels. However in the 2007 to 2008 winter, conditions were not as good and the small fish populations were mainly concentrated further out in the southern North Sea. Whilst the razorbills flew further away from the breeding colony in order to maintain their healthy diet, the puffins stayed closer in, eating a poorer quality diet of crustacea, polychaete worms and snake pipefish. The researchers found that fewer birds survived to return to the colony in the spring of 2008 compared to 2015, with puffins being more severely affected than razorbills.

Read the paper: St. John Glew, K., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P. et al. Sympatric Atlantic puffins and razorbills show contrasting responses to adverse marine conditions during winter foraging within the North Sea. Mov Ecol 7, 33 (2019) doi:10.1186/s40462-019-0174-4 (open access)


Evolving deer give birth earlier as climate warms - University of Edinburgh

Red deer on a Scottish island are providing scientists with some of the first evidence that wild animals are evolving to give birth earlier in the year as the climate warms.

Genetic changes to red deer on the Isle of Rum – located off the west coast of Scotland – have played a key role in a rapid shift in birth dates in recent years, new research shows.

image: University of Edinburgh(image: University of Edinburgh)

Previous studies have shown that the deer have been giving birth earlier since the 1980s, at a rate of about three days per decade, partly due to the effects of warmer temperatures on the deer’s behaviour and physiology.

Genetic evolution

Now, a team involving Edinburgh scientists has revealed that genetic changes caused by natural selection – the theory of evolution developed by Charles Darwin – are also involved.

The study provides a rare example of evolution happening quickly enough to be detected over only a few decades.

“This is one of the few cases where we have documented evolution in action, showing that it may help populations adapt to climate warming.” Dr Timothée Bonnet Australian National University

Long-term study

The team made the discovery using field records and genetic data collected on Rum over a 45-year period since 1972.

Female red deer – called hinds – give birth to a single calf each year, and those that reproduce earlier in the year have more offspring over their lifetime, researchers say.

Their findings show that this is partly because of an association between the genes that make hinds give birth earlier and higher overall reproductive success. As a result, genes for breeding earlier have become more common in the Rum deer population over time.

“Long-term studies of individual lifetimes are one of the few ways to understand how populations respond to environmental change and how to manage its effects.” Professor Josephine PembertonSchool of Biological Sciences

Nature reserve

The Isle of Rum National Nature Reserve is managed by Scottish Natural Heritage.


Scientific Publications  

Philipp H.Boersch-Supan, Amanda E.Trask, Stephen R.Baillie, Robustness of simple avian population trend models for semi-structured citizen science data is species-dependent Biological Conservation doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108286


Gonçalves da Silva, A. , Barendse, W. , Kijas, J. , England, P. R. and Hoelzel, A. R. (2019), Genomic data suggest environmental drivers of fish population structure in the deep sea; a case study for the orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus). J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13534


Callaghan Corey T., Poore Alistair G. B., Major Richard E., Rowley Jodi J. L. and Cornwell William K. Optimizing future biodiversity sampling by citizen scientists. 286 Proc. R. Soc. B  Doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.1487 (Open Access)


Hilbers, J. P., Huijbregts, M. A. and Schipper, A. M. (2019), Predicting reintroduction costs for wildlife populations under anthropogenic stress. J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13523


N.M. McHugh, B.L. Bown, J.A. Hemsley, J.M. Holland, Relationships between agri-environment scheme habitat characteristics and insectivorous bats on arable farmland, Basic and Applied Ecology, Volume 40, 2019, doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2019.09.002.


Daniel W. Montgomery, Stephen D. Simpson, Georg H. Engelhard, Silvana N. R. Birchenough & Rod W. Wilson Rising CO2 enhances hypoxia tolerance in a marine fish, Scientific Reports, 1038/s41598-019-51572-4


Elma Lahive, Alexander Walton, Alice A. Horton, David J. Spurgeon, Claus Svendsen, Microplastic particles reduce reproduction in the terrestrial worm Enchytraeus crypticus in a soil exposure, Environmental Pollution, doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2019.113174.


