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

Published on the second Thursday every month – 10 August 2017

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CJS Newsletters and updates:

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Noteworthy this month:

In the news: The first speech by Michael Gove as Secretary of State, plus reactions [more]

Using new technology to bring new visitors to Forestry Commission woods and forests in England, Forestry Commission. [more]

CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with RSPB. Time to send us your adverts for Volunteers The deadline for advertising is 9 September. Free advertising available. [more]

Event: Community Science in the Natural World Conference 3 Days starting 9 October at National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth by Community Seagrass Initiative. [more]

Logo: Greater Lincolnshire Nature PartnershipPolicy Officer

Based in Horncastle, Lincolnshire


12 month contract full time (part time & secondment opportunities available) 

Do you have an understanding of conservation or health and/or tourism and want to find a way for these sectors to work better together?  Can you get to grips with policy documents and understand what these mean for individuals and wildlife?  

We have an opportunity for a proactive Policy Officer to work across sectors evidencing the value of nature to health and tourism – a natural capital approach.  The role will need to focus on ensuring that the outcomes of this work deliver on the combined objectives of all the organisations involved and can make a real difference to both wildlife and people.  Problem solving and an ability to get on with others will be a clear advantage. 

Knowledge of nature conservation policy, tourism policy and/or health policy will be an advantage as the role primarily covers these areas.  Training will be given but as a time limited post a candidate with these skills will stand out.  This is an ideal opportunity to deliver a number of discrete projects and well as building skills and contacts with other organisations in the sector.  The GLNP is a partnership working with a large number of organisations and people. 

A full current UK driving licence is also required.   

The GLNP is a government accredited Local Nature Partnership and the Policy Officer is a new temporary role.  

For further details and an application form please contact: Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership

www.glnp.org.uk           info@glnp.org.uk          01507 528398 

Closing date for applications: 11am on 29 August 2017

Logo: Peak Ecology LimitedEcologist/Senior Ecologist, Derbyshire

Salary range £20,000 to £27,000 (depending on level of experience) 

Peak Ecology is a dynamic exciting consultancy with an excellent reputation looking to add to its current capability with a suitably skilled and motivated Ecologist or Senior Ecologist. 

The role will be varied and interesting, working on a diverse range of projects across the country. We are looking for someone whom already holds a Level 1 Natural England Class Licence for bats and a good general grounding in ecological surveys to expand and support our busy team.  Any additional licences, experience of EPS licencing and EcIA will be beneficial but not compulsory. 

We anticipate that the candidate will want to progress to a Level 2 Class Licence and Peak Ecology will support this, and wider professional development, through a personal development plan, centered around mentoring/shadowing and internal/external training opportunities.   

All eligible employees will receive a pension, access to a company vehicle and a credit card to help with ‘out of pocket’ expenses.  All employees operate under a TOIL system and competitive annual leave allocation. 

For an informal and confidential chat about this position please contact Jonathan Brickland (07866 897163) or Jessica Eades (07811 835062). 

Closing date for application 1st September 2017 

To apply, please send your CV and a covering letter to Jonathan Brickland at jonathanbrickland@peakecology.co.uk

Logo: Inspiring Healthy LifestylesBiodiversity Internship  

Vac Ref/Post No: 1700/IHL242 

Salary: £17,338 - £17,680 per annum 

Hours: 37 hours per week (including evenings and weekend working) 

Base: Robin Park Headquarters, however required to work flexibly across various sites in the Wigan borough  

Contract Type: Fixed Term Contract until 31st March 2018  

About this role:  An exciting opportunity has become available to assist in the development, management and delivery of Local Nature Reserves (LNR’s), Higher Level Stewardship outputs and co-ordination and leading teams of Custodians and volunteers with habitat work in LNR’s and other countryside sites in Wigan. 

Skills and qualities required:  Applicants must have: 

  • Relevant Degree (e.g. Ecology, Countryside Management or similar) or proven experience in a similar role of managing volunteer groups.
  • Proven experience in managing wildlife habitats and associated species.
  • Evidence of dealing with, supporting and enthusing groups.

Additional information:  To apply for this post please visit our website to download an application form quoting the above reference number and email back to jobs@wlct.org

Alternatively, you can send the application form to the HR Department, Robin Park Headquarters, Loire Drive, Wigan WN5 0UL. 

Closing Date:  Friday 18th August 2017     Proposed Interview Date:    To be confirmed

Logo: North West Kent Countryside PartnershipThe North West Kent Countryside Partnership is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to delivering community-focused nature conservation and access projects across the boroughs of Dartford, Gravesend, Sevenoaks and Bexley.  We are hosted by Kent County Council.  

We are recruiting an Assistant Partnership Officer to help us deliver our work, 4 days a week. The successful candidate will lead our volunteer groups to carry out a wide range of conservation tasks, deliver education sessions to primary schools at Lesnes Abbey (Bexley), run family events in local green spaces and much more. 

If you are passionate about protecting, conserving and enjoying the environment, have a good knowledge of countryside management issues and a "can-do" approach, we would love to hear from you. 

Starting salary: ​£17,827 pro rata

Contract Type: Fixed Term Part Time

Number of Hours: 29.3 hours per week

Contract Duration: 1 year 

For more information and to apply please click here  

To discuss the job in more detail please contact Isabel Shaw on 03000 417 665 or email Isabel.shaw@kent.gov.uk

Logo: Leeds CastleEstate Ranger 

Leeds Castle in Kent is one of the country’s leading heritage visitor attractions, welcoming over 650,000 visitors each year.  As well as the castle we have 500 acres of grounds, parklands and formal gardens. 

We have an exciting new opportunity for an Estate Ranger who will be responsible for the day to day practical and technical management of the wider estate.  This will include forestry, habitat and species management, nature conservation and the ability to engage our visitors with this important work. 

To succeed in this role you must have practical experience in relevant land conservation and access management and have be qualified to Level 3 or equivalent.  You should have appropriate chainsaw experience and qualifications. 

You should be knowledgeable and enthusiastic with good people skills to enable strong relationships (both internal and external) to be built and maintained. 

This is a full time position working 40 hours each week. 

If you would like to be considered for this position please send your CV and covering letter to Mrs J Creasey, HR Manager, Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent. ME17 1PL or email jennycreasey@leeds-castle.co.uk

Outstanding Opportunity for a Senior Ecological Consultant 

Role:                Senior Ecological Consultant

Location:          Kent

Salary:              £30,500 - £33,500

Contract:           Permanent 

With over 75 years’ experience ADAS has an amazing track record of providing environmental consultancy and research expertise to an enviable range of clients both in the private and public sector.  We are a recognised and highly respected leader in the environmental and rural sectors. 

ADAS has recently been acquired by the RSK Group plc which is one of Europe’s leading multidisciplinary environmental consultancies and is ranked number 42 in the Sunday Times Fast Track 200 which rates the success of private companies in the UK.  There has never been a more exciting time to join.   

Our Ecology business comprises a highly skilled team focused on providing ecological services to a wide range of clients, particularly developers, utility companies and the renewable energy and rural industries and as a result of our continued success, we require a Senior Ecological Consultant with the energy and drive to manage ecological consultancy and mitigation works in a fast moving, client focused commercial environment.  The successful candidate will join a team of Ecology professionals who work closely with colleagues in other disciplines, such as Planning, Landscape and Archaeology.   

A full Job Outline, details of how to apply and what we offer are available here

Logo: Somerset Wildlife TrustMendip Hills Countryside Stewardship Facilitator 

£23,001 - £24,694 pa pro-rata for 3 days/week 

Part time role on 4-year fixed term contract based at Cheddar, Somerset  

Somerset Wildlife Trust is seeking an experienced nature conservation officer for this exciting role working with landowners and external organisations in the Mendip Hills as part of our Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund project. This work is helping to restore, recreate and link up valuable grassland and woodland habitats across the Mendip Hills Living Landscape. 

Natural England’s Countryside Stewardship (CS) facilitation fund supports people and organisations that bring farmers, foresters, and other land managers together to improve the local natural environment at a landscape scale.  Following Somerset Wildlife Trust’s successful application to this fund we set up the Mendip Hills Facilitation Fund project. Working closely with the local Natural England team, the Mendip Hills CS facilitator will plan, coordinate and carry out training events for a diverse group of 13 landowners in the west Mendip area in order to achieve and deliver local CS priorities.  As current ELS and HLS agreements come to an end, the facilitator will work with group members to prepare CS Mid-Tier applications. Using their knowledge of habitat restoration and species monitoring the facilitator will work closely with the group and Trust’s Landscape Ecologist to restore and reconnect grassland and woodland habitats across the west Mendip area.  

You will be a self-motivated individual with proven experience of working with land owners and managers to provide nature conservation advice using your knowledge of UK habitat and species management.  You will have substantial knowledge of agri-environment schemes as well as the ecology of UK grassland and woodland habitats and species, with the ability to carry out habitat surveys. Experience in the use of GIS software is essential.  Ideally, you will have experience of project management, budget management and writing reports.   

Please apply by completing the Somerset Wildlife Trust application form. Your application must not exceed 5 pages and should include up to 2 pages on how you meet the person specification, highlighting how you match the knowledge, experience and skill requirements of the role – refer to the job description. Send to: recruitment@somersetwildlife.org. Previous applicants need not reapply. 

The full job description and application form are available on our website 

Closing date for applications: 9 a.m. Monday 11th September 2017. 

Interview date: Thursday 21st September 2017 in our Cheddar office.

Islay Estates Company Is looking for a new Estate Manager to help run a large traditional Estate based on the Isle of Islay. 

Knowledge of farming, forestry and sporting would be helpful but not essential.  Must have the ability to drive forward tourism and community relations and most importantly to provide strong leadership for an existing team.  Financial acumen and IT skills will be important. 

The post would be working direct for the owners of the Estate.  

Package negotiable to include vehicle and four bedroom house.   

All enquiries to jane@islayestates.com

Logo: Cainrgorms National Park AuthorityJob Title: Landscape Adviser

Salary: £28,770 - 34,633 (Pro-rata) (Band D) plus excellent benefits such as flexitime, generous annual leave and a defined pension scheme to name just a few

Contract: Permanent

Working Hours: Monday- Friday (22.5 hours per week) (Job Share)

Location: National Park Headquarters, Grantown on Spey 

We have an exciting opportunity for a Landscape Adviser to join our Heritage Team. They provide advice to board members, colleagues and outside organisations on all landscape matters from the truly landscape to local scales. This includes advising on road, housing and tourist developments to the protection of habitats and species many of which are only found in the Cairngorms National Park. We work in an integrated way, in a creative environment where landscape, conservation, land use and planning overlap. 

The CNPA has always sought innovative ways to develop techniques for landscape conservation. We have developed unique online access to our landscape information via the CNP Landscape Toolkit. We initiated the mapping of wildness which led to the first policy on wildness in the UK. In 2015 we set up the Cairngorms Scenic Photo Posts project, which was nominated for last year’s Nature of Scotland Innovation award. The new landscape adviser will be expected to lead on similar innovative projects. 

Cairngorms National Park is more than just an idyllic place to work, the Park Authority is one of the UK’s Top 100 best not for profit companies to work for. Our Grantown on Spey headquarters is within easy reach of Aviemore and Inverness.  We also offer many benefits such as; a great place to work, cycle to work scheme, childcare vouchers, generous annual leave allowance, flexitime and a very competitive pension scheme. 

The National Park Authority is committed to equality of opportunity and we welcome applicants from all sectors of society.  If you are an applicant with disabilities who meets the essential requirements of the post, we will interview you. 

If you would like the opportunity to work for an organisation that is focused on protecting and enhancing this National Park then please download the job description and application pack from our website

 If you require more information, for an application pack or if you require any adjustments to be made to the application process due to disability please contact us on 01479 873535 or email: recruitment@cairngorms.co.uk 

To find out more information about the role and responsibilities, you can contact Matthew Hawkins (CMLI), the Landscapes and Ecology Manager on 01479 870571 

Please note, we do not accept Curriculum Vitae (CV). Applications can be emailed to recruitment@cairngorms.co.uk or posted to CNPA, 14 The Square, Grantown-on-Spey, PH26 3HG 

The closing date for applications is 12pm on Friday 25th August 2017, late applications will not be accepted.

Logo: ADASRole: Senior Land / Environmental Management Consultant

Location: Oxfordshire

Salary: Competitive

Contract: Permanent
With over 75 years’ experience ADAS has an amazing track record of providing environmental consultancy and research expertise to an enviable range of clients both in the private and public sector.  We are a recognised and highly respected leader in the environmental and rural sectors. 

ADAS has recently been acquired by the RSK Group plc which is one of Europe’s leading multidisciplinary environmental consultancies and is ranked number 42 in the Sunday Times Fast Track 200 which rates the success of private companies in the UK.  There has never been a more exciting time to join.   

As part of our Environment business, our Land Management team are focused on providing services to a wide range of clients and projects and combine sound environmental science with pragmatic advice and experience to meet our clients’ requirements and deliver the best possible outcomes and we have a vacancy for a Senior Land / Environmental Management Consultant.  The successful candidate will join a team of professionals who work closely with colleagues in other disciplines, such as Ecology, Landscape, Archaeology and Planning. 

A full Job Outline, details of how to apply and what we offer are available here

Logo: Nene Park TrustHead of Operations

£50,000 - £54,000 (plus benefits) 

Nene Park is one of the largest and most visited country parks in the region with over 700 hectares of land and approaching 2 million visits per year. An exciting and challenging opportunity has arisen at Nene Park Trust to lead the operational management of the Park, which encompasses Park Management and Visitor Services and includes:

  • The maintenance of the Park and its infrastructure
  • The provision and operation of visitor services (incorporating visitor information, the visitor centre(s), events and facilities)
  • The Health and Safety of our visitors and team

A key member of the Senior Leadership Team the post holder will be responsible and accountable for developing and delivering the operational plans and programmes to implement the Trust’s Strategy and Business Plan and for developing the management information required to drive improved performance and charitable impact.

The successful candidate will have extensive experience of leading large teams to delivery strategic priorities in a park management and/or a visitor services environment.   

To learn more about the opportunity, candidates can download an information pack here 

If you would like to discuss the opportunity informally, please call our Chief Executive Matthew Bradbury, on 01733 234193.   

CVs and cover letters to be sent to hannah.gibson@neneparktrust.org.uk 

The closing date is 9am on 31 August 2017. First round interviews will be held at the Trust offices on 15 September 2017, followed by second round interviews and assessment centre on 22 September.  

Recruitment adverts elsewhere with CJS:

Volunteers: 35 adverts for voluntary posts added this month  see all of these online at: http://www.countryside-jobs.com/vols

During the past month CJS Weekly has included 261 job adverts, 226 were for paid posts.  To see these you have to subscribe, find out how here.

Practical work days and conservation tasks section for one off, one day / half day activities, see these here.

Surveys, Fieldwork and Citizen Science  is another growing section, see details here, recent additions are below.

Free advertising is available on all these pages except CJS Online, contact us for more details.

Surveys and Fieldwork: additions in July

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. 



Become a Flood Warden 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



Project Godwit

We have been colour ringing black-tailed godwits at the Nene and Ouse Washes to help us understand more about the bird’s movements in the breeding and non-breeding season. Your sightings really do help us build a picture of where these birds go and the information provided informs our conservation efforts. http://c-js.co.uk/2tPN988  



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. http://c-js.co.uk/2sEW3It


Living with Mammals survey PTES is calling for volunteers to take part in next 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 next March (2018), contact PTES. http://c-js.co.uk/2nchGIf  



Reptile Slough Genebank

If you find reptile skins while UK surveying, please submit them to us to help create a non-invasive source of DNA for conservation research. Detailed instructions can be found here: https://www.arc-trust.org/genebank  


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

CJS FocusTime to send us your adverts for Volunteers.

Have you found yourself short of a few helping hands this summer?  Do need an assistant at the teddy bear's picnic or someone to check the cattle on the furthest edge of the reserve?  Or maybe just someone to pop in and count the donations in the charity boxes?

The next edition of CJS Focus will be looking at Volunteering once again, this time in association with RSPB. Articles from: A Focus on Nature, Canal & River Trust, Countryside Management Association, East Ayrshire Leisure, Scottish Countryside Rangers Association, Woodland Trust, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust The deadline for advertising is 9 September.

logo: Forestry Commission EnglandUsing new technology to bring new visitors to Forestry Commission woods and forests in England.


The Gruffalo Spotters campaign was launched in February 2017 at FC sites across England and was delivered as a partnership between Forestry Commission England and Magic Light Pictures. The campaign uses the Gruffalo Spotter, an augmented reality app, to bring the Gruffalo and other characters from the bestselling children’s book to life along an interactive walking trail. ‎The app and trail provide a unique opportunity to engage visitors with the outdoors, providing learning messages about the forests and the habitats within them in a fun and innovative new way.


Image: Nexus Studio 

Magic Light Pictures, the Gruffalo licensor, produced the app, working with Nexus Studio. It is the first time that such technology has been developed for use in an outdoor setting and it has been a huge success from day one in drawing new and returning visitors to the forests. There were over 1 million views of the promotional film in the first 10 days after launch and the app achieved the number 1 spot in both the kids iPhone and iPad charts. The app also trended on the app store 2 days after launch.


Families follow clues along the trail and track signs of their favourite characters based on The Gruffalo, the best-selling picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler.


Once families have spotted the characters, the app is used to bring the 3D character animation to life and take photos alongside them. Their photos are automatically added to the device’s gallery. Forestry Commission England has seen a huge level of engagement with the app, with hundreds of pictures shared by visitors across their social media channels.

image: Nexus Studios 

Image: Nexus Studios 

The app mixes technology with the real world, encouraging children to get exploring and enabling them to have a new forest experience. The self-led trail and accompanying activity pack are full of facts and activities about forest animals and were developed by the Forestry Commission England’s Learning team to help connect visitors with our forests. They also worked with a group of rangers from sites across England to add their practical experience of how the campaign would best work on the ground.


Katy David, Head of Marketing Channels and Supporter Development at the Forestry Commission said, “This is an exciting development for Forestry Commission England and creates a different forest experience for visitors. The Gruffalo is a world renowned story and to be able to bring the characters to life in their natural setting is fantastic. It’s great we’ve had the opportunity to join the two worlds of technology and nature together in a sensitive way”


Image: Nexus Studios 

Gruffalo Spotters has received excellent feedback from family visitors. Families who got the exclusive chance to test the app before launch said:

“The app that works alongside the trail is genius. It brings the animals to life and lets the children interact with all the characters. Fun for the whole family, highly recommend”.

“We really enjoyed the new Gruffalo Trail, it certainly has lots to keep the little ones busy and gets them thinking about the characters in the story.  I thought it was a good distance too, long enough that we can spend a good amount of time outside but not too long that little legs get tired!  The app was easy to use and adds another element to the trail, and I'm sure will help to engage older children, making it appeal to a wider age range.”


Forestry Commission England has worked with Magic Light Pictures for four years and this campaign has been the most ambitious yet for both sides. Barney Goodland, Head of Digital at Magic Light, explains more about their part in the campaign:

“Our partnership with Forestry Commission England has been an overwhelming success from the start so in this, our fourth year of activity, we wanted to do something really special. We’re always looking to further children’s enjoyment of The Gruffalo and this was an innovative way to incorporate new technology with a real world experience. Most importantly for us the app is completely free, which means that it’s there for everyone to enjoy.”


For more information about the Gruffalo Spotters campaign and a map of all the participating sites, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/Gruffalo . The Gruffalo Spotter’s app has been developed and animated by Nexus Studios and is available for free with no in-app purchases from the App Store and Google Play.


(This article was commissioned for CJS Focus on Fundraising and Promotion but due to the snap election had to be held until the period of purdah was over)  




Government policy, announcement and reactions

The Unfrozen Moment - Delivering A Green Brexit - defra

Secretary of State Michael Gove sets out his vision on the future of our natural environment in a speech at WWF's Living Planet Centre

Click through the read the speech in full.


Response: Creating a new gold standard for the environment – the Secretary of State’s keynote speech today - The Wildlife Trusts

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove, promised to deliver a “green Brexit” in a keynote speech today and said that leaving the European Union provides a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to reform farming, fisheries and land management.

The Wildlife Trusts welcome the passion and commitment in Mr Gove’s speech – it’s extremely heartening to hear a Secretary of State say that he cares about the environment and wants to make commitments to enhancing it using “gold standard” policies. Particularly welcome are promises to tie future farm support to environmental improvements. 

Over the last 40 years, a staggering 56% of species across the UK have declined. Fifteen percent of species are in danger of disappearing altogether. The need for change is pressing.

Joan Edwards, Director, Public Affairs, The Wildlife Trusts, “It’s encouraging to hear a Secretary of State speaking so positively about improving the environment. This ambition comes at the right time - our country’s wildlife has never been in so much trouble, but there are huge opportunities ahead to improve how we look after our environment. We’re very much look forward to working with Mr Gove and Defra to help strengthen protection and enable recovery for our wildlife, seas and countryside”. 