Arias, M. , Elias, M. , Andraud, C. , Berthier, S. and Gomez, D. (2019), Transparency improves concealment in cryptically coloured moths. J Evol Biol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/jeb.13560


Hannes A. Schraft, Shannon Whelan, Kyle H. Elliott Huffin’ and puffin: seabirds use large bills to dissipate heat from energetically demanding flight Journal of Experimental Biology 2019 : jeb.212563 Short Communication doi: 10.1242/jeb.212563 Published 17 October 2019


Soyeon Bae, Shaun R. Levick, et al Radar vision in the mapping of forest biodiversity from space.  Nature Communications volume 10, Article number: 4757 (2019)  doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12737-x  open access


Waggitt, J. , et al  (2019), Distribution maps of cetacean and seabird populations in the North - East Atlantic. J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13525


Phillip A. Wisocki, Patrick Kennelly, Indira Rojas Rivera, Phillip Cassey, Mark L. Burkey & Daniel Hanley, The global distribution of avian eggshell colours suggest a thermoregulatory benefit of darker pigmentation, Nature Ecology & Evolution (2019) doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-1003-2


Marie Hébert, Elisabetta Versace, Giorgio Vallortigara, Inexperienced preys know when to flee or to freeze in front of a threat Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Oct 2019, 201915504; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1915504116


Rose, P.E., Brereton, J.E., Rowden, L.J. et al. What’s new from the zoo? An analysis of ten years of zoo-themed research output. (open access) Palgrave Commun 5, 128 (2019) doi:10.1057/s41599-019-0345-3


Prashant Kumar, Angela Druckman, John Gallagher, et al.  The nexus between air pollution, green infrastructure and human health, Environment International, doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.105181


Broughton, R. K. (2019), Current and future impacts of nest predation and nest‐site competition by invasive eastern grey squirrels Sciurus carolinensis on European birds. Mam Rev. doi:10.1111/mam.12174


Chantel J. Taylor, Jayne E. Yack Hearing in Caterpillars of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) Journal of Experimental Biology doi: 10.1242/jeb.211862


Victor Johansson, Oskar Kindvall, John Askling, Markus Franzén, Intense grazing of calcareous grasslands has negative consequences for the threatened marsh fritillary butterfly, Biological Conservation, Volume 239, 2019, 108280, ISSN 0006-3207, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108280. 


How to send your news to us:

Send your press releases to newsdesk@countryside-jobs.com or email a link to items on your website.

If it's time sensitive we can embargo the details to a specific date, let us know when you'd like it to be published. 



Browse the Training Directory online here for short courses (up to 10 days long), or here for longer courses, distance learning and centres and providers

The Directory includes a wide range of courses providing certification in practical skills such as chainsaw use, need to learn how to identify dragonflies, or want to find out the best way to get the community involved in your project then this is the section to read.    We include details of many professional courses in the online short courses pages. There are also sections for longer courses, training centres and other events (eg conferences).

Search for your next CPD course here.

Calendar of short courses and professional events happening in: January 2020



13/01/2020   Muntjac Symposium   1 Day

Great North Museum, Hancock, Newcastle University , British Deer Society. Contact: d.stewart@bdsbranches.org.uk https://c-js.info/2MFeULz

14/01/2020   Coral reefs: running the gauntlet of climate change   1 Day

Huxley Lecture Theatre, ZSL. Contact: eleanor.darbey@zsl.org https://c-js.info/2o4I9Ov


Administrative and Office Skills

09/01/2020   ArcGIS Intermediate Training - 2 day course   2 Day


Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

15/01/2020   QGIS Foundation Training - 2 day course   2 Day


Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

Above two courses with exeGeSIS SDM Ltd, Talgarth, South Wales. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk

15/01/2020   How to write highly cited papers   0.5 Day

Wallingford, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Contact: 01491 692225 ingsch@ceh.ac.uk https://www.ceh.ac.uk/training/science-paper-impact

This interactive workshop will boost your confidence and ability to write a great science paper that will be cited again and again. This workshop focusses on getting high citations. The workshop will study the following using group and individual exercises. from £179

21/01/2020   MapInfo Foundation Training - 2 day course   2 Day

Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

23/01/2020   MapInfo Intermediate Training - 1 day course   1 Day

Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

28/01/2020   ArcGIS Foundation Training - 2 day course   2 Day

Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

Above three courses with exeGeSIS SDM Ltd, Talgarth, South Wales. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk http://www.esdm.co.uk/mapinfo-training-courses

28/01/2020   Project Management for Wildlife Conservation   3 Day

David Attenborough Building, Cambridge Conservation Initiative, WildTeam. Contact: beth@wildteam.org.uk http://www.wildteam.org.uk/classroom

This is a 3-day, class-based training workshop designed to give you the skills to run conservation projects of any type or size. Working with our highly qualified and experienced team, you will be guided through each step in implementing an effective project management approach, specifically designed for wildlife conservation.

29/01/2020   How to write highly cited papers   1 Day

Lancaster, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Contact: 01491 692225 ingsch@ceh.ac.uk https://www.ceh.ac.uk/training/science-paper-impact

This interactive workshop will boost your confidence and ability to write a great science paper that will be cited again and again. This workshop focusses on getting high citations. The workshop will study the following using group and individual exercises. from £179

30/01/2020   QGIS Intermediate Training - 1 day course   1 Day

Talgarth, South Wales, exeGeSIS SDM Ltd. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk http://www.esdm.co.uk/qgis-training-courses

Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals


Countryside Management Techniques

26/01/2020   Woodland Management and Coppicing Day Workshop   1 Day

Park Farm, Overton Road, Ibstock, LE67 6PD, Holmsdale Manor Forest Schools. Contact: 07775857222 katieward2005@hotmail.com


First Aid, Risk Assessment and other Health & Safety Related Courses

11/01/2020   Outdoor First Aid 2 Days   2 Day

Glasgow, First Aid Training Co-operative. Contact: 07585723763 courses@firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk http://www.firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk

Outdoor First Aid Course, 2 Days, 16 Hours. For all types of outdoor practitioner and featuring multiple outdoor scenarios. Covers all National Governing Body requirements for First Aid.

15/01/2020   ROLO Health, Safety and Environmental Awareness   1 Day

Skipton, Tyro Training. Contact: 01756 797 266 info@tyrotraining.co.uk http://www.tyrotraining.co.uk

The Department of Trade & Industry made it a 'duty of care' that all trade bodies ensure that their members were adequately trained in health & Safety and that all employers should show that personnel are properly trained. This course is for anyone who works in the land-based industry.

16/01/2020   Emergency First Aid at Work +F (Qualsafe)   1 Day

Albaston, Lynher Training Ltd. Contact: 01822 832902 admin@lynher.com http://www.lynher.com

First aiders in a workplace, where the first aid needs assessment has shown that first aiders trained in EFAW are required. +F for Forestry workers. EFAW training enables a first aider to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work.

18/01/2020   Outdoor First Aid 2 Days   2 Day

Edinburgh, First Aid Training Co-operative. Contact: 07585723763 courses@firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk http://www.firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk

Outdoor First Aid Course, 2 Days, 16 Hours. For all types of outdoor practitioner and featuring multiple outdoor scenarios. Covers all National Governing Body requirements for First Aid.

30/01/2020   RSPH Level 2 Award in Pest Management   7 Day

This qualification provides the essential knowledge relating to the training of pest control operatives. It is aimed at both existing technicians and individuals looking to enter the field of pest control. The course covers Vertebrates and Invertebrates, as well as Health, Safety and Legal Aspects of Pest Management.

30/01/2020   RSPH Level 2 Certificate in Pest Management   7 Day

This qualification provides the knowledge relating to the training of pest control operatives and is aimed at both existing technicians and individuals looking to enter the field. The course covers both theory and practical aspects of Vertebrates and Invertebrates, as well as Health, Safety and Legal Aspects of Pest Management.

Above two courses in Bury St Edmunds with Pest Solution. Contact: 01284 766362 info@pestsolution.co.uk http://www.pestcontroltraining.co

Contact for details 

Outdoor First Aid    2 Day

Qualification valid for 3 years meets NGB regulations. Ideal course for ecologists, rangers and fieldworkers. Courses delivered throughout Scotland for groups of 4 or more. Outdoor First Aid courses approved by SQA and ITC. Practical, workplace based courses. Outdoor First Aid Limited meets the HSE Due Diligence requirements on all its courses.

Forest School Practioner First Aid   2 Day

Qualification valid for 3 years meets forest school practitioner regulations. Specially developed outdoor first aid course for course for forest school practitioners. Certificate valid for 3 years. Courses delivered throughout Scotland for groups of 4 or more. Outdoor First Aid Limited meets the HSE Due Diligence requirements on all its courses.