Response: Woodland Trust response as Michael Gove talks about a 'Green Brexit'

Responding to today's speech on the future of the environment by the Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove, in which he stated the importance of woodland creation and need for policies and incentives to stimulate it, Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight, said: “Only a month ago we were calling for fresh thinking to arrest the 12,000 hectare shortfall in woodland creation and today’s announcement could herald the change needed. Farm payments which reward environmental protection and enhancement can only nurture more integrated land management, in which trees play a crucial role.  Whether for flood alleviation, improving soil quality or enhancing animal welfare an increase in trees planted, in the right way, can support measures which benefit the public, farming and the economy.  Alongside yesterday’s Defra confirmation of £13m in grants being available this autumn and today’s land management vision presented by the CLA there seems to at last be an appetite to revolutionise our outdated approach to the countryside.”


Response: National Trust response to Michael Gove’s first major speech as Environment Secretary


Response:  The future of the countryside is green - Countryside Alliance

In his speech Mr Gove outlined his vision for the countryside and future ongoing support for farming. He recognised that “seventy per cent of our land is farmed” and our “beautiful landscape has not happened by accident” but is the result of active management. Mr Gove made clear farmers will only get payments for environmental goods and enhancing rural life.

The Countryside Alliance was particularly pleased that Mr Gove recognised the role farmers and land managers play in managing the countryside and the specific need to support upland farmers by protecting the “human ecology”. Upland farming is impossible without subsidy and it provides public benefits which could never be met by the market. This is something we have long been concerned about and recognising the role upland farmers play in managing and maintaining some of our most iconic rural landscapes is vital.


Environment Secretary pledges action on ocean plastics - defra

The Environment Secretary has set out how the government is protecting our oceans.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove pledged action to reduce plastic waste choking our oceans as he set out his ambition for the UK to lead the world in environmental protection.

Around eight million tonnes of plastic makes its way into oceans each year, posing a serious threat to our natural and marine environment – experts estimate plastic is ingested by 31 species of marine mammals and over 100 species of sea birds.

As new figures published today (21/7/17) revealed more than nine billion fewer plastic bags were used since the government introduced a 5p charge, an 83 per cent reduction, the Environment Secretary set out further plans to prevent other sources of plastic finding their way into our oceans and seas during a speech entitled ‘Delivering a Green Brexit’ today.

Mr Gove confirmed legislation will be introduced this year to ban the sale and manufacture of microbeads – tiny pieces of plastic that are easily swallowed by marine life – in cosmetics and personal care products such as toothpastes and shower gels.

Speaking at WWF UK on Friday morning, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: " Eight million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the world’s oceans each year, putting marine wildlife under serious threat. In October 2015, the government introduced the 5p carrier bag charge. Figures released today show that policy’s enormous success – nine billion fewer carrier bags distributed since the charge was introduced, a fall of 83 per cent. More than £95million raised from the charge has been donated to environmental, educational and other good causes. Last year the government launched a consultation on banning microbeads in personal care products, which have such a devastating effect on marine life. We are responding to that consultation today and we will introduce legislation to implement that ban later this year. But there is more we can do to protect our oceans, so we will explore new methods of reducing the amount of plastic - in particular plastic bottles - entering our seas, improve incentives for reducing waste and litter, and review the penalties available to deal with polluters - all part of a renewed strategy on waste and resources that looks ahead to opportunities outside the EU."


Banning the use of microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products - defra Consultation outcome

We want to know what you think about our plans to ban the manufacture and sale of cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads.

We are also looking for evidence of the effect of other sources of microplastics on the marine environment. This will inform future UK actions to protect the marine environment.

Download the summary of responses document (pdf)  


Response: Microbeads ban is great news, but plastics problem is still enormous - Greenpeace

Commenting on the government proposal published today to ban microbeads from personal care and cosmetic products, Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Louisa Casson said: “The UK government has just proposed the strongest ban on microbeads in the world to date. This is great news for our environment and a positive sign of Britain’s global leadership on ocean plastics. It’s crucial that ministers have left the door open to broadening the ban in future"


NFU joins call to put rural issues on government agenda – NFU

Government needs to focus on developing rural-proofed policies both now andimage: NFU post-Brexit, according to leading rural campaign groups including the NFU.

Image: NFU

The Rural Coalition has organised a parliamentary reception to launch its 2017 Rural Coalition Statement on Thursday. It is letting government know that it is available as a sounding board for government policy.

Above all, its members want a Brexit deal and domestic policy agenda that works for rural communities.

NFU Deputy President Minette Batters, who will be attending the event, has highlighted the importance of a government which works for both farmers and growers and their rural communities. She said: “The strength of the Rural Coalition is that it brings together key rural partners where we have common goals to promote more effective rural policy and where we can act to share good practice.”



£13 million fund to increase England's woodland - defra

The next round of the Woodland Creation grant has been confirmed.

A £13 million fund to help landowners plant more trees to protect wildlife, boost the timber sector and reduce flood risk will soon open for applications, Forestry Minister Thérèse Coffey confirmed today (20/7/17).

Farmers, foresters and land managers across the UK will be able to apply for up to £6,800 per hectare to plant, weed and protect more trees when application forms for the next round of the government’s Woodland Creation grant are made available in September.

The fund – part of the Countryside Stewardship scheme – will help plant more than 3 million trees, creating 1,900 hectares of new woodland and contributing to the government’s ambition to plant 11 million trees, with a further one million in towns and cities.

Guidance and application forms will be available in September, with the application window opening in January 2018.

A range of grants are available to support the creation of new woodland and sustainable woodland management, with Forestry Commission online advice available on the application process.


A £10m fund to restore peatland opens for applications - defra

Applications are being welcomed to fund peatland restoration across England

£10 million grant scheme to restore England’s iconic peatlands has officially opened for bids, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey announced today (21/7/17).

In England, peatlands cover 11 per cent of the country and provide a key habitat for birds such as the merlin, dunlin and golden plover. They provide 70 per cent of the country’s drinking water and store more than 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. But it is estimated as much as four fifths of our peatland is in need of restoration.

Funding will be made available for schemes that restore upland and lowland peatlands, create habitats for vulnerable wildlife, reduce flood risk by slowing rain water flow and increase carbon capture.

The government fund is in addition to the £4 million Defra has already allocated to existing Natural England peatland restoration schemes across the country, from Cumbria to Cornwall, which have raised water levels for mosses to thrive and seen rare species replanted.

Bids with the greatest potential for greenhouse gas mitigation and projects that deliver better value for money and maximise environmental benefits will be favoured. The scheme is for capital works and is open to everyone outside central government and their agencies.

Funding will be available for three years from April 2018 as part of Defra’s £100 million of capital funding for direct investment in projects that support the natural environment.

The closing date for applications will be 20 November 2017 and applications will be made via Defra’s e-tendering platform


Funding available now to restore Scotland’s peatlands - Scottish Natural Heritage

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) today urged land owners, managers, farmers, crofters and estates to apply for funding to help protect precious peatlands.

the Flow Country (image: SNH)The Flow Country (image: SNH)

From Shetland to the Solway more than 20% of Scotland is covered by peat – an area almost the same size as Wales. Peatlands provide multiple benefits when healthy.

Restoring these magnificent peatlands has been made possible thanks to additional Scottish Government funding of £8million which will see another 8000 hectares of damaged peatlands start their road to recovery this year.

The Peatland Action Fund, run by SNH and launched in April, has already had more than £4million of applications but wants further applications before the closing date at the end of October.

Restoration techniques start with ‘rewetting’ of peatland, mostly through ditch blocking. This reconnects peatlands with water catchments, helping to slow river flows and, in some cases, ease downstream flooding. Other restoration techniques being trialled include peat hag re-profiling, re-vegetating bare peat and forest to pre-existing bog recovery.


£200 million boost for rural England - defra

Grants expected to generate more than 6,000 new jobs overall and support growth of rural businesses and broadband projects.

Funding for rural businesses that will generate thousands of jobs and provide new support to expand and improve their premises has been announced as part of a £200million grant offer.

Announcing the latest round of Rural Development Programme funding, Lord Gardiner confirmed that for the first time under the current scheme specific funding will be available to support new rural broadband projects, and provide significant amounts of funding to on-farm businesses to invest in new infrastructure such as new buildings and machinery.

The current Rural Development Programme for England is expected to generate 6,750 new jobs. Already more than 1,400 projects have been agreed which are expected to create over 2,300 jobs.

The grants will also fund landowners to improve farm productivity and invest in rural tourism opportunities.

This funding will make sure businesses in remote locations can get online, help farmers install cutting-edge technology, create new tourist hotspots and bring high quality jobs to rural communities across the country.

This round of funding will include:

  • £30m to improve rural broadband – the grants available will encourage growth by helping provide broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster where this is not available or planned. It will supplement existing Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport investment in rural broadband.
  • £45m to help rural businesses grow and invest in new equipment – rural businesses, including those engaged in tourism and food production, can apply for funding to invest in their company, helping them to expand, diversify, and invest in new technology.
  • £120m for projects that improve farm productivity – this money will help farmers, foresters and landowners manage their land more effectively. Funding will be available for a wide range of purposes, including woodland management equipment, creating on-farm reservoirs and using water more efficiently.


Funding boosts for local authorities to transform local communities and release land for new homes – Local Government Association

The Government has today (Tuesday 1 August) launched a £54 million package to transform local communities and release land for thousands of new homes. This comes as part of a new cross-government partnership to make smarter use of government-owned property.

DCLG’s £45 million ‘Land Release Fund’, launched in partnership with the Cabinet Office and Local Government Association’s One Public Image: Local Government AssociationEstate programme, will empower local councils to release their unused or surplus land for housing. This will help to meet the Government’s ambition to unlock enough council-owned land for at least 160,000 homes by 2020.

Image: Local Government Association

Councils can now bid for funding for land remediation and small-scale infrastructure, which will help bring sites forward for housing that would not have otherwise been developed.

Alongside this, One Public Estate is making £9 million funding available to support more councils to deliver ambitious property-focused programmes.

The programme channels funding and support through councils to deliver ambitious property-based projects. By 2020, councils on the programme are expected to deliver £615m in capital receipts, £158 million running costs savings, create 44,000 new jobs and release land for 25,000 new homes.

This partnership between DCLG and One Public Estate will give local authorities greater access to support from across government and help them to release more land, more efficiently.


Major project to protect Orkney’s internationally important wildlife wins Heritage Lottery Fund support – Scottish Natural Heritage

An ambitious project to save Orkney’s native wildlife has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) it was announced today (Tuesday 1 August).

The Orkney Native Wildlife Project is a partnership between Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and RSPB Scotland and is set to be the largest project of its kind in the world.

It will safeguard the unique and internationally important native wildlife of Orkney now and into the future by addressing the threat it faces from an invasive non-native predator: the stoat.

Development funding of £64,600 has been awarded to help the partnership progress plans for an ambitious stoat eradication project before applying for a full grant of more than £3 million in 2018.

Orkney is an important home for wildlife. Despite the combined land area of Orkney’s 70 islands accounting for less than 1% of the UK, the islands are home to more than a fifth of the UK’s breeding hen harriers, internationally important numbers of seabirds and one of the few places in the UK in which waders such as curlews are still a common breeding species.


Schemes across the country to receive £15 million of natural flood management funding – Defra

Floods minister announces which projects around the country have been allocated funding for natural flood defences, part of the government’s drive to roll out innovative techniques to reduce flood risk.

Image: DefraImage: Defra

New allocations of flood management funding will allow homes, businesses and communities around the country to benefit from increased flood protection, Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey announced today.

34 community led projects have been named as winners of a £1m government funded competition, the first of its kind, and will now be able to realise their innovative plans to use landscape features such as ponds, banks, meanders, channels, and trees to store, drain or slow flood water.

24 other catchment scale projects have also been allocated funding to develop larger scale projects which will benefit wider areas; with Cumbria, Greater Manchester Merseyside and Cheshire and Wolsingham all receiving over £1m of funding.

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “This funding will help more than 50 projects around the country take full advantage of innovative natural flood management measures. Flood defence technology and engineering is better than ever and by using a mix of natural and concrete defences, we can provide the best flood protection for individual areas.”


Land and Countryside Management  

Farming Minister George Eustice MP visits Hampshire farm to see how wildlife can thrive on a farm growing oats for our breakfast cereals - Wildlife Trusts

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, George Eustice MP, visited Hampshire on 7 July and met farmer, Nick Rowsell, who grows oats under the Jordans Farm Partnership with The Wildlife Trusts and LEAF.

This tranquil landscape of rolling chalk downland is vital for nature’s recovery and the farm lies within the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s Faccombe Woodland to Kingsclere Downs Living Landscape. Semi-natural lowland grasslands like chalk downland is one of the most threatened habitats in the UK. So much had been ploughed up but this part at least is being returned to its former glory.

Nick produces oats for Jordans on rolling downs and hills alongside providing great food, shelter and breeding sites for rare birds like stone curlew and woodlark. Pollinators also thrive thanks to the seed mixes being used. The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has advised Nick how best to manage land for these species and willow tit, Duke of Burgundy butterfly and rare arable flowers so creating bigger, better and more joined-up habitats for wildlife.

The Jordans Farm Partnership is a great example of how wildlife and farming can work together, but to thrive on future will require continuation of government schemes like Countryside Stewardship. The Minister was urged to provide certainty for farmers by opening application windows for Countryside Stewardship before we leave the EU and to retain such schemes post-Brexit.


To mark National Countryside Week:

Public starkly unaware of the tough realities of farming - The Prince’s Countryside Fund

According to new research by The Prince’s Countryside Fund, the UK public appears to have a rosy view of farming life, with 1 in 4 (25%) UK adults liking the idea of giving up their day job and working on a farm.

However, the findings of the ‘Who’d be a Farmer Today?’ report, launched to mark the start of National Countryside Week (Monday 31st July to Sunday 6th August) highlights a disconnect between the positive perception and the tougher realities of the profession.

When asked to estimate the annual incomes of UK farmers, the study found the public’s guess averaged at £46,801, with 9% of people estimating farmers’ salaries to be over £75,000. DEFRA reported in 2015 that average incomes fell below £20,000; the lowest point since 2007. Furthermore, the Fund’s previous Cash Flow Crisis in Farming report found 50% of farmers no longer make a living from farming alone.  Interestingly, only 32% of respondents said their knowledge of the countryside and farming was either poor or very poor, while 95% of farmers surveyed feel they don’t think the British public understands the everyday challenges that farmers face  Research with farmers indicated that the majority of challenges facing family run farms today are financial: poor commodity prices coming top (26%), with the potential loss of the Single Farm Payment (19%) and costs being too high (15%) cited as concerns.

Lord Curry, Chairman of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said: "The true reality of what it takes to be a farmer is not widely understood. Many of us envisage the picturesque countryside lifestyle with a comfortable living. Unfortunately, for one of the oldest professions which contributes over £108bn a year to the economy, the reality can be very different. Farmers work long hard hours, receive modest pay for their efforts, have financial instability and are now faced with growing uncertainty. The farming industry needs support from the British public through the buying of home produced food to help maintain its viability for the future."

You can view the full report here. (PDF) 


West Pennine Moors becomes largest protected wildlife site in a decade - Lancashire Wildlife Trust

West Pennine Moors (image: Alan Wright, via Lancashire Wildlife Trust)The West Pennine Moors is the largest new site of special scientific interest (SSSI) notified by Natural England since 2004, covering a total of 76 square kilometres between Chorley, Blackburn, Bolton and Haslingden in Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

West Pennine Moors (image: Alan Wright, via Lancashire Wildlife Trust)

The West Pennine Moors is a fabulous place for all of us. It is about 100 square miles of moorland north of Oldham, Rochdale, Bury and Bolton, and it is surrounded by millions of people.
The moorland and its surrounding woodland is home to a variety of wildlife, including a range of breeding birds and large colonies of black headed gull. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust has been amongst those at the forefront of the campaign to create a SSSI.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trusts Head of Conservation, Tim Mitcham said “We are thrilled by this news. The West Pennine Moors are an incredibly important area for nature conservation and to have this level of protection designated is a significant step forward”
Natural England’s Chief Executive, James Cross, said: “This is a significant moment for the protection of wildlife across a wild and beautiful expanse of north-west England. Our upland landscapes provide vital wildlife habitats and clean water, reduce flood risk and bring enjoyment and a sense of well-being to millions of people."


Report shows Welsh countryside improvements – Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Farmers, land managers and foresters contributing to improvements in Welsh countryside for people and nature, new report shows

A Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) report published today (Tuesday 25 July) on behalf of a wider consortium for Welsh GovernmentReport front cover (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) reports on early findings of the impact of the Glastir land management scheme and long-term trends in the Welsh countryside. Evidence from over 50 indicators collected in a major field survey campaign suggests there have been many improvements in the Welsh countryside for people and nature over the last 30-40 years.

Report front cover (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)

The report found there are two to three times more indicators improving (26-30%) than declining (8-14%) in the short and long term, with the remaining 60% showing no change.

Real success has been seen in the improvement of blanket bogs over the last two decades which has been the focus of so much restoration action. Improvement has also been seen in stream water quality and there is now overall stability in bird diversity and specialist butterfly species, with improvements in woodland and upland breeding bird populations. Overall, plant species richness and those indicative of good condition are stable or improving in woodland, open habitat and improved land. More public rights of way are now easy to use.

Remaining areas of concern are just under half of our Historic Environment Features are under some type of threat, 35% priority bird species remain in decline and only a minority of ponds are in good ecological condition. Soil quality is generally stable, but with some early warning signs of some potential problems which need to be monitored going forward.


Former traffic blackspot recognised as wildlife haven - National Trust

A once notorious traffic blackspot has been converted into a top wildlife haven after habitat restoration by the National Trust with Natural England.

The Devil’s Punch Bowl, which was separated from Hindhead Common by the A3, has undergone huge improvements after the creation of the Hindhead Tunnel by Highways England.

Hindhead Tunnel (picture: Highways England, via National Trust)Hindhead Tunnel (picture: Highways England, via National Trust) 

Six years on from the opening of the tunnel, which saw the restoration of  this Surrey Hills nationally protected landscape, management techniques set out under Higher Level Stewardship and Countryside Stewardship have also seen the restoration of fragile and endangered historic heathland habitat, and the return of rare and diverse breeding birds such as woodlark and nightjar.  The nationally scarce heath tiger beetle has been sighted, and conditions are now favourable for the return of the silver studded blue butterfly.

The Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) has now been assessed by Natural England as meeting its nature conservation targets, and is considered to be in favourable condition.

Matt Cusack, Lead Ranger for the National Trust said: “I am thrilled we’ve achieved favourable status for Hindhead and the Punch Bowl during my watch. The removal of the A3 in July 2011 was a major milestone, enabling us to thin trees and transform the site into a swathe of heathland.  But the site has been under a Higher Level Stewardship agreement since 2008.  Heather mowing, the introduction of woodlark nesting areas, grazing and scrub management conducted under the scheme has transformed it. "


Rare moss found in new sites on the National Forest Estate - Forestry Commission Scotland

A rare moss has been found in several new sites on the National Forest Estate. Buxbaumia viridis, or Green Shield-moss, is a nationally scarce moss and rated as endangered.

Green Shield Moss (Image: Colin Leslie)The moss differs to almost every other moss in that its leaves are not visible – only the distinct bright green fruiting body can be seen over winter, from November until April.  It prefers logs where there are areas of bare bark or little competition from other bryophytes.

Green Shield Moss (Image: Colin Leslie)

In 2016, the distribution of the moss was only known on 40 sites, from Garve to Kincardine. The most notable hotspot was at Mar Lodge in Aberdeenshire, where in 2016, 12 separate populations were located at two sites.

A survey organised by Scottish Natural Heritage over winter 2016/17 found new locations in four of the 10 forest districts across Scotland.  In Tay Forest District two new sites have been found and in Lochaber Forest District, the most westerly population in Europe was discovered.

Gareth Mason, Environment Ranger, said: "The surveyors walked an average of 35km at every new site before the moss was discovered.  This demonstrates that it is more practical to focus surveying for Green Shield-moss in coupes where it is known to be present nearby, and where the particular habitat requirements occur.

"We are legally required to protect and enhance this species so we joined forces with SNH to visit a site in Lochaber Forest District, to discuss the practical methods that should be used to protect this species. Following on from this we will produce a management guidance note to support a licensing application process."


Volunteers pitch in to tackle balsam blight - Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Volunteers have spent 120 hours 'bashing' a rampant non-native plant from the banks of the river Wallington and one of its tributaries.

Himalayan balsam flower © HIWWTIntroduced to the UK by the Victorians as an ornamental garden plant, Himalayan balsam has spread rapidly along riverbanks, out-competing our native wildlife. It's seed-pods ‘explode’ when ripe and when the seeds fall into the river they are carried downstream to form large colonies of plants, sometimes reaching an amazing four or five metres in height.

Himalayan balsam flower © HIWWT

In a bid to help reduce the spread of the plant across the whole of the river system, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust teamed up with East Hampshire Catchment Partnership to remove the invasive plants.