HSE First Aid at Work   3 Day

Courses delivered throughout Scotland for groups of 4 or more. Practical, workplace based courses. Qualification valid for 3 years meets HSE statutory regulations. Outdoor First Aid Limited meets the HSE Due Diligence requirements on all its courses.

HSE Emergency First Aid at Work   1 Day

Courses delivered throughout Scotland for groups of 4 or more.  Practical, workplace based courses. Qualification valid for 3 years meets HSE statutory regulations. Outdoor First Aid Limited meets the HSE Due Diligence requirements on all its courses.

Defibrillator Training   0.5 Day

Courses delivered throughout Scotland for groups of 4 or more.  Practical, workplace based courses. Qualification valid for 1 year. Outdoor First Aid Limited meets the HSE Due Diligence requirements on all its courses.

First Aid Refreshers / Basic Life Support   0.5 Day

Courses delivered throughout Scotland for groups of 4 or more. Outdoor First Aid Limited meets the HSE Due Diligence requirements on all its courses.

Paediatric First Aid   1 or 2 Day

This course meets Ofsted first aid requirements for registered childminders & the requirements for first aid for nannies under the Department for Children, Schools & Families Approved Carers Scheme. Certificate valid for 3 years. Courses delivered throughout Scotland for groups of 4 or more. Outdoor First Aid Limited meets the HSE Due Diligence requirements on all its courses. Available as a 6 or 12 hour course.

All above courses with Outdoor First Aid Limited, Scotland. Contact: 07787 526299 info@outdoor-first-aid-courses.com http://www.outdoor-first-aid-courses.com


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Herpetology, Fish and Invertebrates

Contact for details 

Beekeeper for a Day Gift Experience   1 Day

You'll receive an experience day gift voucher, which explains how the recipient can select the experience day dates available, beautifully presented in our artisan gift box tied with Bees for Business ribbon.

1-2-1 Beekeeper for a Day Exclusive Gift Experience   1 Day

For the ultimate experience day, our exclusive one-to-one beekeeping gift experience is a full day working alongside a beekeeper, helping to inspect bees and work through the day's jobs. With plenty of opportunity to ask questions, these exclusive experience days are limited to just one individual and we make just six days available each year.

Above two courses with Bees for Business, Langtoft, near Peterborough. Contact: 01778 487924 pa@beesforbusiness.com https://c-js.co.uk/2DEnYfS


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Mammals

09/01/2020   Is That A Bat? Webinar   0.5 Day

Webinar, BatAbility Courses & Tuition. Contact: 07877 570590 neil.middleton@batability.co.uk https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/batability-courses-amp-tuition-18212558699

90 minute webinar at lunchtime

18/01/2020   Rewilding 2: Bringing Back the Beaver   1 Day

Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bat CT6 7LQ, Wildwood Trust. Contact: 01227 711471 courses@wildwoodtrust.org https://wildwoodtrust.shop/collections/conservation-courses

The second of our rewilding-themed courses looks at the vital role of the beaver in reinstating wetlands and enhancing biodiversity. Ecology, field signs and the pros and cons of reintroducing an animal that has been absent from Britain for over 400 years will all be discussed. Rewilding 1 and 2 both £30 or £50 if booked together.

21/01/2020   Winter bats   1 Day

Lancashire , Ecology Services UK Ltd. Contact: info@ecologyservice.co.uk http://www.ecologyservice.co.uk

A 1 day course for all abilities covering bat ecology and bat surveys in winter. You will develop skills and experience in finding, identifying and conserving hibernating bats.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Plants and Habitats

Contact for details 

Ash dieback risk assessment, work planning and methodology   1 Day

Lowe Maintenance Training. Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://bit.ly/LoweMaintenanceAshdieback

Many people have been asking about ash dieback & what the possible implications maybe & where to start.  This session is aimed at those who are actively working with Ash trees which may or not be showing signs of Ash dieback. If you have a group of people wishing to be trained, contact Demelza to discuss requirements (location, numbers, site availability etc).


Practical Countryside Skills

17/01/2020   Intermediate Hedgelaying course   2 Day

Hedley Hall Wood, Woodland Trust. Contact: https://woodlandtrusttickets.cloudvenue.co.uk/hhintermediatehedge

The two day course is the natural follow on from the introduction to hedgelaying and will include cutting stakes for the hedge and more advanced techniques in the hedgelaying process.