Volunteers from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Purbrook & Widley Residents Association and energy company SSE cleared about 2km of river banks of the invasive plant. The area was on the Potwell Tributary was east of Southwick Village, including a section at the Wildlife Trust’s Hookheath nature reserve.

Meanwhile a couple of km away at Durley Mill, volunteers from Portsmouth & District Angling Society, Sparsholt College, and Groundwork got to work.



National Parks  

Euphoria as Lake District becomes a World Heritage Site – Lake District National Park Authority

The Lake District has become a World Heritage Site joining iconic locations such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef and Grand Canyon as a place of international acclaim.

View of Ullswater from Gowbarrow Park (Lake District National Park/Andrew Locking)Today’s (Sunday 9 July) announcement in Krakow has led to jubilation among 25 organisations in the Lake District National Park Partnership who had put the bid together for UNESCO recognition in the cultural landscape category.

Chairman of the Partnership, Lord Clark of Windermere, described the prestigious status as momentous and will bring great benefits for locals, visitors, tourism, businesses and farming. It now joins just over 1,000 World Heritage Sites worldwide.

View of Ullswater from Gowbarrow Park (Lake District National Park/Andrew Locking)

Three key themes underpinned the bid for World Heritage Site status, recognising the Lake District National Park as a cultural landscape of international significance. These include world ranking examples of identity - the dramatic farmed landscape; inspiration - art, literature and love of the place. This in turn sparked the birth of conservation - people fought and invested to look after this special corner of England.

Lord Clark explained: “It is this exceptional blend which makes our Lake District so spectacularly unique and we are delighted UNESCO has agreed. A great many people have come together to make this happen and we believe the decision will have long and lasting benefits for the spectacular Lake District landscape, the 18million visitors we welcome every year and for the people who call the National Park their home.”


CJS in DepthDuring National Parks Week (24-30 July) we highlighted some of the in-depth articles from the Parks.

logo: North York Moors National ParkThe North York Moors National Park (where CJS is based - aren't we lucky!) is Championing Apprenticeships

 We are really lucky in that all of us working for the North York Moors get to be paid for spending part of our working time (some more than others!) in our beautiful national park.   Judging by the numbers of applicants that we get for many of our roles, it seems as if lots of other people agree as well.

 We recruit a variety of people at different levels.  We take on trainees from apprentices through to undergraduate placements and post-graduate trainees.  We also need experienced people from a variety of disciplines to join our Conservation and Ranger teams. 

Job roles for experienced staff range from practitioner level, being out there working directly with people and making things happen on the ground, through to managerial posts. While the knowledge needed to carry out these different roles may be similar, the way in which this is used and the skills required can be very different.

Read on for more or click here to see apprenticeships currently available.


logo: Cairngorms National ParkCairngorms National Park - a National Park for all.

Cairngorms National Park is making sure that it is  - A National Park for All 

The Cairngorms National Park is Britain’s largest National Park.  It contains some of the best wildlife habitats in the UK including ancient pine forests, arctic mountain tops, lochs, rivers and moorlands.  Home to a quarter of UK threatened species, it is rich in landscapes, habitats and heritage.  

With such unique qualities the National Park is a fantastic learning resource that inspires people to find out more about its natural and cultural heritage. The landscape begs to be explored and encourages people to get outside and become more active and healthy. 

The Cairngorms National Park is used and enjoyed by 1.5m visitors each year, as well as the 18,000 people who live and work here.  However, we know that there are several groups of people who are under-represented in engaging with the National Park, these include the younger generation, those with disabilities, people on low incomes and also ethnic minorities.  

The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is committed to developing a Park for All, part of that work includes identifying the reasons why these groups are not visiting the National Park, then working in partnership with others to encourage and support such groups.  Read on.


logo: Exmoor National ParkIn November 2008 Dave Gurnett, Education Manager, wrote about 20 years of Environmental Education in Exmoor National Park.

"We realise that the adults of today are the children of yesterday and the more time we can spend integrating them into their environment the greater the understanding and belief in the purposes of a NP. We certainly aren’t perfect, but I like to think that trying to engage every child during every year of their education within Exmoor has created some inflammable stuff."

If we want children to continue to enjoy and respect our National Parks that's just as true today as when Dave wrote it nearly 10 years ago. Read the article.


Urban and greenspace 

Killer congestion blighting air quality in regional cities, study warns – IPPR

The UK's regional cities are in breach of the legal limits on air quality by up to 150%, threatening the lives of children and adults, report warns.

Government, councils and transport bodies must back radical action to improve air quality, ahead of the publication of DEFRA’s Clean Air Strategy later this month.

Focus should be on incentives for drivers to upgrade to electric cars and roll-out of hydrogen powered trains in the North as part of a Northern energy revolution, study concludes.

The government must do much more to address the crisis of toxic fumes killing thousands in the UK’s regional cities, including phasing out diesel vehicles and introducing incentives for purchasing electric cars, according to a new study.

The warning comes in the latest report from leading think-tank IPPR North, which explores the North of England’s future transport energy needs.

Current trends estimate that congestion in the North will increase by 3 per cent annually, 'Gearing up for the transition: The role of transport in a Northern energy strategy' notes — but cautions that even by 2030, on current projections, only 5 per cent of UK cars will be powered by electricity rather than petrol or diesel, threatening the government’s aspiration for the UK to be the world-leader in clean air cars.


CJS in DepthLove Parks Week theme this year is getting the whole community involved.

Helping communities claim their local greenspaces and parks.

Giving communities the tools to create better places, written by Groundwork.

  • Funding for parks is being cut we need to find creative ways of preserving treasured spaces.
  • The Community Project Toolkit is a one-stop shop for communities who want to look after their greenspace.
  • By providing know-how & inspiration the toolkit can make a difference.

 Groundwork has worked with local communities for 35 years to make where they live greener and better places to be. In our experience, we know that one of the most successful, sustainable ways of doing this is to empower people to be the part of the change they want to see where they live. 

There’s a wealth of evidence to suggest that we’re at risk of finding ourselves back in the ‘bad old days’ where our parks and open spaces become unattractive, uninviting and, in extremis, unsafe places to be.  Read on...

Get your community involved in helping care for your Park this Love Parks Week by setting up a 'Friends of' group, find out how 

This year's Love Parks Week - July 14-23 – is an opportunity to demonstrate just how much our country loves parks. So let’s get the whole community telling us why, to help us protect them for future generations. More on Love Parks Week here.

You think your site would benefit from a “Friends of” group but don’t know where to start? 

What is a Friends of group?

Usually a group of people who voluntarily work to maintain, improve and (often) promote a green space.

With thanks to Leeds City Council who helped us with the article.


Arboriculture, trees and woodland

Sweet chestnut blight found in South East London – Forestry Commission

Sweet chestnut blight, a disease that affects sweet chestnut trees, has been found in South East London, the UK Government’s Chief Plant Health Officer has confirmed.

Action is being taken to identify and control the disease in line with the Government’s plant disease contingency plans. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Forestry Commission are carrying out extensive surveillance of sweet chestnut trees in the area, working closely with local stakeholders. Further action will be taken on the basis of surveillance information and the best available scientific evidence.

The disease, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, causes foliage to wilt and die and cankers to develop on the tree surface, which may eventually kill the tree. Chestnut blight does not pose any risk to people, pets or livestock, and is only known to seriously affect sweet chestnut (Castanea) species.


HS2 latest - 94 ancient woods face damage - Woodland Trust

The Environmental Statement for HS2's Phase 2a (from West Midlands to Crewe) has now been published, and the the loss to ancient woodland is far worse than we anticipated.

We are horrified to learn that:

  • There will be direct loss to 10 ancient, irreplaceable woods, totalling at least 10.5 hectares.
  • There will be damage (due to noise, dust, lighting etc.) to a further 4 ancient woods.
  • 27 ancient or veteran trees will also be lost.

This is a huge increase, as previous route announcements suggested 2 ancient woods were to be lost (6.5 hectares).  

This is on top of the 63 woodlands that will be impacted by Phase 1, and at least another 17 woods along the proposed Phase 2b (East and West) routes.

This now brings the potential total of woods suffering direct loss or some damage to 94.* The current figure may still rise further as the ancient woodland inventory is updated and more route details are confirmed.


Heart of Scotland Forest Partnership launched - John Muir Trust

Public, private, community and NGO landowners join forces to restore Highland Perthshire natural woodland.  The Trust and four neighbouring landowners and a woodland charity have launched a new project to create a vibrant, native woodland landscape spread across 50 square kilometres in the area between Loch Rannoch, Loch Tummel and Loch Tay.

Representatives from Forest Enterprise, Highland Perthshire Communities Land Trust (Dun Coillich), Dalchosnie & Kynachan Estate and the Scottish Wildlife Trust were joined by Woodland Trust Scotland and the John Muir Trust at the foot of Schiehallion on Tuesday 18 July to celebrate the birth of the initiative.  

Dr Liz Auty, the John Muir Trust’s property manager at East Schiehallion, and a key player in the formation of the partnership, said: “We have a long term vision to turn this vast upland area into a living breathing landscape of native trees, woodland corridors, flourishing wildlife and picturesque footpaths. This project, we believe, can start to turn this landscape into a marvellous asset for the local community and a precious legacy for our children and grandchildren.”

Each partner will take forward different elements of the project. The John Muir Trust is spearheading the replacement of non-native conifers with broadleaf woodland and Scots pine. Seedling regeneration will be supported by sensitively sited fencing, allowing aspen, birch and rowan and willow – currently held in check by browsing –  to reach their potential. The Trust also plans to improve habitats for black grouse, willow warblers, wrens, whinchats and other species.


Advice follows diagnosis of Chalara ash dieback disease in ash trees - Isle of Man Government

A disease that can prove fatal to ash trees has been detected in the Island for the first time, prompting a request to landowners to be vigilant and report possible cases.

The presence of Chalara ash dieback disease on private land in the south of the Island, and in the surrounding area, has been confirmed by a UK laboratory.

The disease, caused by a fungus, was detected in the UK in 2012 and is well-established there.

Control on imports has helped the Island to remain free of the disease until now. It is estimated that around one in five of the Island’s hedgerow trees are ash. 

Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: ‘It’s disappointing that this disease has reached the Island as it has the potential to change our landscape over time.  In raising public awareness of its appearance and the steps to take if it’s suspected, we hope it can be contained as far as possible.  We are reviewing policies and procedures implemented elsewhere so we can take the most appropriate action to mitigate the impact of the disease on the Island.’


Recreation and access

Ordnance Survey releases open dataset and free map of Britain’s Greenspaces - Ordnance Survey

A Government initiative to make it easier for people to locate and access greenspaces has launched today with the release of a new database and interactive digital map identifying accessible recreational and leisure greenspace in Great Britain.

OS's Philip Wyndham with Universities & Science Minister Jo Johnson (Ordnance Survey)OS's Philip Wyndham with Universities & Science Minister Jo Johnson (Ordnance Survey)

Delivered by Ordnance Survey (OS), the free map contains data from OS and other sources, and can be used immediately, for free, through the popular leisure mapping app and online service, OS Maps. This comprehensive map of Great Britain’s greenspaces is also available as an open dataset, called OS Open Greenspace, for communities, businesses and developers to create products and services that will encourage healthier and greener lifestyles.

OS CEO, Nigel Clifford, says: “Geospatial data can transform Governments, businesses and communities for the better. We see that through our work in Great Britain and internationally, and we’re excited to be one of those at the forefront leading this and making contributions of consequence and benefit.”


British Cycling and Welsh Cycling welcome consultation aiming to make it easier for cyclists to access the countryside – British Cycling

British Cycling and Welsh Cycling have welcomed a consultation document ‘Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Image: British CyclingResources’ published by the Welsh Government which sets out their plans to make it easier for cyclists to access the countryside.

In the section dedicated to Access to Outdoors the consultation sets out the following proposals that are particularly relevant to cyclists.

Image: British Cycling

These are:

  • To enable cycling and horse riding on footpaths to occur under the same conditions as those provided for cycling on bridleways under section 30 of the Countryside Act 1968.
  • To allow, with appropriate authority, organised cycle racing on bridleways in order to bring rules relating to bridleways into line with footpaths.

Writing in the consultation document, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Together, the proposals demonstrate the Welsh Government’s commitment to systematically identify where we believe reform is necessary to ensure we are equipped to sustainably manage our natural resources in preparation for the significant challenges and opportunities we face in the future. I am committed to ensuring we maintain and enhance the resilience of our natural resources and ecosystems – to achieve this we need to consider all the potential opportunities to modernise and improve the regulatory framework for the benefit of Wales.”


Transport Investment Strategy for England shows no sign of prioritising cycling and walking - Sustrans

Today (Wednesday 5 July) the Government announced its new Transport Investment Strategy for England.

Responding to the announcement Jason Torrance, our Policy Director said: “Whilst balancing investment between strategic and local roads is welcome, the Transport Investment Strategy for England shows no sign of the UK Government prioritising everyday travel choices and increasing levels of cycling and walking, leaving Local Authorities to pick up the mantel of improving air quality, health and congestion with alternatives to car travel.”


Ambitious project seeks extra funding needed to improve disabled access to great outdoors - RSPB

Hopes are high that underpass project will get green light after successful event

A project that would put Loch Leven at the forefront of countryside access for disabled people in Scotland is one step closer to becoming a reality after a successful exhibition event on Friday.

Four Perth and Kinross Councillors, the MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, a Portmoak Community Councillor, leaders of local community groups and members of the Project Stakeholder Group gathered at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven on Friday to hear more about the plans to replace the current corrugated iron tunnel and steps below the B9097 with a more accessible underpass.

All four local ward councillors, Willie Robertson, Michael Barnacle, Callum Purves and Richard Watters are supportive of the project. The former three attended the event along with Councillor Ian Campbell, Leader of the Perth & Kinross, who last month received a letter co-signed by a Stakeholder Group to ask for financial backing for the popular project.

The plan is to replace the 35-year old tunnel and steep steps, which are part of the Perth & Kinross Core Path Network and currently connect the “Sleeping Giant” path from Fife to the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, with a more accessible underpass that would incorporate gentle slopes for wheelchair and mobility scooter users and provide unimpeded access for cyclists and families with young children in pushchairs.


logo: in depthDisability Awareness Day was on Sunday 16 July.

It is the world's largest 'not for profit' voluntary-led disability exhibition, held annually in a huge tented village within the grounds of Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington.

Find out more here: https://www.disabilityawarenessday.org.uk/index.shtml

In 2016 we produced CJS Focus on Overcoming Barriers with lots of information and articles about the problems faced by people with disabilities in being able to enjoy the great outdoors and how countryside sites can help with the problems and become more accessible.

Download this edition here. (PDF)


Greener Greenways project recognised as best practice case study - Sustrans

Our UK-wide Greener Greenways project has been identified as one of five best practice European case studies that highlight planning and The Greener Greenways project surveys, protects and enhances biodiversity along some of the traffic-free sections of the National Cycle Network. (Sustrans)delivery of green and active travel infrastructure.

The Greener Greenways project surveys, protects and enhances biodiversity along some of the traffic-free sections of the National Cycle Network. (Sustrans)

The 'Green Active Travel Routes' case studies were identified by not-for-profit design and landscape architecture practice Here and Now, on behalf of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT).

The Central Scotland Green Network Trust are currently promoting and publicising the case studies to communicate the value and benefits of combining green infrastructure with active travel routes.

Green active travel routes combine natural planting or water systems with paths for people on foot or by bike, creating attractive places and journeys for both people and environment. 

According to the Central Scotland Green Network Trust: "Green Active Travel Routes deliver a range of benefits. From environmental improvements including increased habitat, biodiversity and climate change resilience, to improved health and well-being for people. They can be retrofitted or newly planned, integrating green infrastructure and provision for active travel from the start."


 Poll reveals the call of wild places to visitors – John Muir Trust

Quinag courtesy of Kevin LellandKeep it Wild campaign highlights potential tourism risk from industrial development of Scotland’s scenic areas

As tourists flock to Scotland’s scenic outdoors for the summer holidays, a clear majority would be put off visits by industrial development

New research released by the Trust has highlighted the potential benefits for Scotland’s tourism industry of protecting the country’s unique Wild Land Areas from industrial-scale development.

Quinag courtesy of Kevin Lelland

A survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Trust reveals that the majority of Scottish adults – 55 per cent – are “less likely” to visit scenic areas in Scotland if they contain large scale infrastructure, like commercial wind farms, electricity transmission and super-quarries.

Just three per cent said they were “more likely” to visit such areas, while 26 per cent said that the existence of large scale developments would make “no difference” to their decision to still go to scenic areas anyway. Of the remainder, 10 per cent were undecided, while six per cent expressed no interest in visiting scenic areas at all.


TCV in partnership with Dementia Adventure – TCV

TCV is proud to work in partnership with Dementia Adventure to expand outdoor activity for people with dementia.

Award-winning charity Dementia Adventure has received nearly half a million pounds from the Big Lottery Fund to help people living with Image: TCVdementia get outdoors and retain a sense of adventure in their lives. We are delighted that TCV will be one of the organisations working in partnership with them to help deliver a range of specially developed outdoor activities.

Image: TCV

Dementia Adventure delivers short breaks and holidays, training, support and research to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their carers. This new grant will be used to grow the scale of their work, encouraging other organisations across the UK to adopt this in their communities.

"We know that people living with dementia can benefit emotionally, socially and physically from activity outdoors. Engaging with nature can improve quality of life, build confidence and help lessen the impact of the dementia." Neil Mapes, Chief Executive Officer at Dementia Adventure

Each group will be equipped with practical skills and confidence to deliver enjoyable outdoor activities for more people with dementia including animal assisted therapy, gardening and nature and park walks. Research has shown this to be beneficial in reducing feelings of isolation and an unnecessary decline in well-being.


Environmental Education

Surrey School Children Achieve Coveted Wildlife Award - Surrey Wildlife Trust

A wildlife project in Staines has earned young nature lovers a special ‘John Muir Award’ for their work to help their local environment.

A group of 30 children from Ashford Park Primary School have worked towards the accolade over several months at Church Lammas Lakes in Wraysbury Road.

With the help of Surrey Wildlife Trust the children covered all four aspects of the national award scheme – Discover a wild place; Explore it; Conserve it and Share it.

The John Muir Award encourages people to get outdoors and closer to nature, to learn about wildlife, get involved and take action to help the environment, then pass on their knowledge to others.

Pauline Bartlett, John Muir co-ordinator at Ashford Park Primary, said: “Being outside, learning about the environment, understanding nature and the food chain are so important for children. Lots of children who maybe struggle in class really thrive outside – they come alive and learn so much better. If they go home dirty they’ve had a good day!”


New opportunities for young Londoners to work with wildlife - London Wildlife Trust

A new partnership to help young people get involved with nature conservation

People from backgrounds under-represented in the conservation sector will be given special opportunities to get involved in wildlife projects thanks to a team of organisations led by the London Wildlife Trust.

Delivered by a new exciting partnership comprising London Wildlife Trust, John Muir Trust, Headliners UK, London Youth and V•Inspired, the ‘Keeping It Wild’ programme aims to enthuse and involve young Londoners from diverse backgrounds - not currently engaged with nature - in protecting and promoting the wildlife in their own local neighbourhoods.

Keeping it wild Credit: Abigail MarchKeeping it wild Credit: Abigail March

A series of action days will introduce young people aged 11-25 years to their local wild species and habitats and give them a taste of urban conservation. Participants will work towards a John Muir Award, under the guidance of the John Muir Trust, while youth engagement charity Headliners will work with young people to produce films about wildlife and nature.

Britain's leading youth volunteering and social action charity, V•Inspired, will recruit young people for the Keeping It Wild programme, with help from youth club charity London Youth, which represents 300 youth organisations across the capital. The two organisations will help participants develop their own social action projects in their local green spaces.


£1.23 million National Lottery award to support biodiversity training - Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council, FSC, are delighted to have been awarded a National Lottery grant of £1.23 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for their exciting new BioLinks project.

biolinks (image: FSC)Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, BioLinks will support, signpost and mentor existing and new natural historians who volunteer their time. This will help them to help them to become more proficient biological recorders. It will provide more taxonomic training for underrepresented species, especially those that are difficult to identify. Species focused on will include beetles, snails, true flies, ants and wasps.

(Image: FSC)

FSC aims to involve existing and new biological recorders in the project, hoping to extend not only the number of active natural history observers but also increase their age range and diversity. Over the five year project BioLinks will work across the West Midlands region and London and South East to engage with 2,500 volunteers, delivering 480 training courses and 33 events.


Born to be wild: Grandparents most adventurous in great outdoors - National Trust

Grandparents were much more adventurous during their youth in the great outdoors than today’s youngsters – half of whom have never even climbed a tree, a survey shows.

With 61% of grandparents helping with childcare during school holidays they are the perfect motivators for getting kids to spend more time enjoying nature.