25/01/2020   Hedgerow Coppicing and Somerset Hedge Laying   2 Day

Manor Farm, Sopworth, Chippenham, Cotswolds Conservation Board. Contact: 01451 862000 ruralskills@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk https://www.cotswoldsruralskills.org.uk/events/view/831/hedgerow-coppicing-day-1-and-somerset-hedge-laying-day-2

Come and learn about: the skills of coppicing, tree felling and hedge laying, what tools are needed, how to use them, the specialist wildlife that benefits from coppicing, a bit of history of woodland coppicing, how to identify and extract a range of coppice products and uses for harvested coppice.


Practical Countryside Skills - Machinery

09/01/2020   RSPH Level 2 Award in the safe use of Rodenticides   1 Day

Bury St Edmunds, Pest Solution. Contact: 01284 766362 info@pestsolution.co.uk http://www.pestcontroltraining.co

The RSPH Level 2 Award in the Safe Use of Rodenticides provides learners with an understanding of why the purchase and use of rodenticides is controlled and why other rodent control methods should be considered before rodenticides are used.

10/01/2020   Hedge Laying (A Practical Training Session)   1 Day

Hadleigh Park, Chapel Lane, Hadleigh, Essex. SS7 2PP, Countryside Management Association. Contact: Gary.king@essex.gov.uk https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hedge-laying-a-practical-training-session-tickets-66107939627

CMA members FREE, Non CMA Members £40 plus booking fee. Hedgelaying is a traditional countryside skill. You will learn by doing, so we will be outside for the whole session. The tools we will be using are saw, axe and billhook. Please bring your own lunch. Visit website for tickets.

23/01/2020   Practical Vertebrate Trapping   1 Day

Bury St Edmunds, Pest Solution. Contact: 01284 766362 info@pestsolution.co.uk http://www.pestcontroltraining.co

This is a one-day course aimed at those who want to add vertebrate trapping, such as moles and rabbits to their portfolio.

23/01/2020   Rodenticides - Safe Use of Pesticides for Vertebrate Pest Control for Rats & Mice Level 2   2 Day

This course is designed for individuals who carry out vertebrate control of rats and mice if they wish to procure professional pesticides in volumes greater than 1.5kg or work within a professional or commercial capacity. While potentially harmful substances, pesticides for the control of vertebrate rats and mice are successfully used in land-based industries. Due to the harmful nature, it is vital that they are only used by people who are properly trained in their safe use.

27/01/2020   PA1 - Principles of Safe Handling & Application of Pesticides Level 2   1 Day

This course is designed for people who are involved in the storage and handling of pesticides. Whilst potentially harmful substances, pesticides are very successful and are widely used in land-based industries. Due to the harmful nature it is vital that they are only used by people who are properly trained in the safe use of pesticides.

28/01/2020   PA6 - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Handheld Equipment Level 2   2 Day

This course is designed for people who are involved in the storage and handling of pesticides using handheld equipment and maintaining handheld type sprayers. Whilst potentially harmful substances, pesticides are very successful and are widely used in land-based industries. Due to the harmful nature it is vital that they are only used by people who are properly trained in the safe use of pesticides.

Above 3 courses with Tyro Training, Skipton. Contact: 01756 797 266 info@tyrotraining.co.uk http://www.tyrotraining.co.uk

Contact for details 

ROLO (Register of Land-Based Operatives) Training   1 Day

Guildford, Thomson Ecology. Contact: 01483 466066 Estelle.Spencer@thomsonecology.com http://www.thomsonecology.com

The ROLO training course is a pre-requisite for anyone applying for a LISS/CSCS card. The course is run from our head office in Guildford, Surrey. We can also provide training at your location if numbers are viable. Successful candidates will receive ROLO certificates produced by BALI.

Lantra Sit In ATV Conventional Steer     Day

Skipton, Dalesway Yorkshire LTD . Contact: 01756 611060 sophie@lre3.co.uk http://www.daleswayyorkshire.co.uk

Lantra Sit in ATV training available in Skipton or at your chosen location.

Basic Chainsaw Maintenance & Cross-Cutting Training Course   2 Day at Melton Mowbray

This course covers safety features, preparing the chainsaw for use with correct fuel and lubrication and cross cutting timber accurately. This unit must be completed before progressing on to further chainsaw courses.