Parents looking for ways to get their kids to spend more time in the great outdoors during the summer holidays need look no further than willing grandparents, keen to spend quality time outside in nature with their grandchildren

Research by leading conservation charity, the National Trust, reveals grandparents are the key ingredient to helping today’s generation develop a connection with nature. Over three quarters (76%) claim they were far more explorative and daring in their youth compared to both their own children and grandchildren, with a huge majority (92%) saying that they take great enjoyment from teaching their grandchildren about these adventurous activities, such as building a den or flying a kite.

The research also reveals that 4 in 5 (79%) adults believe children today have less freedom to explore and play outdoors, compared to their own childhood. While 75% of grandparents said climbing trees was one of their favourite childhood memories, half (51%) said their grandchildren had not experienced this activity.

Nearly half (49%) of grandparents take on the role of childminding more than twice a week to support parents with this increasing during the school holidays by almost two-thirds of grandparents (61%). A whopping 9 in 10 (92%) said that when they do spend time with their grandchildren, they are keen to actively encourage them to take part in explorative outdoor play rather coop up indoors.


Citizen Science

Best summer ever for Hummingbird Hawk-moths? - British Trust for Ornithology 

We’re on track for a record summer for Hummingbird Hawk-moth sightings in Britain, with more recorded in gardens this June than in previous years, as found by British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch survey. 

Hummingbird Hawk-moth by Jill Pakenham via BTOHummingbird Hawk-moth by Jill Pakenham via BTO

Reports of Hummingbird Hawk-moths in gardens are at a record high for this stage in the season (seen in 2.3% gardens in June compared to an average of 0.5%) according to the thousands of citizen scientists that take part in the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch survey. The moths have been seen across the UK, but there are particularly high reporting rates in the south and the east of England.
These distinctive day-flying moths migrate to the UK from southern Europe and North Africa. They push northward during the summer and are mainly recorded in gardens between June and September, where they are seen hovering like a small hummingbird over flowering plants such as Red Valerian, Buddleia, and Viper’s-bugloss to feed on nectar.
Why are we seeing so many this year? The numbers of Hummingbird Hawk-moths that make it to the UK can vary considerably from year to year, influenced by over-wintering success and population size, as well as temperature and wind direction. It has been particularly warm this June in eastern parts of the country – more than 2.5°C above average according to the Met Office – and warm air drawn up from the south in mid-June may have helped to carry them to our shores.
This species does not normally over-winter here, and the population is replenished each year by new migrants. However, if winters become milder in future, we may see them over-wintering more frequently. Garden BirdWatch allows us to gather information that will help us to monitor the long-term changes in the wildlife using our gardens.


Sir David Attenborough warns of a 'critical' summer for butterflies – Butterfly Conservation

Sir David Attenborough has warned that UK butterflies face a critical summer after a string of poor years has seen the numbers of many common species decline.

Last year was the fourth worst on record for butterflies and Sir David is urging the public to take part in the Big Butterfly Count survey to help reveal if widespread species can mount a comeback this summer.

Image: Butterfly ConservationCommon species such as the Small Tortoiseshell, PeacockMeadow Brown and Gatekeeper experienced declines in 2016 but the warm, dry spring and early summer heatwave experienced over much of the UK has given many species a head start

Image: Butterfly Conservation

The Big Butterfly Count is the world’s largest butterfly survey, which encourages people to spot and record 18 species of common butterflies and two day-flying moths during three weeks of high summer.
Butterfly Conservation President Sir David said: “The next few weeks are a vital period for our butterflies. They need to make the most of this chance to feed and breed. So far the warm weather has given some species like the Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and Ringlet a good start but butterflies really need this to continue.”


Scientific research, results and publications

Biofuels made from waste are the business, say researchers – Lancaster University

Biofuels have a role to play in meeting the UK’s commitments to climate change mitigation, especially so-called second generation biofuels made from wastes and by-products of other sectors. 

That’s according to a major new review of the sustainability pros and cons of biofuels by the Royal Academy of Engineering, including research from Lancaster University. Such fuels can be sustainable and could make a real impact in reducing carbon emissions, although action is needed to manage the risks involved, improve traceability and avoid fraudulent practice.

Image: Lancaster UniversityImage: Lancaster University

The report, Sustainability of liquid biofuels, was commissioned by the Department of Transport and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) to provide advice on the UK’s future strategy for the development of biofuels. While they have been enthusiastically adopted in some countries, notably Brazil, first generation biofuels manufactured from crops like corn have proved controversial. There have been concerns that increased demand for crops drives the conversion of land to agriculture, with the consequent risks of an increase in deforestation, drainage of peatlands, loss of biodiversity, as well as associated usage of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides.


Quantifying the environmental cost of fishing on the seabed – Bangor University

Trawling contributes 20% of the global landings of fish caught at sea, hence it is an essential means of providing food for millions of people.

Bottom trawling is used to catch fish and shellfish that live in or near the seabed. Despite its importance, bottom trawling causes variable amounts of physical and biological change to seabed habitats, and can induce structural and functional changes in seabed communities. Understanding the ecosystem consequences of trawling is important so that we can reduce negative impacts on the seabed through appropriate management measures.

An international collaboration of scientists conducted a global meta-analysis of 70 comparative and experimental studies on the effects of bottom trawling, to estimate the rates of depletion and recovery of seabed biota following bottom trawling. The researchers were able to quantify the relationship between the reduction of seabed animals and penetration of the fishing equipment into the seabed.

Lead author Professor Jan Hiddink from Bangor University (UK) said: “We found that otter trawls penetrated the seabed 2.4 cm on average and caused the least amount of depletion of marine organisms, removing 6% of biota per trawl pass on the seabed. In contrast, we found that hydraulic dredges penetrated the seabed 16.1 cm on average and caused the greatest depletion, removing 41% of the biota per fishing pass.”


Research values soil’s natural capital – Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Study sets out way of valuing soil’s contribution to food and wider ecosystem services across Europe

Trees and soilSoil scientists at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) have set out a Europe-wide framework for developing a natural capital accounting structure for soil which considers the impact of land use change, climate change and pollution.

Trees and soil (Image: Pixabay)Dr David Robinson of CEH led an international team of researchers who suggest monitoring soil cycles that impact on the economies, societies and ecosystems of European countries is vital to help policy makers protect soil quality and condition in future.

Trees and soil (Image: Pixabay(creative commons))

Soil is crucial to the production of food, feed, fibre and timber production for millions across Europe as well as for earth system functions that support the delivery of other ecosystem services – such as the creation of habitats for plant and animal life.

Dr Robinson, a soil scientist at CEH and lead author of the study published in Scientific Reports, said, "Our research highlights the need to integrate environmental data with economic measures such as national income, gross domestic product and national wealth, so that resource degradation is not invisible."

Read the paper: Robinson, David A, Panos Panagos, Pasquale Borrellis, Arwyn Jones, Luca Montanarella, Andrew Tye, Carl G Obst, Soil Natural Capital in Europe; A Framework for State and Change Assessment Scientific Reports DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-06819-3


Historical wildlife trends reliable for predicting species at risk - University of York

Scientists at the University of York have shown that using historical wildlife data provides a more accurate measure of how vulnerable certain species might be to extinction from climate change.

Adonis blue butterfly (image: University of York)Adonis blue butterfly (image: University of York)

Some of the methods used to predict at risk species are trend-based – an indicator of what happens gradually over time – while others are trait based, which uses signs of climate change in the current environment.  Mix these methods together, however, and you get an unreliable set of results, scientist have found.

The researchers are calling for guidelines produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the world’s main authority on species that are at risk of extinction, to be updated to include cautionary messages on some methodologies of climate change risk assessment.

Researchers tested 12 methods of assessing the potential risk of climate change on British birds and butterflies by running the assessment as though the data was being collected in the 1970s.  They then looked at whether the results matched the reality of the British bird and butterfly population today. 

Professor Chris Thomas, also at the University’s Department of Biology, said: “We found that methods relying on historical climate change trends from the 1970s to today identified high risk species that have consistently declining populations over time.  Those methods that relied on species trait information showed very little pattern, and therefore it was difficult to use this data to explain the populations that we see today.” 

Access the paper: Wheatley CJ, Beale CM, Bradbury RB, Pearce-Higgins JW, Critchlow R, Thomas CD. Climate change vulnerability for species—Assessing the assessments. Glob Change Biol. 2017;00:1–12. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13759


Invasive Species

Global trade networks are the key to distribution of invasive non-native species - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Scientists at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) have conducted an analysis of invasive non-native species occurrence in 48 countries to show that global trade networks play a key role in the distribution of invasions across Europe.

Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) (image: CEH)The CEH team of Dr Daniel Chapman, Dr Beth Purse, Professor Helen Roy and Professor James Bullock looked at more than 420 non-native plant pest species – including 173 invertebrates, 166 pathogens and 83 plants – to show that invasion was strongly linked to agricultural imports from countries in which the focal species were present.

Tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) (image: CEH)

The scientists used sophisticated statistical models to consider trade in all agricultural products, as well as live plants, forest products, fruit and vegetables and seeds. This showed that invasion was more strongly linked to the structure of global trade networks than to other possible ways in which the species could be spread, such as by airline routes or simply through geographic proximity.  The results show that overall invasion is most strongly correlated to agricultural imports but that there is also a role for climate. Species presence in a climatically similar exporting country strongly increased the risk of invasion.  However, recent invasions were best explained by live plant imports from nearby countries, implying that dispersal of invasive non-native species among European countries dominates recent spread.

Dr Chapman, lead author of the study published in Global Ecology and Biogeography, says that "the assumption that global trade networks explain the large-scale distributions of non-native species remained largely untested until now."

He continued, "This study enhances the potential to predict the spread and distribution of economically damaging invasive non-native pests – such as emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) and ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) – to improve risk assessment, biodiversity and surveillance."

The scientists also suggest that many non-native species are transported accidentally and that no data exists on their movement rates. Nevertheless, using data on trade flows it may be possible to better predict their arrival probabilities.

Read the paper: Chapman D, Purse B V, Roy H E, Bullock J M. Global trade networks determine the distribution of invasive non-native species. Global Ecol Biogeogr. 2017;00:1–11. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12599


Scientists develop ranking system to scale the impact of alien species - University College London

A transparent ranking system for measuring the socio-economic impact of plants and animals that are introduced by humans to areas where they do not naturally occur (termed “aliens”) has been developed by an international team of scientists, from UCL, Université de Fribourg and Stellenbosch University.

The ‘Socio-Economic Classification of Alien Taxa (SEICAT)’, described in a study published today in Methods in Ecology and Evolution and supported by an EU COST Action grant, will help to capture the impact that alien species have on human livelihood and well-being.

“Alien species can cause harm in many ways in areas to which they are introduced. Besides the effects on biodiversity, which can lead to extinctions of native species and transformations of whole landscapes and ecosystems, they can also have wide-ranging effects on human health, livelihoods, and well-being,” said Professor Tim Blackburn, Chair of Invasion Biology at UCL. 

 “All aspects of human well-being, such as health, material assets, safety, and social and cultural relationships are measured at the same scale, which allows for the impact of different species to be compared and ranked. In contrast to monetary approaches, SEICAT assessments can be made even when data are scarce; this should allow us to rank large numbers of alien species in a relatively short time,” explained Dr Sabrina Kumschick, Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University. 

It is considered that this unique system for comparing and ranking alien species according to their effects on human well-being and livelihood can also be used to underpin decisions on how management resources are allocated.

“Such insights are crucial in an age when managers simply cannot afford to tackle all invasive species,” said Professor Dave Richardson, Director of the Centre for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University.

Read the paper: Bacher S, Blackburn TM, Essl F, et al. Socio-economic impact classification of alien taxa (SEICAT). Methods Ecol Evol. 2017;00:1–10. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12844


Space invaders! – Zoological Society of London

Collaborative study suggests nature reserves enable greater resilience for ecosystems against foreign invaders.  

Nature reserves, national parks and marine protected areas have been proven to effectively shield native wildlife from the impacts of invasive species, in a new study published this week in the journal Global Change Biology.

Led by the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (IPE) alongside co-authors from institutions including international conservation charity ZSL The invasive grey squirrel displaced red squirrels in the UK (ZSL)(Zoological Society of London), the University of Cambridge and CABI, the international research shows that despite their effectiveness, these areas could be compromised in future, as climate change impacts the range of increasing numbers of species. 

The invasive grey squirrel displaced red squirrels in the UK (ZSL)

Invasive species – non-native organisms that are introduced to an ecosystem and can often thrive at the expense of native wildlife, such as the invasive grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) which displaced red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) in the UK – have been implicated in 58 per cent of recent extinctions worldwide and are unanimously recognised by conservationists as posing a serious threat to global ecosystems. 

Until now, however, conservationists have lacked evidence of how effective protected areas are in mitigating against the threats and challenges these species cause, such as competition for food and territory, inter-species predation and invasive diseases. 

Evaluating the current and future distributions of 100 of the most invasive terrestrial, freshwater and marine species in Europe – from the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) to the red-swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkia) – the team assessed the combined threat these animals pose to existing protected areas, when combined with the overarching issue of climate change. 


Mapping the state of alien species across the globe - British Ecological Society

Invasive non-native species cost the world billions of dollars every year, threatening native species and biodiversity as well as human health and the way ecosystems work. While ecologists now understand how – and why – these plant and animal invaders spread, a global picture across different groups of organisms and ecosystems has been lacking.

To address this, the British Ecological Society is this week holding a symposium at Durham University, bringing together UK and international ecologists to gather the latest evidence on the geographical distribution and abundance of non-native (alien) species worldwide. The delegates will explore global patterns and drivers of established alien species and their possible ecological and evolutionary impacts.

Human-mediated transport and trade in a globalised world combined with climate change have led to unprecedented movements of alien species among continents and oceans.

According to Dr Wayne Dawson from Durham University, one of the event’s organisers: “The challenge for us is to understand what the consequences are of mixing up the world’s species, to decide how to deal with this change, and what measures we can put in place to try to predict and prevent further introductions.”


River areas overrun by invasive plants - Radboud University

Rivers are high-speed corridors for the spread of invasive exotic plants. Increasingly, these plants are pushing out native species and making floods more likely. A study conducted by Deltares, Utrecht University, Radboud University and the German Institute for Flood Plain Ecology has shown that exotic varieties like the Japanese knotweed and the Himalayan balsam grow faster and form denser vegetation in European flood plains than the native vegetation. The phenomenon is also seen Dutch river areas.

Particularly where a river deposits new sand, exotic species spread like a plague. The dense plant growth slows down the flow of the river and increases the flood risk in the summer and autumn.

River development calculated for a century and a half. Mijke van Oorschot (Utrecht University/Deltares) and fellow-researchers from Radboud Unviersity (amongst others) combined an existing computer model for water flows and the deposition of sand with a new model for the spread, growth and death of plants. In this case, willows, poplars and the Japanese knotweed. 'Model results showed that, in the worst case, the invasive species became dominant within a few years and that water levels rose by about 35%. The patterns were similar for rivers in Northwest Europe,' explains Mijke


Climate change

Study examines increasing likelihood of extreme sea levels – University of Southampton

Scientists at the University of Southampton are warning that future coastal impact studies must take account of extreme sea levels – a phenomenon expected to occur more frequently as rising waters combine with high tides and storm surges to potentially devastating effect.

A family is evacuated during the great storm of 1953. Credit: Canterbury City CouncilA new study published today (Friday 7 July) in Nature Communications – led by the University of Central Florida and involving experts from Southampton, Germany and the Netherlands – suggests that extreme events currently expected to happen on average once every 100 years could, in vulnerable coastlines around the world, occur every decade or even every year by 2050.
A family is evacuated during the great storm of 1953. Credit: Canterbury City Council
As sea levels continue to rise because of global warming, much less intense and far more frequent moderate storms could cause as much damage to vulnerable coastal communities in the future as currently only occurs during rare extreme storms.
Densely populated coastal regions of the USA and large parts of Australia and Europe, including the UK, are thought to be particularly at risk from these future extreme sea levels.
The researchers suggest that vulnerable communities can protect themselves by creating or upgrading infrastructure such as dykes, pumping systems and barriers. New building regulations or flood zones to prevent new infrastructure from being built in high-risk areas could also help mitigate the effects of future extreme sea levels.

Read the paper here: Wahl, T. et al (2017) Understanding extreme sea levels for broad-scale coastal impact and adaptation analysis. Nature Communications 8, Article number: 16075 (2017) doi:10.1038/ncomms16075


Managing change is the name of the game for nature conservation under a warmer climate - British Trust for Ornithology

New research suggests the populations and distributions of ¾ of 3,000 plant and animal species in England are likely to be significantly affected by climate change by the end of the century.

A newly published paper in the journal Biological Conservation assesses the impact of climate change on the distribution of over 3,000 British plants and animals across 17 taxonomic groups. Given a 2°C increase in average global temperature by the 2080s, over a quarter (27%) of species were judged to be at high to medium risk of losing a substantial proportion of their currently suitable ranges, whilst just over half (54%) could significantly expand their ranges. The most vulnerable species were northern and upland species, including birds like the Dotterel and Red Grouse, flowering plants such as crowberry, and damp loving mosses and liverworts.

Dotterel by Peter M WilsonDotterel by Peter M Wilson

Conversely, wasps, bees, ants and many southerly distributed species such as Dartford Warbler and emperor dragonfly were thought likely to thrive in response to warmer temperatures and would be able to colonise new areas assuming suitable habitats are available. A more detailed study of 400 species included information on population trends, and took into account other factors known to make species more vulnerable to climate change, such as restriction to small, localised populations. This more comprehensive assessment found that taking into account these other factors slightly increased the proportion of wildlife at risk from climate change (35%), with 42% likely to have opportunities to expand.  

The report emphasises the need for conservation action to increase our wildlife’s ability to survive climate change.  Potential beneficiaries of climate change will not be able to expand their range if they lack areas of suitable habitats to move into. Action is therefore needed to protect and enhance networks of semi-natural habitats for species to colonise. Direct management may help otherwise threatened species to adapt to a warmer climate.

Read the paper: James W. Pearce-Higgins,Colin M. Beale,Tom H. Oliver,Tom A. August,Matthew Carroll,Dario Massimino,Nancy Ockendon,Joanne Savage,Christopher J. Wheatley et al A national-scale assessment of climate change impacts on species: Assessing the balance of risks and opportunities for multiple taxa. Biological Conservation https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.06.035


Impacts of marine climate change demonstrated by decade of scientific collaboration - JNCC

Kelp and cliffs - Lundy Island - UK © Alex Mustard via JNCCKelp and cliffs - Lundy Island - UK © Alex Mustard via JNCC

A new report card by the UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) demonstrates the important effects climate change is having on UK seas and coastlines. Building on contributions from 400 scientists, key findings 10 years on from the first MCCIP report card are:

A long-term underlying warming trend in sea-surface temperature is still clear, despite year-to-year fluctuations.

Ocean acidification has become established as a major issue for marine ecosystems, and may be taking place at a faster rate in UK seas than in the wider north Atlantic.

Climate change is clearly affecting marine life. Warm-water species, such as squid and anchovies, have become more common place in UK waters; whilst seabirds face an uncertain future with the productivity of fulmars, Atlantic puffins, little and Arctic terns and black legged kittiwakes being impacted by sea-surface temperature rises.

Extreme high-water events are becoming more frequent at the coast due to sea-level rise. However, this has not led to a corresponding increase in coastal flooding to date due to continued improvements in flood defences, emergency planning, forecasting and warning.

Access the report card.



Buried alive: Aquatic plants survive in ‘ghost ponds’ under agricultural fields - University College London

Aquatic plants in ‘ghost ponds’ are able to survive more than 100 years buried beneath cropped agricultural fields, according to new UCL research.

Ghost ponds are abundant across many agricultural regions, often visible as damp depressions, areas of poor crop cover, or changes in soil colour. Many UK ponds were filled-in during agricultural land intensification that took place after the 1950s.

Ghost ponds (Image courtesy of Emily Alderton, via UCL)Ghost ponds (Image courtesy of Emily Alderton, via UCL)

At the start of 20th century, there were an estimated 800,000 ponds in England and Wales, but it is thought that less than a quarter of these now remain. However, the UCL study, published in Biological Conservation, highlights that it is possible to ‘resurrect’ these buried habitats from the seeds and eggs stored within their historic sediments.

“We have shown that Ghost ponds can be resurrected and remarkably wetland plants lost for centuries can be brought back to life from preserved seeds” said lead author Emily Alderton (UCL Geography). 

“Ghost ponds often make poor agricultural land as it is very difficult to completely drain a pond and stop it collecting water. Re-digging these sites is a brilliant away of returning vibrant pond habitats to the landscape without any loss of productive land” added Emily. 

Read the paper (open access): Emily Alderton, Carl Derek Sayer, Rachael Davies, Stephen John Lambert, Jan Christoph Axmacher, Buried alive: Aquatic plants survive in ‘ghost ponds’ under agricultural fields, Biological Conservation, Volume 212, 2017, Pages 105-110, ISSN 0006-3207, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.06.004.


Growing better trees faster - University of Oxford

A new research collaboration could significantly increase the quality and economic productivity of one of the UK’s largest crop outputs, Sitka spruce conifer trees.

Using a breeding technique called ‘genomic selection’, researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh and from Forest Research, an agency of the Forestry Commission, hope to accurately identify, at a very early age, fast growing trees with superior timber quality. In doing so, the ‘Sitka Spruced’ research initiative could improve the economic value of future spruce plantations in the UK.  In addition, by enhancing the quality of the wood, harvests are more likely to meet the changing construction specifications required to build our houses.

The Sitka spruce is the UK’s primary timber species, with over 35 million Sitka trees planted in the UK each year. It is the third largest crop by area of cultivation in the UK, after wheat and barley, and accounts for around £1bn of the industry’s £2bn annual revenue. Fast growing and suited to the moist climate of western and northern Britain, the species produces a versatile white wood, with uses from paper making, to building construction.  It takes around 40 years from planting before most Sitka spruce trees are harvested, and only a proportion of those trees meet the stronger, higher value construction grades.

The project will scan hundreds of trees for variations in their DNA and then match those variations with fast-growing trees that produce superior timber. This will enable scientists to screen the DNA of the trees, to identify the fastest growing, with the best quality timber.

Genomics is not GM, Genetic Modification, but instead exploits the huge variation that occurs naturally within a species. If successful, the same technology could potentially be used to screen trees for other properties, such as how they cope with challenging environments, for example, how they adapt to dry or nutrient-poor sites, and for resistance to insects and disease.


Conservation work is helping to protect our precious moorland – University of Manchester

Work to protect the iconic moorland of the Peak District and South Pennines is having a positive and statistically significant effect on the Monitoring (University of Manchester)environment, research recently launched by The University of Manchester and the Moors for the Future Partnership has confirmed.

Monitoring (University of Manchester)
The study brought together 12 years’ worth of data, to evaluate how well efforts to improve the environmental health of the moors are working. The aim of the work is to return the moors to an active, healthy state by re-introducing native plants.
It is thought that this work will increase the number of different plant species living there, raise the water table (make the ground surface wetter) and keep water on the hills for longer.
A wider range of plant species improves the health of the moor, and makes it better able to support animal life including rare moorland birds. Raising the water table makes peaty soil less vulnerable to devastating wildfire, and improved vegetation cover helps slow the flow of water off the hills, especially in high rainfall events.


Benefits of dikes outweigh costs - effective measures for reducing future flooding – University of Bristol

In the first study of its kind, an international team of scientists – including the University of Bristol – has concluded, on a global scale, that the economic and long-term benefits of building dikes to reduce flood damage far outweigh their initial cost.

Image: University of BristolThey found that in many parts of the world, it is even possible to reduce the economic damage from river floods in the future to below today’s levels, even when climate change, growing populations, and urbanisation are taken into account.

The authors also assessed how much flood damage could be avoided in the future per state, if new dikes are constructed or dikes that are already in place are heightened.

Image: University of Bristol

They then assessed how much it would cost to build and maintain these dikes, and whether the benefits would outweigh the costs using a range of hydrological and economic models.

The study, published today (Monday 31 July) in the journal Nature Climate Change, was led by Dr Philip Ward from the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

He said: "It is well-known that economic damages from floods are expected to increase over the coming decades due to climate change and an increase in population and assets in flood prone areas. However, in this study we show that flood damages in the year 2080 can actually be reduced to below today’s level, if we effectively invest in flood protection measures.”



Caterpillars Key To Urban Blue Tits' Low Breeding – Glasgow University

Many animal species suffer reduced reproductive success in urban habitats, despite wide-spread supplementation of breeding and feeding opportunities. In some years, the breeding success of city birds is devastatingly low.

Biologists have now shown conclusively that in urban blue tits, reduced breeding success is linked to poor nestling diet and in particular to scarcity of caterpillars, their preferred nestling food.Image: Glasgow University

The research adds to growing concerns that urban environments can become ecological traps for urban-dwelling species. The increasingly rapid process of urbanisation has now placed more than 50% of the human population in cities. Birds and other species can be attracted to these habitats by human food and shelter, but these benefits can be offset by major ecological deficits, as now shown for blue tits.

Image: Glasgow University

Although blue tits are widespread songbirds that appear to do well, their breeding failure in cities can be severe. In 2015, blue tit parents fledged less than one chick per nest in city parks in Glasgow, compared to more than five chicks per nest in the Loch Lomond National Park. Suburban sites showed intermediate breeding success. Researchers from the University of Glasgow and NERC’s LSMSF Facility (National Environment Research Council’s Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility) at SUERC (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre) used a holistic study approach to reveal the reasons for this drastically low breeding success. Their research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Read the paper: Pollock, C. J., Capilla-Lasheras, P., Helm, B. & Dominoni, D. M. Integrated behavioural and stable isotope data reveal altered diet linked to low breeding success in urban-dwelling blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 5014 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-04575-y 


Mystery of birds’ movements at sea solved - RSPB
New research reveals unprecedented insights into where British and Irish breeding seabirds go when they’re not on land, providing critical information to inform future management of UK seas post-Brexit

The five year project GPS-tracked over 1300 breeding seabirds of four species from a number of colonies in Britain and Ireland allowing conservationists to predict where seabirds from all of the region’s colonies go to find food

The new maps will be used to assess potential impacts from offshore wind farms, pollution and other human activities on breeding seabirds, helping to protect these threatened species

Experts have used GPS-tracking and computer models on an unprecedented scale to map where British and Irish breeding seabirds go to feed, revealing unique insights into the distribution of these enigmatic species.   
New research, published in a leading science and conservation journal Ecological Applications, used five years of seabird GPS tracking data and powerful computer modelling methods to estimate the areas of sea used by four of Britain and Ireland’s breeding seabird species. This has enabled scientists to predict, for the first time on a national scale, where birds go at sea when they leave their nests on land to find food. 
This comes as UK administrations are considering the creation of protected sites at sea to safeguard key seabird feeding areas, as well as planning future fisheries policy for UK territorial seas once outside of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. These new findings will provide critical information to inform future management of the marine environment post-Brexit. 


Ravens parallel great apes in their planning abilities – Lund University

Research from Lund University in Sweden shows that ravens can plan for different types of future events, while also demonstrating self-control and sensitivity to different lengths of time. Such skills are central to humans, and previous research has indicated that they are Photo: Mathias Osvathunique to humans and great apes. The new findings reveal that complex cognition can arise several times independently of common descent, which is an important factor in charting the underlying principles of cognition.

Photo: Mathias Osvath

Anyone who has spent time in London sees the merits of carrying an umbrella, despite the inconvenience, and the sky currently being blue. This type of planning, which is based on expectations and sometimes requires one to forgo immediate wants and comforts, has historically been thought to be unique to humans and great apes.

Previous research has shown that corvids can plan for, among other things, the next day’s breakfast by stashing food in different compartments; however, this behavior is considered to be different from the planning exhibited by apes. As most corvids habitually hide food, their admittedly impressive behavior might reflect a specific adaptation confined to the food hoarding domain. The new study, published in the journal Science, now reveals that ravens are at least as good as apes at general planning tasks as well.



Beavers’ unique ability to restore landscapes revealed - University of Stirling 

Beavers’ exceptional ability to re-create diverse wetland landscapes that are home to a wide variety of species, has been revealed by researchers at the University of Stirling.

A new study, partly-funded by Scottish Natural Heritage and published in the international journal Science of the Total Environment, is the first to fully measure these environmental benefits over time. 

Image shows the site transformation one year after beavers were introduced (a), and then 11 years later (b) (University of Stirling)Image shows the site transformation one year after beavers were introduced (a), and then 11 years later (b) (University of Stirling)

Scientists looked at the effects a small group of beavers had on a wetland in Tayside originally drained for farming.  Over a period of 12 years, local plant richness rose by 46% and the total number of different plants recorded more than doubled. Species which normally grow in areas with high nitrogen levels decreased, indicating a return to more natural soil conditions.

Stirling’s Professor Nigel Willby, said: “Wetlands are tremendously important environments for biodiversity. They also serve to store water and improve its quality – they are the ‘kidneys of the landscape’. However, the world’s wetlands are disappearing at an alarming rate – the latest estimates suggest that almost two thirds have been lost since 1900.  Beavers are renowned for their engineering skills, like dam building, and are now being considered as tools for restoring wetlands. They have been reintroduced widely, including in Scotland, partly for this purpose and our findings demonstrate the surprisingly large benefits they can bring to biodiversity.”

Between 2003 and 2015, the beavers constructed 195 metres of dams, 500 metres of canals and an acre of ponds, surrounded by a mosaic of vegetation which increased in complexity by 71%.

400 years after being hunted to extinction in the UK, beavers were re-admitted to Scotland last year, based on experience from trial reintroductions. SNH will use the findings of this study to inform discussions about how the animal can be integrated within the Scottish countryside.

Access the paper: Alan Law, Martin J. Gaywood, Kevin C. Jones, Paul Ramsay, Nigel J. Willby, Using ecosystem engineers as tools in habitat restoration and rewilding: beaver and wetlands, Science of The Total Environment, Volumes 605–606, 15 December 2017, Pages 1021-1030, ISSN 0048-9697, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.173.


New light on the secret life of badgers - University of Oxford, WildCRU

Badgers are more sociable than often thought, with implications for how they transmit disease according to Oxford University researchers.

Using security tracking technology more commonly used to protect museum artwork, the new research has revealed fresh insights into the animals’ social behaviour.

Previous studies have fuelled the assumption that badgers are a territorial and anti-social species, living in exclusive, tight-knit family groups, known as ‘setts’. This picture of the mammal’s social system led to the belief that they actively defend territorial borders and consequently rarely travel beyond their social-group boundaries. Some culling and vaccination programmes now rely on this perception, considering badger society as being divided up into discrete, impenetrable units.

The findings, published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, reveal that badgers travel more frequently beyond these notional boundaries than first thought, and appear to at least tolerate their neighbours.

Understanding day-to-day wildlife behaviour is critical to solving problems related to conservation and disease management. These issues are particularly relevant to badgers, because of their controversial role in the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) to cattle in the UK and Ireland.

An interdisciplinary team of Zoology and Computer Science Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, used active Radio Frequency Identification Technology (aRFID) to ‘tag’ and monitor the movements of badgers in Wytham, Oxfordshire. The team discovered that the level of connectivity among badgers from different social-groups, was not as expected.

Professor David Macdonald, Director of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), said: ‘The private lives of badgers turn out to be almost as hard to understand as those of people – but after 25 years of trying, supported by extraordinary technologies, we’re nudging closer to an understanding that is not only intriguing but also, for example in the context of bTB, useful.’ 

Read the paper (open access): Ellwood SA, Newman C, Montgomery RA, et al. An active-radio-frequency-identification system capable of identifying co-locations and social-structure: Validation with a wild free-ranging animal. Methods Ecol Evol. 2017;00:1–10. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12839


Improving habitats for bats – University of Stirling

The effects of 160 years of woodland creation on bats has been revealed by a natural experiment.

A study led by the University of Stirling has produced evidence of the characteristics of planted woodlands that are likely to benefit bats and other Dr Elisa Fuentes-Montemayor, Research Fellow, led the study (University of Stirling)wildlife.  

Dr Elisa Fuentes-Montemayor, Research Fellow, led the study (University of Stirling)

The research is part of the innovative Woodland Creation and Ecological Networks (WrEN) project between the University of Stirling, Forest Research and Natural England, which is using a novel large-scale natural experiment to assess the impact of 160 years of woodland creation on current biodiversity. Taking advantage of the well-mapped changes in landscapes in England and Scotland since 1840, the researchers have identified woodlands planted between 10 and 160 years ago; there, they are studying a wide range of woodland species to understand their habitat requirements at different spatial scales.

The results, published in the journal ‘Ecological Applications’, show species of bat respond differently to local woodland attributes and the surrounding landscapes, depending on their mobility.

The study also shows that landscape characteristics, such as woodland connectivity, are most important for bats in intensively farmed landscapes where woodland loss and fragmentation have been more severe.


Scientific publications

Shwartz, A. et al (2017) Scaling up from protected areas in England: The value of establishing large conservation areas. Biological Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.06.016

Narango, D. L. Tallamy, W. W. & Marra, P. P. (2017) Native plants improve breeding and foraging habitat for an insectivorous bird. Biological Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.06.029


Whytock, R. C. et al (2017) Bird community responses to habitat creation in a long-term, large-scale natural experiment. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12983


Nichols, P., McCallum, A. & Lucke, T. (2017) Using Ground Penetrating Radar to Locate and Categorise Tree Roots Under Urban Pavements. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.06.019


Hitchmough, J., Wagner, M. & Ahmad, H, (2017) Can the addition of a shade-tolerant under-canopy layer allow designed herbaceous vegetation to be flower rich and resistant to weed colonisation? Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.06.022


Alison, J., Duffield, S. J., Morecroft, M. D., Marrs, R. H. & Hodgson, J. A. (2017) Successful restoration of moth abundance and species-richness in grassland created under agri-environment schemes. Biological Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.003


Mason, T. H. E., Keane, A., Redpath, S. M. & Bunnefeld, N. (2017) The changing environment of conservation conflict: geese and farming in Scotland - Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12969


Ashley J. W. Ward, Timothy M. Schaerf, James E. Herbert-Read, Lesley Morrell, David J. T. Sumpter, Mike M. Webster Local interactions and global properties of wild, free-ranging stickleback shoals R. Soc. Open Sci. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170043


Bessa, E., Geffroy, B & Gonçalves-De-Freitas, E. (2017) Tourism impact on stream fish measured with an ecological and a behavioural indicator. Aquatic Conservation. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2804


Alderton, E., Sayer, C.D., Davies, R., Lambert, S. J. & Axmacher, J. C. (2017) Buried alive: Aquatic plants survive in ‘ghost ponds’ under agricultural fields. Biological Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.06.004


Dayer, A. A., Lutter, S. H., Sesser, K. A., Hickey, C. M. & Gardali, T. (2017) Private Landowner Conservation Behavior Following Participation in Voluntary Incentive Programs: Recommendations to Facilitate Behavioral Persistence. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12394


Chadd, R. P. et al (2017) An index to track the ecological effects of drought development and recovery on riverine invertebrate communities. Ecological Indicators. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.06.058


Nathan Brown, Frank van den Bosch, Stephen Parnell, Sandra Denman Integrating regulatory surveys and citizen science to map outbreaks of forest diseases: acute oak decline in England and Wales. Proc. R. Soc. B 2017 284 20170547; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0547.  


Chanuki Illushka Seresinhe, Tobias Preis, Helen Susannah Moat Using deep learning to quantify the beauty of outdoor places. R. Soc. open sci. 2017 4 170170; DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170170.


Lonnie Mikkelsen, Line Hermannsen, Kristian Beedholm, Peter Teglberg Madsen, Jakob Tougaard Simulated seal scarer sounds scare porpoises, but not seals: species-specific responses to 12 kHz deterrence sounds. R. Soc. open sci. 2017 4 170286; DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170286


Sutter, L., Albrecht, M. and Jeanneret, P., Landscape greening and local creation of wildflower strips and hedgerows promote multiple ecosystem services J Appl Ecol. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12977


Stephen C. Votier, Annette L. Fayet, Stuart Bearhop, Thomas W. Bodey, Bethany L. Clark, James Grecian, Tim Guilford, Keith C. Hamer, Jana W. E. Jeglinski, Greg Morgan, Ewan Wakefield, Samantha C. Patrick Effects of age and reproductive status on individual foraging site fidelity in a long-lived marine predator Proc. R. Soc. B DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1068.


Griffiths, S. R., Bender, R., Godinho, L. N., Lentini, P. E., Lumsden, L. F. and Robert, K. A. (2017), Bat boxes are not a silver bullet conservation tool. Mam Rev. doi:10.1111/mam.12097


N. Pieretti, M. Lo Martire, A. Farina, R. Danovaro, Marine soundscape as an additional biodiversity monitoring tool: A case study from the Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean Sea), Ecological Indicators, Volume 83, December 2017, Pages 13-20, ISSN 1470-160X, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.07.011.


Patrik Karell, Staffan Bensch, Kari Ahola, Muhammad Asghar. Pale and dark morphs of tawny owls show different patterns of telomere dynamics in relation to disease status Proc. R. Soc. B 2017 284 20171127; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1127.


Nedelc, S. L. et al Motorboat noise disrupts co-operative interspecific interactions. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 6987(2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-06515-2


Wood, K.A. et al (2017) Apparent survival of an Arctic-breeding migratory bird over 44 years of fluctuating population size. IBIS. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12521


Hillebrand H, Blasius B, Borer ET, et al. Biodiversity change is uncoupled from species richness trends: consequences for conservation and monitoring. J Appl Ecol. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12959 


Wildlife News

Heroes Wanted - To Help our Hedgerows! – Surrey Wildlife Trust

Hedgerows are a haven for wildlife such as hedgehogs, butterflies and birds, but this vital habitat may be under threat. Now Surrey Wildlife © Jon HawkinsTrust is a launching an exciting new project called ‘Hedgerow Heroes’, to train an army of volunteers to help save the county’s precious hedge network.

© Jon Hawkins

“Hedgerows are fantastically important for lots of different species, providing excellent habitat for dormice and commuting routes for bats. Hedgehogs use them for foraging and shelter and they are a magnet for birds and bees,” said Jim Jones, the Trust’s Living Landscapes Project Manager. “Hedgerows form vital natural highways, enabling wildlife to move around. They can also help prevent flooding and slow down soil erosion. But hedgerows are very under-recorded in Surrey. A lot of them may be in a very poor state – surveys suggest just 10 per cent are in good condition - and that needs to change.”

Hedgerows are at risk from intensive farming and development and many are being damaged by over pruning or neglect. Since the Second World War more than 120,000km of hedgerows have been lost. Some of the ancient hedges that remain are rich in plants such as hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn and oak – an amazing 130 species of conservation concern are known to rely on them.

As part of the Hedgerow Heroes project, teams of volunteers will be shown how to carry out hedgerow surveys and trained in traditional hedgerow management techniques. They will also plant new hedgerows in some areas. Information collected by the volunteers will be used to build up a database of information about the current state of the county’s hedgerows.



First gannet chick hatched at St Abbs – National Trust for Scotland

Staff at the National Trust for Scotland's St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve are celebrating a first this summer, as the first northern gannet chick ever to be recorded there was seen on 7 July.

Image: National Trust for Scotland Up until the spring of 2016 there had only been three occasions in the last 30 years or so when gannets had been seen settling down on the cliffs at St Abb’s Head, which has been in the care of Scotland’s largest conservation charity since 1980. 

Image: National Trust for Scotland 

Last year, for the first time on record, gannets attempted to nest at St Abb’s Head. In late May, a number of birds started prospecting one of the large seabird stacks with a few settling onto the stack and pairing up, looking like they were getting ready to breed.  One pair even brought in nesting material, but nothing came of it.

This year, the prospecting birds came earlier and in larger numbers, with around 70 gannets scouting out the same stack, and with many pairs settling on the stack and performing courtship displays.  However, as with last year, after a short flurry of activity most of the birds left, leaving just three pairs of birds which have been sitting tight since then.


National Trust rangers go to extreme lengths to monitor storm petrels - National Trust

With ghetto blasters pumping into the early hours, this remote night spot has a very exclusive guest list: elusive sea birds only.

National Trust rangers are going to extreme lengths to monitor storm petrels, setting up high-powered speakers to lure them in at night.

A small team of passionate ornithologists at The Leas in South Tyneside will work into the early hours to coax the birds by transmitting their sound out to sea.

Image: Douglas HoldenStorm petrels, which don’t usually come inland in the daytime as they’re easily predated by gulls, are caught in mist nets before being ringed, recorded and set free again.

Image: Douglas Holden

The data is passed onto the British Trust for Ornithology and provides vital information in understanding the survival rates, population sizes and movement of storm petrels. 

Dougie Holden, ranger for the National Trust on The Leas said: “A small team of us regularly monitor storm petrels in July and August. We construct 120 foot of fine netting on the beach and begin playing the sound of the breeding colony as soon as it gets dark, usually around 10pm at this time of year. When the birds fly inland they are caught in the net and trained handlers ring the birds and record their data. We prefer the weather conditions to be a little overcast as the nets are more visible to the birds on a clear moonlit night. The information we gather through bird ringing and monitoring provides a small part of a much bigger picture when it comes to understanding how a species lives and thrives. The National Trust is passionate about wildlife conservation. We work closely with volunteers and other like-minded organisations to care for our natural world.”


Moray ospreys translocated to Basque Country – Forestry Commission Scotland

Forest Enterprise Scotland's Aberdeenshire team has been involved in a five year project to help restore breeding Ospreys to the Basque image: Forestry Commission ScotlandCountry of Spain.

The FES team has been working with renowned conservationist Roy Dennis, of the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, who has been collecting chicks under a SNH licence to translocate to Spain’s Basque Country, where no Ospreys have bred for a century or more.

The release site, the Urdaibai Estuary near Bilbao, is used by Ospreys during their passage to and from Scotland so was considered a suitable site for a re-introduction by the Basque osprey group.