Level 2 Award in Felling and Processing Trees up to 380mm (CS31)   3.5 Day at Melton Mowbray

This course will further expand on your knowledge gained by the CS30 course (City & Guilds NPTC Level 2 Award in Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross Cutting). This course will take you onto felling trees up to 380mm in diameter, including performing tree operations using hand tools.

Level 3 Award in Felling and Processing Trees over 380mm (CS32)   3.5 Day at Melton Mowbray

This course further expands on the knowledge gained in CS30 and CS31. This course will take you onto felling trees over 380mm in diameter, including performing tree operations using hand tools. The felling technique will be appropriate to tree size, weight, condition and species.

Level 2 Using Pesticides Safely (PA1 & PA6)   2 Day at Melton Mowbray


The PA1 unit is a theory based course and covers the legislation, health and safety requirements, precautions, product label information and safe handling and use of pesticides. The PA6A practical unit covers the handling and safe use of pesticides using knapsack sprayers.

Level 2 Award in Safe Use of Pesticides (Boom Sprayer Applicator) PA2   2 Day at Melton Mowbray http://www.brooksbymelton.ac.uk/course/competence-in-the-safe-use-of-pesticides-pa2/

Completion of the assessment will give individuals a lifetime qualification and the commercial licence for the relevant units completed. This course would benefit anyone already working or considering working in a horticulture environment, agriculture or anywhere pesticides may need to be implemented.

Level 2 Safe Use of Ride-On Self Propelled Mowers   2 Day at Brooksby Campus

This course covers pre-use checks, maintenance, identification of controls and instruments, and operating the machine, taking in to account the type of cutting mechanism used (rotary, cylinder, flail or reciprocating knife).

Level 2 Safe Use of Pedestrian Controlled Mowers   4 Day at Brooksby Campus

This course covers pre-use checks, maintenance, identification of controls and instruments, and operating the machine taking in to account the type of cutting mechanism used (rotary, cylinder, flail or reciprocating knife or greens machine with interchangeable units).

Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticides (PA4S and G)   2 Day at Brooksby Campus

This course would benefit anyone already working or considering working in a horticulture environment, agriculture or anywhere pesticides may need to be implemented.

Level 2 Safe Use of Manually Fed Wood-Chipper   1 Day at Brooksby Campus

This one day course is theory based with a small practical element, aiming to provide delegates with the basic knowledge to understand the principles of best practice in operating a wood chipper. It also covers maintenance aspects.

Level 2 Safe Use of Stump Grinders   1 Day at Brooksby Campus

This one day course aims to provide delegates with the base knowledge to understand the principles of best practice in operating and maintaining Stump Grinders.

Level 2 Safe Use of Brush-Cutters and Trimmers    1 Day at Brooksby Campus

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 require employers to provide adequate training in maintenance and operation of brush cutters and trimmers and to ensure that equipment is operated only by employees who have received appropriate training in their safe use.

All above courses with Brooksby Melton College. Contact: 01664 855 444 shortcourses@BrooksbyMelton.ac.uk http://www.brooksbymelton.ac.uk


Updates and Additions to other sections of Training Directory this month

Longer courses


FdSc Agriculture, BSc (Hons) Agriculture, HND International Agriculture, BSc (Hons) International Agriculture with Hadlow College

Level 2 Diploma in Land Based Technology & Level 1 Introduction to Agriculture and the Environment by Kingston Maurward College


Level 1 Practical Arboriculture Skills with Kingston Maurward College

Botany and Horticulture

Level 2 Commercial Gardening & Landscaping with Kingston Maurward College, updated listing


MSc Biological Recording and Ecological Monitoring and PGCert Biological Recording with Manchester Metropolitan University, updated listing

Hobby and Craft

Level 3 Floristry updated listing with Brooksby Melton College 

Land and Countryside Management       

Level 1 Introductory Diploma in Land-Based Studies - Animal Care, Level 2 Technical Qualification in Animal Care, Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management, FdSc Animal Conservation & Biodiversity, FdSc Applied Animal Behavioural Science & Welfare, FdSc Zoo Husbandry & Management, BSc (Hons) Animal Conservation & Biodiversity, BSc (Hons) Animal Management & BSc (Hons) Applied Animal Behavioural Science & Welfare with Hadlow College 


Training Centre / provider listings



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Additions to the Grants and sources of funding listings.


Just one addition this month:  Des Rubens and Bill Wallace Grant  from John Muir Trust


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