Image: Forestry Commission Scotland

As well as providing a gene pool for re-introductions to other countries, this partnership has also protected existing nests and so helped Ospreys consolidate their numbers and spread in Scotland.

Alan Campbell, Environment Ranger with FES team, said: “This has been a great project to be involved in. It feels really good to know that we have helped reintroduce these magnificent birds to another part of the world where they have been struggling to hold on. Roy has been weighing, measuring and ringing osprey chicks on the national forest estate for many years, but over the past five years, when there has been more than one chick in a nest, the larger chick has been selected for translocation.”


Hen harriers return to the Dales - Yorkshire Dales National Park 

One of England’s rarest breeding birds, the hen harrier, attempted to nest in the Yorkshire Dales National Park this spring for the first time in 10 years.

The National Park has large areas of potentially suitable nesting upland habitat for the birds of prey, but several factors – including persecution – have precluded breeding.  

Several hen harriers, however, lingered in the Cumbrian part of the National Park this spring and started to display.  One male paired up with two separate females: an adult female and an immature female.  This behaviour – called polygyny – is rare in most bird species but is often found in hen harrier breeding populations.  

Both females laid eggs in nests sited on the edge of a moor managed for grouse shooting.  The birds were watched by a small team of staff and volunteers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) and Natural England. The monitoring was undertaken with the close co-operation and support of local landowners, including the shooting estate, and residents.  

Unfortunately neither nesting attempt was successful.  One failure happened very early in the season, the other midway through the incubation period. Both attempts are thought to have failed because of predation by foxes.  There was no evidence of human interference.  The male and both females were seen in the area after the nesting attempts had failed.

The YDNPA’s Chief Executive, David Butterworth, said: “Given it had been ten years since hen harriers nested in the National Park, the presence of these birds was extremely welcome.  It was, therefore, incredibly disappointing that the nesting attempts failed, despite the best efforts of all involved. The Authority is fully aware of all the issues surrounding hen harriers in the uplands, so it was really encouraging that the birds’ presence was welcomed by all stakeholders.  We would like to thank them all for their cooperation during the nesting period.  We hope that the enlightened attitude towards the presence of these birds is the start of a more positive outlook for this species, which will lead to the hen harrier returning as a regular breeding species within the Yorkshire Dales National Park”.


10 Hen Harriers dance in the Northumbrian sky - Northumberland National Park

The Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership is pleased to announce that five pairs of hen harriers attempted to nest in Northumberland fledging ten young.

Hen Harrier chicks in Northumberland (image: Northumberland NPA)Hen Harrier chicks in Northumberland (image: Northumberland NPA)

After another very poor season for hen harriers elsewhere in England, with no successful breeding attempts, the Northumberland population is once again bucking the trend. In 2015 eight young from two nests successfully fledged and last year six young from two nests fledged. This year, three of the five nests were ultimately successful and produced the ten young.

This spring we saw an increase in activity with even more birds performing their spectacular courtship displays known as “sky dancing” and five pairs eventually nesting, four of them once again on land managed by the Forestry Commission.  A dedicated team of raptor conservation volunteers together with specialists from the partnership worked together to watch over all of the nests. Despite some atrocious weather, ten young birds have successfully fledged. All of them were checked and ringed and the partnership is using satellite technology to monitor birds.

The Partnership is also delighted to learn that a young hen harrier named Finn that fledged in Northumberland in 2016 is successfully raising her own chick in South West Scotland. Finn was fitted with a satellite tracker before leaving her nest in Northumberland last year and has been closely monitored ever since. Finn was named after teenage conservationist and blogger, Findlay Wilde, who together with energy company, Ecotricity, sponsored Finn’s tag.

Andrew Miller, Head of Programmes and Conservation at Northumberland National Park, and Chair of the Northumberland Hen Harrier Protection Partnership said: “Hen harriers are still facing an uphill battle to re-establish themselves in the uplands of England. However with the positive support of all our partners including key landowners, ten young birds have successfully fledged. Working together and using the latest scientific techniques is also increasing our knowledge of this amazing species. We will continue to monitor our birds throughout the year and hope that this year’s youngsters will stay safe and be as successful as Finn”


50th Kielder osprey chick fledges - Northumberland Wildlife Trust

The Kielder ospreys have now fledged 50 chicks since they began nesting at Kielder Water & Forest Park in 2009.

Archer, the 50th chick to fledge at Kielder on Nest 3 (centre). © Forestry Commission EnglandThis year, nine chicks have fledged from four nests including Archer from Nest 3, who is officially the 50th bird to take its first flight at Kielder.

Archer, the 50th chick to fledge at Kielder on Nest 3 (centre). © Forestry Commission England

This year is the second most successful breeding season ever for the Kielder Ospreys, with only 2016 producing more fledged chicks, a record-breaking 11 of them. However, this year’s success has been tinged with sadness. One of the 13 eggs one failed to hatch and three of the chicks died before they had a chance to fledge.

Extremely wet weather at times has affected a number of UK osprey nests this season, including Kielder. The overall productivity of just over two fledges per nest is still above the average for many UK osprey projects.

Joanna Dailey, Kielder Osprey expert volunteer, said: “Kielder Water & Forest Park has proved to be a successful home for ospreys, with excellent habitat and food supply. A special pleasure this year has been seeing the Nest 3 adults, breeding here since 2014, raise three chicks for the first time. It is apt that the official 50th Kielder fledge is from that nest.”

Visitors can still watch the antics of the birds until late August through nest cameras broadcasting at Kielder Castle Café. For a chance to see these magnificent birds, join Northumberland Wildlife Trust volunteers at Northumbrian Water’s Kielder Waterside every Saturday, Sunday and Monday to view Nest 1A and 2 through a scope and see live footage broadcast from the nest to a screen in the cabin.


Rare and elusive nightjars return to Snelsmore Common, thanks to walkers - BBOWT

The rare and elusive nightjar has returned to Snelsmore Common in West Berkshire, after an absence of two years, reports the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.

Nightjar by Katie Fuller (via BBOWT)Nightjar by Katie Fuller (via BBOWT)

These extremely well-camouflaged, nocturnal birds spend the day hiding from predators by keeping still, either perched on a branch or on its nest on the ground. But at dusk the air fills with the eerie ‘churring’ noise of the male’s song as they start to hunt for moths across the heath.

Because nightjars nest on the ground, they are prone to being disturbed by people walking too close, and by dogs running through the Common.

This spring and summer the Wildlife Trust had a small group of wardens working with visitors to Snelsmore Common to meet walkers and explain the importance of the area for wildlife, and how people can help the rare birds like the nightjars.

Stephen Plaisted-Kerr, one of the wardens, said: “People have been very interested in finding out about nightjars and other wildlife. Everybody who we have spoken to has been happy to stick to the paths and keep their dogs under control during this sensitive nesting period, so it’s thanks to them that we’ve seen the rewards with the return of the nightjars this year.”


Record year for rare black-winged stilts - RSPB

  • An unprecedented 13 black-winged stilt chicks fledge in the UK across sites in Kent, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, including nine on two RSPB reserves.
  • Extremely rare in the UK, more stilts fledged this year than the total between 1983 and 2016.
  • In part due to climate change, stilts are touching down in the UK in search of marshy conditions to raise their chicks.
  • The birds have benefitted from work on RSPB reserves to create the perfect habitat for them. 

Mud flats at low tide (image: Gordon Langsbury)Usually found in Southern Europe, a record 13 black-winged stilts have fledged in the UK from nests across Kent, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, including nine on two RSPB reserves after years of conservation work to create the ideal marshy habitat for them. 

Mud flats at low tide (image: Gordon Langsbury)

An elegant, black and white wader bird with long, bubble-gum pink legs, black-winged stilts have become a more common sight in recent years as they move from their traditional nesting grounds in southern Europe in search of wetland habitat to raise their young. However, fledglings are still extremely rare in the UK with only a handful of successes in the past decade. 

RSPB Cliffe Pools in north Kent proved to be the most productive site for black-winged stilts this summer as two pairs fledged an impressive seven chicks. A further two young fledged from RSPB Ouse Washes in Cambridgeshire, with a final four coming from a nest in Norfolk making it the most successful breeding season for stilts in the UK. 


National survey fuels plans to help one of Scotland's most iconic birds - RSPB

The latest national survey of Scotland’s population of capercaillie, the world’s largest grouse, estimates there to be only 1114 individuals - making it one of the country’s most endangered birds.

Scotland’s capercaillie population is assessed every six years by RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage with the most recent survey conducted during winter 2015/16.  Between November and March, RSPB surveyors walked nearly one thousand miles of transects looking for and recording the birds. The previous survey was carried out in winter 2009/10 and put capercaillie numbers at around 1285 individuals.

Capercaillie (image: Ben Andrew / RSPB)Capercaillie (image: Ben Andrew / RSPB)

Capercaillie are found in mature pine woodlands in parts of the Highlands, Moray, Aberdeenshire and Perthshire, but Strathspey holds around 83% of the remaining population.

An innovative five year initiative, the Cairngorms Capercaillie Project, is being developed to help the bird. Spearheaded by the Cairngorms Nature Partnership (1), the scheme will work closely with communities to build support for the conservation of capercaillie, as well as aiming to create bigger, better managed and better connected forests to support long-term survival of capercaillie and other species in pine woods.

Key to its success will be partnerships with National Park communities; local residents will help the project team design sensible approaches to improve recreational opportunities for locals and visitors while reducing disturbance of capercaillie.



Threat to new beaver family in the Highlands of Scotland - Trees for Life

A family of beavers found living on a river in the Beauly area in the Scottish Highlands are to be trapped and put into captivity following a decision by Scottish Government Ministers. Trees for Life, the charity which discovered the group, says the family should either stay where they are or be relocated locally.

European Beaver (image: L.Campbell)Film from camera traps set by the conservation experts from the charity in mid-June clearly show the presence of a mother and at least two young kits swimming and playing with their mum. Trees for Life shared news of the discovery with Scottish Natural Heritage and made a case to Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham that the family be allowed to stay.

European Beaver (image: L.Campbell)

Alan McDonnell, Conservation Projects Manager at Trees for Life says: `It is disappointing that government is already starting the process of trapping this family without considering other options. Whilst we understand that the Minister wants to address the concerns of landowners in Tayside, the situation here is very different and we think it is possible to consult and negotiate with landowners in the immediate vicinity of the family and upstream to find an alternative outcome for the animals.’

Beavers have sparked controversy and concern from landowners in parts of Tayside where there is intensive arable farming. In contrast, much of the land neighbouring the newly confirmed beaver home in the Highlands is used for livestock farming.

Alan McDonnell says: ‘We think these beavers have been active at this site for at least five years without any local concerns being raised. Which just goes to show that in the right location, beavers and other land use interests can co-exist successfully.’


Following the news that The Lynx UK Trust has submitted an application to Natural England to bring six of the wild cats from Sweden to Kielder Forest.

NSA rejects procedures behind Lynx UK Trust release licence application – National Sheep Association

With Lynx UK Trust having submitted a formal application to Natural England for a release licence for lynx into Kielder Forest, Northumberland, the National Sheep Association (NSA) is continuing to raise serious concerns around processes and proposals adopted by the body.

Responding to the announcement, NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “NSA has been strongly opposed to what Lynx UK Trust is calling a pilot release since its inception, with serious concerns around the way the organisation conducted its consultation process to questions around whether current law would even allow such a release to take place.”


Possible wildcat kitten found in Strathbogie priority area - Scottish Wildcat Action

possible wildcat kittenThe outcome for this fun-sized feline may not have been good had our Project Officer Emma Rawling not been contacted by a member of the public (Chris), who found it near Huntly.

image: Scottish Wildcat Action

Though it’s tricky to tell whether a kitten is wildcat when they are so young, we think this kitten might be one. To confirm this we’ve sent off a wee sample of its DNA for testing.

When it was found it was cold, wet and hungry. Chris had been keeping an eye on it for a couple of days prior to Emma arriving. With no sign of the mother over this time and the kitten showing no signs of being cared for, we could be confident that the wee toot needed help. It is now being looked after by a couple, one of whom happens to be a vet so he couldn't be in better hands.

Zac, this year a proud wildcat father of a litter of wildcat kittens at the Highland Wldlife Park, was rescued as a kitten in a similar way not far from this one. There have also been a number of recent possible wildcat sightings in the Strathbogie area and Emma is very excited about this latest finding.


Fish & herpetology

Watch out for Pacific pink salmon in Scotland - Fisheries Management Scotland

Salmon (image: Nigel Fell) In recent weeks, anglers in Scotland (Rivers Ness, Dee and Helmsdale) have reported several captures of fresh run non-native Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). Some captures have also been reported in some salmon net fisheries in Scotland and both rod and net fisheries in England and Ireland.

Salmon (image: Nigel Fell)

These fish are not native to Scotland and are likely to have ‘strayed’ from some of the rivers in northern Norway or Russia. Read more about what you should do if you encounter one of these fish.


Is Welsh coast haven for Angelsharks? - Natural Resources Wales

A project to gather evidence for a population of one of the world’s rarest sharks has been launched in Welsh waters

Once widespread across Europe, the Angelshark is now listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List (the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s list of threatened species), with the waters around the Canary Islands being the only place where they are frequently sighted.  However there have been an increasing number of sightings of these rare fish off the Welsh coast in recent years.

Now scientists from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and ZSL (Zoological Society of London) are teaming up with fishermen and others all along the coast of Wales to find out more about our native Angelshark population.  As part of the project people are being asked to report all accidental catches of the shark, and being given advice on how to handle and release them safely back into the water unharmed. Angelsharks can grow up to around two and a half metres (around eight feet) in length. They are also known as monk or monkfish by fishermen in the region.

Ben Wray, Marine Biodiversity Ecologist at Natural Resources Wales, said: “Commercial fishermen and anglers have been reporting more sightings of Angelsharks in recent years. We know very little about the ecology of the shark in Welsh waters at the moment – the population could be present all year round, or only for part of the year. The fact that commercial fishermen and anglers along the coast of Wales are helping us with this research is really important, and we are very grateful to them for their help. We hope that the data we gather will help us build a much better picture of the situation and help our work to conserve these amazing creatures."

Click through for a video of angelsharks.



Theft of the food plant and caterpillars of the rare swallowtail butterfly from internationally important nature reserve – Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Swallowtail caterpillars on milk parsley by Elizabeth DackNorfolk Wildlife Trust has reported the uprooting and theft of five milk parsley plants from its nature reserve at Hickling Broad. Most if not all of the milk parsley plants had rare swallowtail butterfly caterpillars feeding on them and the plants were deliberately removed from the site to acquire the caterpillars. Milk parsley (Peucedanum palustre) is a scarce, vulnerable and declining, internationally-protected plant found mainly in East Anglian marshland.  It is also the only plant (a relative of roadside cow parsley) that the green and black striped caterpillars of Britain’s largest butterfly, the swallowtail will feed upon.  The swallowtail butterfly is extremely rare and also only found in the wild in the fens of the Norfolk Broads.

Swallowtail caterpillars on milk parsley by Elizabeth Dack

Chief Executive, Brendan Joyce said, “This is an appalling wildlife crime to dig up these rare plants from an internationally important nature reserve and deliberately take rare swallowtail butterfly caterpillars. Britain’s vulnerable wildlife faces enough challenges without people callously exploiting precious plants and animals for commercial or personal gain.  It is very unlikely that the plants or the caterpillars will survive for any significant amount of time away from the reserve.  The police are currently investigating the incident and we would urge the public to contact the police if they see swallowtail butterflies in an unusual or previously unknown location or if they are approached to purchase any butterflies or plants.”


Threatened native species finds safety in Lincolnshire – Environment Agency

Refuges have been set up in the county for the country's only native species of crayfish

On the move: Environment Agency monitoring officer Emma Holden helps transfer native crayfish to a protected Ark Site in Lincolnshire, safe from the threat of invasive Signals (Environment Agency)On the move: Environment Agency monitoring officer Emma Holden helps transfer native crayfish to a protected Ark Site in Lincolnshire, safe from the threat of invasive Signals (Environment Agency)

Efforts to protect the UK’s only native species of crayfish have seen almost 600 specimens moved to protected new homes in Lincolnshire.

The endangered white-clawed crayfish have been transferred to two secluded locations, chosen for their potential as safe havens.

Known as ‘Ark Sites’, the carefully selected refuges have all the characteristics needed for the crayfish to establish a thriving colony, including good-quality water, suitable habitat, and an isolated location.

Most importantly, they will be safe from the threat of their non-native counterparts, the North American Signal crayfish. This invasive species out-competes our own for food and habitat, and carries a fungal disease that devastates native populations.

Dr Chris Extence, Environment Agency team leader for Analysis and Reporting, said:

Bringing our native crayfish into the safety of an Ark Site is vital to protecting them from these threats, safeguarding their long-term survival and stability. 


Rare Beetle discovered at How Hill - Broads Authority

The Broads Authority is able to announce the exciting discovery of the Black Longhorn Beetle (Stictoleptura Scutellata) at How Hill. This impressive longhorn beetle is nationally scarce, however despite this fact, a new breeding site was discovered on a tall dead beech trunk at the entrance to the secret garden at How Hill. 

The Black Longhorn Beetle © Michael O'Hara via Broads AuthorityThe Black Longhorn Beetle © Michael O'Hara via Broads Authority

This is a prime example of the importance of maintaining deadwood for the sake of the array of species that are dependent upon its existence. None more so than the Black Longhorn Beetle which particularly favours dead alder stumps and branches. This unusual beetle spends most of its time high in the canopy of large trees but can be found on occasion visiting flowers.

The discovery of the Black Longhorn Beetle is of particular significance as there were previously no records whatsoever of the beetle in Norfolk or Suffolk until one was photographed on fen vegetation at Sutton Fen on the 7th July 2016. It was then on the 27th June 2017 that one appeared when photographed feeding on meadowsweet blossom at How Hill by Red O’Hara and, after several unsuccessful visits by Martin Rejzek (a national longhorn expert), and Martin Collier (Norfolk Beetle Recorder) a breeding site was discovered where a few examples were seen flying and ovipositing in the bark on 9th July 2017.

Andrea Kelly, Senior Ecologist for the Broads Authority stated that, ‘the discovery of this conservation priority species shows the success of our work to retain the full age structure of trees, particularly old deadwood which this rare longhorn beetle requires. Deadwood plays a crucial role in all woodlands, not only by storing nutrients and carbon but also providing the specific conditions for fungi, lichens, bugs and beetles, mosses and birds, many of which have evolved to be entirely dependent on old wood.’


Boost for bees and butterflies - Scottish Government

Ten-year plan to stop decline of pollinating insects.

A new strategy has been launched to make Scotland a more pollinator friendly place by protecting indigenous bee and butterfly populations.

Since 1980 the number of pollinating insects in Scotland - honey bees, bumble bees, the solitary bee, butterflies and hoverflies - have declined by an estimated 51%, leading to fears of a negative impact on agriculture, food security, the economy and human health.

Buff tailed bumblebee (image: Scottish Government)Buff tailed bumblebee (image: Scottish Government)

The Pollinator Strategy calls for:

  • the restoration and creation of flower rich habitats,
  • greater use of green urban infrastructures, such as roof top gardens
  • the development and use of pollinator friendly pest control
  • new research into the impact of climate change on bee and butterfly numbers

Speaking at The Hidden Gardens in Glasgow, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s biodiversity is one of our key assets, and the contribution the humble bumble bee and other pollinators make to this wonderful environment should not be underestimated. That is why we are committed to making Scotland a more pollinator friendly place. Pressures like land use change, pesticides, pollution, disease and climate change are threatening these life-giving insects, so we must act now to protect the pollinators and in turn safeguard our environment, our food and in turn our health.”

Scottish Natural Heritage has led the development of the Pollinator Strategy working closely with a range of environmental and land management organisations.

Download the strategy document. 


Fife’s parks Buzzing with life – Buglife

After an exciting three-year team effort between Buglife, Fife Council, schoolchildren and community groups, over 13 hectares of native wildflower-rich grassland have been created at 23 locations across Fife. These new meadows are buzzing with life!

The ambitious Fife’s Buzzing project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Fife Environment Trust to enhance parks and greenspaces across the Kingdom for both wildlife and people to use and enjoy. The UK has lost over 97% of species-rich grassland since the 1940s, with dramatic declines in associated wildlife including native bees, butterflies, hoverflies and beetles. Projects like Fife’s Buzzing help create habitat for pollinating insects and other wildlife. The flowers and wildlife in turn add a welcome splash of colour and interest to public spaces.

Over the course of the Fife’s Buzzing project, over 4,000 people were engaged at meadow creation days, bug hunts and other events. Pupils from 27 schools and volunteers from 10 different community groups have been vital in helping with this project and have enjoyed creating and enhancing habitat for wildlife in their local area.

Suzanne Burgess, Buglife Scotland Manager said: “People of all ages from across Fife have helped enhance their area for wildlife and learn about the importance of native wildflower and grassland meadows for wildlife, especially our pollinators that are currently under enormous pressure.”



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Training:  Calendar for October


03/10/2017   European Conference on Heritage Interpretation   4 Day

Inverness, Scotland, Association for Heritage Interpretation. Contact: http://c-js.info/2qbG2Zj

03/10/2017   Changing Minds: Tools from Behavioural Science   1 Day

Bristol, Bristol Natural History Consortium. Contact: 01179253931 Matt@BNHC.org.uk http://c-js.info/2u4odbC

Understanding how people think, feel and respond to information is vital to successfully communicating environmental issues and influencing positive change. Join expert researchers and communications practitioners using behavioural sciences to explore and influence a shifting landscape of echo-chambers, divisive opinions and fake news.

05/10/2017   Extinction and Livestock: Moving to a flourishing food system for wildlife, farm animals and us   2 Day

Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3EE, Compassion in World Farming. Contact: amelia@dynamic-events.co.uk http://c-js.info/2tpIZnd

06/10/2017   CAT Conference 2017   3 Day

Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology. Contact: http://c-js.info/2ah2MOZ

logo: Community Seagrass Initiative09/10/2017    Community Science in the Natural World Conference    3 Days

National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, PL40LF, Community Seagrass Initiative. Contact: 07824833013 csi@national-aquarium.co.uk http://c-js.info/2vlCvJl

This conference aims to celebrate the contribution of citizen science to conserving our natural world. Hosting organisations, from governmental bodies to small scale projects, both terrestrial and marine. We’ll discuss the best practices and learning curves of using citizen science, and how it can be used as a tool for important monitoring and conservation past, present and future. Abstract deadline for talks and workshops is the 31st of August.

11/10/2017   Small scale, big impact: retrofitting and enhancing green infrastructure   1 Day

Arup, 13 Fitzroy Street, London W1T 4BZ , Town and Country Planning Association. Contact: http://c-js.info/2r9yxT6

12/10/2017   Tackling the Decline in Pollinating Insects: Boosting Community Partnerships and Engagement Nationwide   1 Day

London, Public Policy Exchange. Contact: info@publicpolicyexchange.co.uk http://c-js.info/2rOFG8u

16/10/2017   IPROW Annual Update 2017   2 Day

Royal Wootton Basset, near Swindon, IPROW. Contact: training@iprow.co.uk http://c-js.info/2oLW9Hr

16/10/2017   World Urban Parks European Congress 2017   4 Day

Wirral, World Urban Parks European Congress. Contact: WUPconference2017@wirral.gov.uk http://c-js.info/2umOf9X

18/10/2017   Valuing Nature Annual Conference 2017   2 Day

John McIntyre Centre, 18 Holyrood Park Rd, Edinburgh EH16 5AY, Valuing Nature. Contact: info@valuing-nature.net http://c-js.info/2sDNHgX

This free conference for will provide a national forum for sharing knowledge and research about valuing nature. The themes are   1. Health and Wellbeing in the Natural Environment 2. Exploring and Understanding Tipping Points 3. The broader Valuing Nature agenda

18/10/2017   SoilsCon 2017   1 Day

Phyllis Court, Marlow Road, Henley on Thames, Oxon RG9 2HT, Tim O'Hare Associates. Contact: http://c-js.info/2sFTdmu

18/10/2017   Green Infrastructure Fund - Learners' Event   1 Day

The Whisky Bond, Glasgow, SNH. Contact: 01738 458555 sgp@snh.gov.uk http://c-js.info/2umhObZ

A day of sharing ideas and experiences for those involved in the delivery of Green Infrastructure projects supported by the GI fund. An opportunity for networking, learning from each other and visiting a local project to see and discuss some of the on-the-ground activities being delivered in partnership.

27/10/2017   Second BSA Conference on Society, Environment and Human Health   1 Day

Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WT, The British Sociological Association. Contact: events@britsoc.org.uk http://c-js.info/2rU6DaM

28/10/2017   Unknown Wales Conference 2017   1 Day

National Museum of Wales Cardiff , The Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales / National Museum of Wales. Contact: 01656724100 r.revera@welshwildlife.org http://c-js.info/2klrxLv

The 2017 Unknown Wales Conference, run in conjunction with the National Museum of Wales to celebrate the unknown aspects of Welsh wildlife


Access and Rights of Way

03/10/2017   Agriculture for Rights of Way Officers   1 Day

Melton Mowbray, IPROW. Contact: training@iprow.co.uk http://iprow.co.uk/training/agriculture/

07/10/2017   BHS Level Three - Advanced Highway Law   1 Day

Ty Nant, Ty-Nant Road, Cardiff, South Glamorgan, CF15 8LB, The British Horse Society. Contact: 0 2476840582 access@bhs.org.uk http://c-js.co.uk/2kmsoLz

The next step after BHS Level Two training, (but not essential to have attended) to gain a more in depth knowledge of Political Lobbying, Public Inquiries and Highway Law, in order to effectively protect and extend equestrian routes. Costs £10 to attend, inc.lunch. Spaces limited.


Administrative and Office Skills

logo: CMA06/10/2017   South West Ranger Forum; Greening the City & Urban Wildlife Conservation    1 Day

Poole Farm, Plymouth, PL6 8NF, Countryside Management Association. Contact: https://countrysidemanagement.org.uk/event/2017-south-west-ranger-forum-greening-the-city-urban-wildlife-conservation/

An Introduction to greening the urban environment using the newly developing Derriford Community Park based around Poole Farm and nearby Plymouth City Council Local Nature Reserve. Showcasing the setting up a new environmental hub for the city of Plymouth and managing urban wildlife sites.  Free event.

10/10/2017   Wildlife Crime and the Law    1 Day

Richmond Park, The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539 bookings@speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk http://www.speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk/Training.html

A one day course giving participants background to the laws protecting UK wildlife, the skills and confidence to identify a potential wildlife crime and the knowledge to identify potential evidence

10/10/2017   Getting to Know the Planning System - Exeter   1 Day

Exeter, Acorn Ecology Ltd. Contact: 01392 366512 training@acornecology.co.uk http://ecologytraining.co.uk/book-a-course/advanced/#!/Getting-to-Know-the-Planning-System-Exeter-3rd-October-2016/p/54302342/category=14101224

This course will help you to understand how the planning system works, how you can work better within it to help your clients, and how you can ensure that your ecological survey reports contribute to the planning process.

11/10/2017   Arc Intermediate Training   2 Day

Talgarth, South Wales, exeGeSIS SDM Ltd. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk http://www.esdm.co.uk/arcgis-courses

Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

11/10/2017   Science Podcast Production Workshop   1 Day

Royal Society of Biology, Charles Darwin House, 12 Roger Street, London, WC1N 2JU, Royal Society of Biology. Contact: 020 7685 2578 training@rsb.org.uk https://www.rsb.org.uk/events/event_sciencepodcastproductionworkshop

12/10/2017   Preliminary Ecological Appraisal and Report Writing   2 Day

Witley, Near Guildford, Acorn Ecology Ltd. Contact: 01392 366512 training@acornecology.co.uk https://ecologytraining.co.uk/book-a-course/introductory/

Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) is an essential skill for any ecological consultant. Whilst on this 2-day course you will have the opportunity to visit and assess a range of different sites.

13/10/2017   Understanding Wildlife Law   1 Day

Nottingham, CIEEM. Contact: 01962 868626 enquiries@cieem.net http://www.cieem.net

This course will provide an introduction to both the criminal and administrative parts of English and Welsh law in relation to wildlife, focusing on Protected Species and Protected Sites.

16/10/2017   MapInfo Foundation Training   2 Day

Talgarth, South Wales, exeGeSIS SDM Ltd. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk http://www.esdm.co.uk/mapinfo-training-courses

Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

16/10/2017   Persuasive Scientific Report Writing   1 Day

Medical School, University of Birmingham, Vincent Drive, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2SG, Royal Society of Biology. Contact: 020 7685 2578 training@rsb.org.uk https://www.rsb.org.uk/events/event_persuasivescientificreportwriting

18/10/2017   Report writing for Phase 1 & other ecological surveys   2 Day

Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham, Ptyxis Ecology. Contact: 1436 321199 enquiries@ptyxis.com http://www.ptyxis.com

This course is aimed at recent graduates and people new to the conservation and ecology profession. It includes a mixture of theory and practise using case studies. We cover all of the essential elements of a Phase 1 report and include tips on making your writing clearer and more concise.

18/10/2017   MapInfo Intermediate Training   1 Day

Talgarth, South Wales, exeGeSIS SDM Ltd. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk http://www.esdm.co.uk/mapinfo-training-courses

Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals

18/10/2017   Volunteer Support and Management    1 Day

Lumen URC, 88 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9RS, Royal Society of Biology. Contact: 020 7685 2578 training@rsb.org.uk https://www.rsb.org.uk/events/event_volunteersupportandmanagement

20/10/2017   Protected Species Awareness   1 Day

Witley, Near Guildford, Acorn Ecology Ltd. Contact: 01392 366512 training@acornecology.co.uk https://ecologytraining.co.uk/book-a-course/introductory/

This course is designed for architects, land managers, land agents, estate agents and land owners. It aims to increase awareness of the legal obligations with regards to protected species and to provide advice on how to identify potential and work with ecological constraints on site.

24/10/2017   MapInfo Foundation Training    2 Day

Talgarth, South Wales, exeGeSIS SDM Ltd. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk http://www.esdm.co.uk/mapinfo-training-courses

25/10/2017   Presentation Skills    1 Day

Meeting Room 2, Charles Darwin House 2, 107 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8TZ, Royal Society of Biology. Contact: 020 7685 2578 training@rsb.org.uk https://www.rsb.org.uk/events/event_presentationskills

26/10/2017   QGIS Foundation Training   2 Day Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals   http://www.esdm.co.uk/qgis-training-courses 

27/10/2017   MapInfo Foundation Training    2 Day  http://www.esdm.co.uk/mapinfo-training-courses

30/10/2017   Arc Foundation Training   2 Day Ideal for Environmental & Ecological Professionals  http://www.esdm.co.uk/arcgis-courses

Talgarth, South Wales, exeGeSIS SDM Ltd. Contact: 01874 713066 Carolbateman@esdm.co.uk


Community Engagement and Environmental Education

03/10/2017   Level 3 Certificate in Forest School Programme Leadership   9 Day

Rosliston Forestry Centre, Swadlincote, near Burton-on-Trent., Creative Outdoor Learning. Contact: 0789 979 3967 enquiries@creativeoutdoorlearning.co.uk http://www.creativeoutdoorlearning.co.uk

The course to become a Forest School Leader. Held over 9 Tuesdays from 3rd October (excluding half term). Includes a 2 day post-course FS first aid course - all for £895.00. Weekly sessions allow time to practice skills and check learning as we progress. Easy access from across the Midlands.

06/10/2017   Forest School Level 1: Introduction to the principles of forest school   3 Day

Scotswood Natural Community Garden, Newcastle upon Tyne, Scotswood Natural Community Garden. Contact: 0191 2004706 harriet@sncg.org.uk http://www.sncg.org.uk

Nationally recognized qualification accredited through NOCN. This course introduces learners to the ethos of forest schools, and gives you a chance to learn a range of activities and games that you can take back to your won setting. A recent participant said "this is the best course I have been on in 21 years of teaching".

11/10/2017   Volunteer Management Training - London   1 Day

St. Lukes' Community Centre, Talk Action. Contact: 02073244775 training@talkaction.org http://www.talkaction.org/training/VolunteerManagementTrainingLondon/

Helping volunteers love you – your organisation and the role they play. Learn how to work with volunteers in new and exciting ways that help build your organisation, social enterprise or voluntary group.

13/10/2017   Forest School Taster Session   1 Day

Nower Wood, Mill Way, leatherhead KT22 8QA, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk http://www.surreywildlifetrust.org/events/2017/05/31/forest-school-taster-session?instance=0

Experience some of the activities that make Forest School so popular. Discover the ethos and talk to experienced leaders about starting your own programme.

16/10/2017   Level 3 Award in Education and Teaching (previously PTLLS)   5 Day

Lincoln, APIS Solutions. Contact: 01522753568 info@apissolutions.co.uk http://www.apissolutions.co.uk

18/10/2017   Forest Schools Leadership Training Course (Modular)   7 Day

The Sustainability Centre, The Sustainability Centre. Contact: 01730 823166 info@sustainability-centre.org http://www.sustainability-centre.org/forest-school-leader-training.html

Our modular Forest School Leader (Level 3) and Assistant (Level 2) training courses run over a period of nine months at The Sustainability Centre in the Hampshire South Downs. The training is run by Louise Ambrose from the Forest School Training Company and is accredited by the Open College Network (OCN).

24/10/2017   Risky Play Workshop for Early Years and Play Practitioners   1 Day

Toryglen Community Base, Glasgow, G42 0LA, Wild Sparks Outdoor Play CIC. Contact: sarah@wildsparks.co.uk http://www.wildsparks.co.uk

Consider the methodology and philosophy that leads the practice within our setting focussing on Risky Play and learning. Through discussion and hands-on activities participants will build a framework of visions and values for outdoor risky play. Practitioners will gain confidence to consider space availability and realistic planning relevant to outdoor education.

27/10/2017   Getting Kids Outdoors: Environmental Activities for Under 11s   1 Day

FSC Epping Forest, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory


Countryside Management Techniques

03/10/2017   The Biology of Decay in Trees   2 Day

Hatfield Forest, Takeley, Nr. Bishop's Stortford, National Trust. Contact: 01279 870678 nickly.daniel@nationaltrust.org.uk http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatfieldforest

A comprehensive two day Course to improve the awareness of the aging process of trees with particular emphasis of decay processes. Course fee £250 excl VAT

07/10/2017   Timber mensuration   2 Day

Ironbridge, Smallwoods Association. Contact: 01952 432769 fayhurford@smallwoods.org.uk http://www.smallwoods.org.uk/

Designed to provide woodland owners, managers, agents and contractor’s ability to calculate accurately timber volumes in standing trees, woodland compartments and road side stacks., measurements conventions, useful equipment, calculate the height and volume of a standing tree, stratification and sampling principles, yield class, Tariff and abbreviated tariff measurements, stack measurements.£160

10/10/2017   Professional Tree Inspection Three Day Course   3 Day Stoneleigh, Arboricultural Association.

11/10/2017   Getting to Grips with Subsidence   1 Day  Wokingham, Arboricultural Association.

Contact Arb Assoc: training@trees.org.uk http://www.trees.org.uk/Training-And-Events/All-Courses

12/10/2017   Valuing and managing veteran trees   1 Day

Tortworth Estate, Ancient Tree Forum. Contact: http://ancienttreeforum.co.uk/

A one-day introductory course aimed at those who are responsible for managing areas with veteran trees, anyone who owns veteran trees or has a keen interest. Training involves a combination of presentations, group exercises and field visits.

12/10/2017   Professional Tree Inspection Retake   1 Day

Stoneleigh, Arboricultural Association. Contact: training@trees.org.uk http://www.trees.org.uk/Training-And-Events/All-Courses

18/10/2017   ICP Vegetation - Ozone and Plants: From measurements to risk assessments   2 Day

Bangor, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Contact: https://www.ceh.ac.uk/training/icp-ozone-and-plants

This 3-day course will train existing or new participants in ICP Vegetation in the latest developments in quantifying the risk of damage to vegetation from the air pollutant ozone. It covers measuring plant responses to ozone through to spatial quantification of risk. Free bursaries for overseas researchers. Other £449.

19/10/2017   Valuing and managing veteran trees   1 Day

Tortworth Estate, near Bristol, Ancient Tree Forum. Contact: training@ancienttreeforum.co.uk http://www.ancienttreeforum.co.uk/events/valuing-and-managing-veteran-trees-a-one-day-training-course-south-gloucestershire-2/

A one day introductory course aimed at those who are responsible for managing areas with veteran trees, anyone who owns veteran trees or has a keen interest. Training involves a combination of presentations, group exercises and field visits.

25/10/2017   Basic Tree Survey & Inspection   1 Day Wokingham, Arboricultural Association.

26/10/2017   BS5837 Tree Survey and Categorisation   1 Day Wokingham, Arboricultural Association.

31/10/2017   Professional Tree Inspection Three Day Course   3 Day Brandon, Arboricultural Association.

Contact Arb Assoc: training@trees.org.uk http://www.trees.org.uk/Training-And-Events/All-Courses


First Aid, Risk Assessment and other Health & Safety Related Courses

05/10/2017   Outdoor First Aid Course   2 Day

Inverness, First Aid Training Co-operative. Contact: 0333 4330731 courses@firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk http://www.firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk

Practical, NGB-suitable training courses across Scotland, from the country's leading provider. Founded by experienced outdoor practitioners, First Aid Training Co-operative specialises in outdoor first aid. Our 2 Day Outdoor First Aid Course covers all the requirements of National Governing Body (NGB) Instructor Awards. 16 hours.

05/10/2017   Emergency First Aid at Work   1 Day

Lincoln, APIS Solutions. Contact: 01522753568 info@apissolutions.co.uk http://www.apissolutions.co.uk

06/10/2017   Emergency First Aid At Work   1 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/emergency-first-aid-at-work/

Emergency First Aid At Work to include training specific to tree work - ie. Suspension trauma/tornequets etc.

07/10/2017   Wild Game Butchery   1 Day

Kemble, Hands on Bushcraft. Contact: 07598 491989 info@handsonbushcraft.co.uk http://www.handsonbushcraft.co.uk

Wild game such as venison, rabbit and pigeon are becoming increasing popular and this course is designed with that in mind. You will be shown and get hands on with the butchery of large and small game as well as fowl.

07/10/2017   Outdoor First Aid Course   2 Day Perth, First Aid Training Co-operative.

07/10/2017   Outdoor First Aid Course   2 Day Windermere, Lake District, First Aid Training Co-operative.

Both: Practical, NGB-suitable training courses across Scotland, from the country's leading provider. Founded by experienced outdoor practitioners, First Aid Training Co-operative specialises in outdoor first aid. Our 2 Day Outdoor First Aid Course covers all the requirements of National Governing Body (NGB) Instructor Awards. 16 hours.  Contact: 0333 4330731 courses@firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk http://www.firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk

07/10/2017   Level 3 Award in Outdoor First Aid (RQF)   2 Day

Craigholme Sports Complex, Glasgow, The Adventure Academy CIC. Contact: 0141 628 8520 info@theadventureacademy.org.uk https://theadventureacademy.org.uk/event/outdoor-first-aid-7-8-oct/

Our two day outdoor first aid course is accredited by Qualifications Network, an Ofqual Awarding body. The qualification appears on the Regulated Qualification Framework at level 3 and is suitable for outdoor NBGs including those from Mountain Training, Sports Leaders UK, BASI, British Cycling, RYA, and BCU/SCA. 

09/10/2017   First Aid at Work   3 Day APIS Solutions.

12/10/2017   Manual Handling   Half (morning) Day APIS Solutions.

12/10/2017   Fire Awareness   0.5 Day APIS Solutions

These APIS Solutions courses are held in Lincoln. Contact: 01522753568 info@apissolutions.co.uk http://www.apissolutions.co.uk 

14/10/2017   Outdoor First Aid Course   2 Day

Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, Peebles, First Aid Training Co-operative. Contact: 0333 4330731 courses@firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk http://www.firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk

Practical, NGB-suitable training courses across Scotland, from the country's leading provider. Founded by experienced outdoor practitioners, First Aid Training Co-operative specialises in outdoor first aid. Our 2 Day Outdoor First Aid Course covers all the requirements of National Governing Body (NGB) Instructor Awards. 16 hours.

18/10/2017   Arb Approved Contractor Preparation Workshop   1 Day Winchester, Arboricultural Association.

19/10/2017   Risk Assessment for Commercial Arboriculture    1 Day Stoneleigh, Arboricultural Association.

Contact Arb Assoc: training@trees.org.uk http://www.trees.org.uk/Training-And-Events/All-Courses

19/10/2017   Outdoor Paediatric First Aid   2 Day

Swansea, Forest School SNPT. Contact: 01792 367118 info@forestschoolsnpt.org.uk http://www.forestschoolsnpt.org.uk

This course delivered by Red Dragon 1st Aid is recommended for anyone working outdoors with children and young people, particularly those wishing to become a Level 3 qualified Forest School Leader.

26/10/2017   Outdoor First Aid Course   2 Day

The Glasgow Climbing Academy, First Aid Training Co-operative. Contact: 0333 4330731 courses@firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk http://www.firstaidtrainingcooperative.co.uk

Practical, NGB-suitable training courses across Scotland, from the country's leading provider. Founded by experienced outdoor practitioners, First Aid Training Co-operative specialises in outdoor first aid. Our 2 Day Outdoor First Aid Course covers all the requirements of National Governing Body (NGB) Instructor Awards. 16 hours.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Herpetology, Fish and Invertebrates

05/10/2017   Introduction to Beekeeping   1 Day

Barnton Memorial Hall, Barnton, Saltscape Landscape Partnership. Contact: 01606 723 160 info@saltscape.co.uk http://www.saltscape.co.uk

An illustrated talk by Bob Jennings from the North Cheshire Beekeepers looking at the basics of keeping bees. Places limited - booking essential, free. Visit the website for more detail and more free events www.saltscape.co.uk

14/10/2017   Identifying Autumn Moths   1 Day

FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

Moths are vital links in the web of life and come in many shapes and forms. This new day course is running in spring, summer and autumn. We’ll use live moth traps to introduce you to the fascinating challenges of identifying macro-moths (the larger ones!) and share lots of information.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Mammals

01/10/2017   Dormouse Ecology & Surveying   1 Day

Belfairs Woodland Centre, Leigh On Sea, Essex Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01621 862960 Reception@essexwt.org.uk http://www.essexwt.org.uk/events/2017/10/01/dormouse-ecology-surveying?instance=0

This training session is aimed at people with an interest in wildlife and conservation of endangered species. It will cover hazel dormouse ecology and survey techniques. £30 donation per person. Booking is essential

02/10/2017   Hedgehogs   1 Day

Nower Wood, Mill Way, leatherhead KT22 8QA, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk http://bit.ly/hedgehog-10-17

Chris Matcham will share his vast knowledge and experiences with the British hedgehog. He will discuss their ecology, current problems and future prognosis.

06/10/2017   Mammal Identification Weekend   3 Day

Margam, The Mammal Society. Contact: 02380010984 training@themammalsociety.org https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mammal-identification-weekend-margam-tickets-27600712474

This course provides a great chance to learn the key distinguishing features of all UK mammal species. Classroom sessions will cover the key visual clues to identification, tracks, feeding signs, nests, burrows, sounds, droppings & skeletal remains. Successful completion of the course and assessment leads to the FSC accredited certificate.

06/10/2017   Red Deer at Dusk   1 Day

Haywood Car park, Eastern Moors Partnership. Contact: 0114 2891543 enquiries@easternmoors.org.uk http://www.visit-eastern-moors.org.uk/contact-us

An atmospheric evening wander up onto White Edge to observe the red deer during the annual rut. £5 adult, £4 child, £16 family

06/10/2017   Sound analysis and species identification (bats)   1 Day

ARUP's Offices, London, Bat Conservation Trust. Contact: 0207 820 7169 training@bats.org.uk http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/sound_analysis_and_species_identification.html

This one-day course, for professionals or interested amateurs, focuses on the analysis of calls recorded on full spectrum, broadband time expansion or frequency division bat detectors. It includes analysis and identification of British bat calls, using BatSound as primary software - illustrated identification features also apply to other software.

07/10/2017   Small mammal survey skills   1 Day

Wildwood Trust CT6 7LQ, Wildwood Trust. Contact: 01227 711471 courses@wildwoodtrust.org https://wildwoodtrust.org/wildwood-kent/conservation/conservation-courses

Learn how to survey for our smallest mammals using live, humane traps. Includes handling, sexing and identification, trap designs and mechanisms and principles of baiting and setting traps, surveying methods and legislation.

06/10/2017   Animal Diversity   3 Day at Aberystwyth University.  What's the difference between an earthworm and a slowworm or on a furry note between a rat and a rabbit? Find out the science behind sorting out members of the Animal Kingdom on this 3 day intensive course. A core course towards the Certificate of Higher Education in Field Ecology.

07/10/2017   Wildlife of Nature Reserves    3 Day at Aberystwyth University

3 weekly full day sessions on this course which is field based with visits to a variety of reserves including RSPB Ynys-hir, Ynys-las and Glasllyn. The field work will concentrate on identifying a range of key birds, plants and animals. Car sharing is essential for this course.

For Aberystwyth University: Contact: 01970 621580 learning@aber.ac.uk https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/lifelong-learning/ecology/

08/10/2017   Red Deer Watch   1 Day meet: Curbar Gap car park, Eastern Moors Partnership.  Enjoy a scramble over the moors to observe the red deer during their annual rut. £4 per person. Booking essential

11/10/2017   Rough Guide to Red Deer   1 Day at Eastern Moors, Eastern Moors Partnership.   Join our Warden for a brisk walk to observe the red deer during the annual rut. £5 per person. Booking essential.

To contact Eastern Moors Partnership: 0114 2891543 enquiries@easternmoors.org.uk http://www.visit-eastern-moors.org.uk/contact-us

12/10/2017   Arboriculture and bats: scoping surveys for arborists   1 Day

Richmond Park, Surrey, Bat Conservation Trust. Contact: 0207 820 7169 training@bats.org.uk http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/arboriculture_and_bats_scoping_surveys_for_arborists.html

One day awareness course for arborists to help them carry out tree works with consideration for the potential impacts on bats and their habitat. The course is Lantra registered, counts towards Arboricultural Association CPD and is in line with British Standard 8596 - Surveying for bats in trees and woodland.

12/10/2017   Badger Ecology   1 Day

Nower Wood, Mill Way, leatherhead KT22 8QA, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk http://www.surreywildlifetrust.org/events/2017/06/14/badger-ecology?instance=0

A comprehensive course in badger biology & ecology. Discuss survey techniques, threats and habitat before visiting the woods in search of an active sett.

13/10/2017   Ecology, Surveying and Conservation of Dormice   2 Day

FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

A course focusing on the Hazel Dormouse for anyone with a professional or strong amateur interest in this elusive small mammal. Suitable for ecologists, countryside professionals and managers interested in Biodiversity Action Plan species, and anyone wishing to work towards a Natural England licence to handle dormice.

13/10/2017   Arboriculture and bats: secondary roost surveys for arborists (incl endoscope use)   1 Day

Richmond Park, Surrey, Bat Conservation Trust. Contact: 0207 820 7169 training@bats.org.uk http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/arboriculture_and_bats_secondary_roost_surveys_for_arborists_incl_endoscope_use.html

Follow-on arborist course, it teaches participants how to undertake a secondary roost survey. You will explore the practical skills and methods that can be used to rule out bat potential, learn the appropriate use of endoscopes and receive guidance on what can and cannot be done without a bat licence. 

14/10/2017   Marine Mammal Medic Course   1 Day

Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre, Patent Slip Building, Glanmor Terrace, New Quay, Ceredigion, SA45 9PS., British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Contact: 01825 765546 info@bdmlr.org.uk http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/store/

Course includes morning classroom lectures in marine mammal identification, physiology, identification, first aid, and rescue techniques. Followed in the afternoon by practical demonstrations and hands on training. The cost of the course is £90 per person. Please refer to BDMLR website for further details.

15/10/2017   Marine Mammal Medic Course   1 Day

Rhosneigr Library, High Street, Rhosneigr, Anglesey, LL64 5UX., British Divers Marine Life Rescue. Contact: 01825 765546 info@bdmlr.org.uk http://www.bdmlr.org.uk/store/

Course includes morning classroom lectures in marine mammal identification, physiology, identification, first aid, and rescue techniques. Followed in the afternoon by practical demonstrations and hands on training. The cost of the course is £90 per person. Please refer to BDMLR website for further details.

25/10/2017   Badger Ecology and Surveying   1 Day

Witley, Near Guildford, Acorn Ecology Ltd. Contact: 01392 366512 training@acornecology.co.uk https://ecologytraining.co.uk/book-a-course/introductory/

This introductory level course will cover urban and rural badger ecology and field signs, as well as looking at techniques used for surveying badgers.

28/10/2017   Kent Mammal Identification   1 Day

Wildwood Trust CT6 7LQ, Wildwood Trust. Contact: 01227 711471 courses@wildwoodtrust.org https://wildwoodtrust.org/wildwood-kent/conservation/conservation-courses

Learn how to identify our larger mammals from their tracks, signs and sightings. Includes a tour of the park to see some of the animals in the flesh and a close up examination of skins, skulls and antlers.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Ornithology

06/10/2017   Autumn Birdwatching Weekend   2 Day

FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

In October large numbers of winter visitors move from northern latitudes through East Anglia. This birdwatching weekend visits the best local reserves to help improve your identification of migrant and resident birds.

06/10/2017   Bird Songs and Calls   1 Day at The Kingcombe Centre Learn the basic skills to identify common garden and woodland birds on this morning workshop, led by Edward Jackson.

06/10/2017   Autumn Bird Watching Weekend   3 Day at The Kingcombe Centre.  Whether you're new to birding or have some previous experience, come and spend a weekend learning how to identify resident, migrant and wintering birds of inland and coastal Dorset. Led by Edward Jackson.

The Kingcombe Centre is located nr Dorchester, Dorset Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01300 320684 kingcombe@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk http://www.kingcombe.org

07/10/2017   Wildlife Tracks Signs and Owl Pellets   1 Day

Winnall Moors, Winchester, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01489 774400 Courses@hiwwt.org.uk https://shop.hiwwt.org.uk/product/wildlife-tracks-signs-and-owl-pellets/

14/10/2017   Woodland Birdsong and Identification Course   1 Day

near Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01452 383333 info@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk http://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/events/2017/10/14/woodland-birdsong-and-identification-course?instance=0

Wondering how to tell the call of a Blackbird from a Blue Tit? Join bird expert Ed Drewitt and learn how to identify local birds living in our woodlands, and their songs.

16/10/2017   Siberian Week: Looking at Bird Migration Along the Suffolk Coast   4 Day at FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council.   Following on from our Spring Migration course 21 Apr-23 Apr this course is designed to help you to find out more about bird identification and bird migration. We will explore migration marking techniques including: ringing, colour marking, and radio and satellite tracking.

20/10/2017   Mainly Migrants   2 Day  at FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council.   This course is designed to help you find out more about bird identification and bird migration, along with the species likely to be encountered during migration periods.

For FSC Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

20/10/2017   Woodland Bird ID   1 Day

Nower Wood, Mill Way, leatherhead KT22 8QA, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk http://www.surreywildlifetrust.org/events/2017/05/31/woodland-bird-id?instance=0

Enjoy the ancient woodland at Nower Wood while identifying the huge variety of birds that live there. Classroom session will be followed by a walk in the woods.

21/10/2017   Get More from Your Birdwatching; a Study Day for Beginners and Improvers    1 Day

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 info@kentwildlife.org.uk http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/

This Study Day is for those who would like to take up birdwatching or would like to improve their skills. It focuses on good fieldcraft, bird finding and identification skills as well as looking at binoculars, field guides and the other equipment of the hobby.


Identification and Field Survey Skills - Plants and Habitats

01/10/2017   The Geological History of Essex   1 Day

The Naze centre, Walton on the Naze, Essex Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01621 862960 Reception@essexwt.org.uk http://www.essexwt.org.uk/events/2017/10/01/geological-history-essex?instance=0

Learn how the basement on which Essex is constructed came into being, its wanderings around the globe over the ensuing millennia and the dramatic shifts in climate and sea level that have occurred throughout this journey. £30 donation per person. Booking is essential.

03/10/2017   RSPB Crannach Reserve Visit   1 Day

Burn O'Vat Visitor Centre, Muir of Dinnet NNR, Dinnet, Aboyne, AB34 5NB, SCRA Grampian. Contact: 0 7787583976 helen.rowe@aberdeenshire.gov.uk http://

Hear about the RSPB's work to develop the reserve.

04/10/2017   Beginners Guide and Introduction to Fungi   1 Day

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 info@kentwildlife.org.uk http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/

An important first step to understanding this fascinating group.  Classroom studies and some field work. (Also valuable, but not essential, for those attending other fungus study days).

06/10/2017   Identifying Fungi   2 Day

FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

A weekend for anyone new to fungi, or who already has some experience of fungi identification and wishes to develop their skills further. Field excursions exploring a variety of habitats are complemented by sessions using books, keys and microscopes to help you to identify the different species correctly.

06/10/2017   Woodland Fungi   1 Day

Near Wotton-under-Edge, Glos, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01452 383333 info@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk http://www.gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk/events/2017/10/06/woodland-fungi-course?instance=0

Do you know a deathcap from an earthstar? Experienced tutor Dr Lee Heyward of Cotswold Fungus Group, will introduce you to the fascinating world of fungi. Friendly and informative, the course covers fungal lifestyles, identifying and recording this bizarre kingdom. Course pack and refreshments included. Open to all.

07/10/2017   Meet the Fungi   1 Day

Tudeley Woods, RSPB Reserve , Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 info@kentwildlife.org.uk http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/

This study day is more than an autumnal woodland walk in search of fungi. It is also an opportunity to learn about fungi lifecycles, host-associations, distribution and main identification characters.

11/10/2017   Identification of Fungi II    1 Day

RSPB reserve Blean, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 info@kentwildlife.org.uk http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/

Helpful tips on identification of larger fungi and their habitats in the field.

11/10/2017   Phase 1 Habitat Survey   1 Day

Witley, Near Guildford, Acorn Ecology Ltd. Contact: 01392 366512 training@acornecology.co.uk https://ecologytraining.co.uk/book-a-course/introductory/

This introductory level course will greatly enhance your understanding of Phase 1 habitat surveys and give you confidence in carrying them out.

13/10/2017   Sphagnum Moss   4 Day

FSC Kindrogan, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

Kindrogan is an ideal place to study almost every British species of sphagnum. Emphasis will be placed on field characteristics backed up by work in the laboratory, including use of identification keys. There will also be opportunities to study special interests as individual guidance will be given at all levels.

13/10/2017   What's that tree? Autumn Tree ID   1 Day

Harewood Forest, Wherwell, Andover, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01489774400 Courses@hiwwt.org.uk https://shop.hiwwt.org.uk/product/whats-that-tree-in-autumn/

14/10/2017   Broad-leaved Trees in Autumn   1 Day

Tyland Barn, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 info@kentwildlife.org.uk http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/

An irresistible season to turn our attention to the broad-leaved trees. We shall use autumn foliage and fruits to identify these important members of our natural heritage.

14/10/2017   Mountain Environment   1 Day

Capel Curig, Snowdonia, Natures Work. Contact: 07815 727414 info@natureswork.co.uk http://www.natureswork.co.uk

This workshop is aimed at developing your understanding of the natural world. We'll take at look at the geological history, vegetation and human influences upon the landscape. We will identify general characteristics of rock types, habitats and take a clo

14/10/2017   Fantastic Fungi   1 Day

Nower Wood, Mill Way, leatherhead KT22 8QA, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk http://www.surreywildlifetrust.org/events/2017/05/31/fantastic-fungi?instance=0

Learn about the structure, function and fascinating variety of woodland fungi. A classroom session with be followed by time in the woods identifying species.

15/10/2017   Glaciation of North Wales   1 Day

Capel Curig, Snowdonia, Natures Work. Contact: 07816 727414 info@natureswork.co.uk http://www.natureswork.co.uk

This workshop is an introduction to regional glaciation of North Wales. North Wales is a classic landscape of post-glaciation with spectacular glacial features and landforms. We will identify and explain the formation of these features both large and small scale including features of erosion, transportation and deposition.

15/10/2017   Introduction to Fungus Identification & Recording   1 Day

Hanningfield Reservoir Visitor Centre, Billericay, Essex Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01621 862960 Reception@essexwt.org.uk http://www.essexwt.org.uk/events/2017/10/15/introduction-fungus-identification-recording?instance=0

Collection of Fungus specimens followed by an identification session. This course will be led by Tony Boniface, the County Recorder of fungi for the Essex Field Club. £30 donation per person. Booking is essential.

17/10/2017   Introduction to Phase 1 Habitat Surveys   1 Day

Coombes Valley RSPB Nature Reserve, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01538 381356 n.dyas@staffs-wildlife.org.uk http://c-js.info/2idhDyi

18/10/2017   Managing veteran Trees: Implications of aging and decay using Burnham Beeches as a case study   1 Day

Burnham Beeches near Slough, Flora locale. Contact: 01488 686186 info@floralocale.org http://www.floralocale.org

This introductory day is aimed at owners, site managers and tree workers who may be called in to advise on tree management.  We will take a detailed look at the tree management at Burnham Beeches. Fungi, decay and aging will be considered.

18/10/2017   Identification of Macrofungi   1 Day

The Gateway, Chester Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 1NB, Manchester Metropolitan University. Contact: 01743 355137 biorec@mmu.ac.uk http://www.sste.mmu.ac.uk/recording/

20/10/2017   A Beginners Guide to Mosses   2 Day at FSC Margam, Field Studies Council.

A weekend course based in the grounds of Margam Country Park that will introduce the principles of moss identification for the beginner focusing on the larger and most common species and where to look for them.

20/10/2017   Autumn Fungi   2 Day at FSC Juniper Hall, Field Studies Council.

An introduction to the wonderful world of mushrooms, toadstools and all things mouldy. The course is designed to enable you to identify some of our more common and more distinctive fungi and will discuss some of the weird and wonderful ecology and history of the rich and varied group.

20/10/2017   Identification of Macrofungi   3 Day at FSC Preston Montford, Field Studies Council.

A course on the identification of macrofungi. By the end participants will be able to place fungi into correct major groups and identify many common fungi to at least genus level. Part of the University Certificate in Biological Recording run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

20/10/2017   Soils in the Landscape   2 Day at FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council.

Soils are a natural part of the landscape and contain a lot of information about its development. Explore the field characters of natural soils and unlock the fascinating evidence for their geological origins and the dramatic changes brought about by the ice ages and by human intervention.

20/10/2017   Invasive Species Identification and Control   2 Day at FSC Margam, Field Studies Council.

Invasive non-native species (INNS) are recognised as one of the greatest threats to biodiversity globally. The course will look at the main INNS in the UK.

For FSC Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

21/10/2017   Lichens   1 Day

Tyland Barn, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 info@kentwildlife.org.uk http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/

Make a start on identifying these notoriously difficult yet intriguing, beautiful and environmentally sensitive plants.

21/10/2017   Introduction to Fungi   2 Day

Feed Bristol, Bristol, BS16 1HB, Avon Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01179177270 courses@avonwildlifetrust.org.uk http://www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/courses

Come and explore the fascinating kingdom of Fungi. From towering toadstools down to microscopic filaments of mycelium, this course will explore the diversity of form and function that these important organisms display. Starting at £60 for two days.

21/10/2017   Identification of Mosses, Liverworts and Lichens   3 Day at Aberystwyth University

This 3 day intensive course with Margaret Howells will be run as a practical workshop and will focus on common species to gain an understanding of moss and lichen diversity and the terminology involved.

21/10/2017   Identification and Ecology of Waxcap Grassland Fungi   3 Day at Moelyci, Tregarth nr Bangor,by  Aberystwyth University. The emphasis of this course is on practical work in the field and identification of freshly picked specimens from grassland habitats in the surrounding area. A series of fungal forays will take place over 3 weekly sessions and the in-field identification characteristics of each specimen will be explored.

Contact Aberstwyth University: 01970 621580 learning@aber.ac.uk https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/lifelong-learning/ecology/

25/10/2017   Biological Recording - an introduction, with Sarah Whild   1 Day

The Gateway, Chester Street, Shrewsbury, SY1 1NB, Manchester Metropolitan University. Contact: 01743 355137 biorec@mmu.ac.uk http://www.sste.mmu.ac.uk/recording/

26/10/2017   Traditional Hedgelaying Workshop   2 Day at FSC Epping Forest, Field Studies Council.

This two-day workshop offers both theory and practical sessions on the non-mechanised method of hedgelaying in the South of England style. (Participants can also bring jpegs of hedgerows they may need guidance with).

27/10/2017   Bryophytes   3 Day at FSC Kindrogan, Field Studies Council.

This will be a short course tailored to the needs of those who know a little bit about bryophytes but want to know more. We will be visiting some bryophyte-rich sites near Kindrogan, using hand-lenses to identify species in the field, and microscopes to examine specimens more closely.

27/10/2017   A Weekend with Fungi - Beginners Course   2 Day at FSC Margam, Field Studies Council.

This is an introductory course on fungi exploring different places to find them in the grounds of Margam Country Park in south Wales. We will identify them initially to families and take some to species and use the names to find out more about their way of life and natural history.

For FSC Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

27/10/2017   World of Waxcaps Fungi   1 Day

The Kingcombe Centre, nr Dorchester, Dorset Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01300 320684 kingcombe@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk http://www.kingcombe.org

Discover these colourful fungi that are abundant in our internationally important unimproved grasslands of Kingcombe Meadows. Led by Bryan Edwards.

27/10/2017   Plant Diversity    3 Day

Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Lifelong Learning, Aberystwyth University. Contact: 01970 621580 learning@aber.ac.uk https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/lifelong-learning/ecology/

A fascinating course for anyone interested in plants. Find out the science behind sorting members of the Plant Kingdom. By examining structure and studying the evolutionary processes that resulted in this diversity of form, you will be able to place plants in to related groups. 3 day intensive.

28/10/2017   Woodland Ecology and Management: The Basics   1 Day

FSC Epping Forest, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

A one-day course for those working, volunteering or interested in the woodland environment and who would like to understand how differing management techniques affect the habitats and ecology of a site.

28/10/2017   Fungi Foray at Kingcombe Meadows   1 Day

The Kingcombe Centre, nr Dorchester, Dorset Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01300 320684 kingcombe@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk http://www.kingcombe.org

Learn of the amazing array of fungi amongst the ancient pastures of Kingcombe, with John Wright.

28/10/2017   Identification of Fungi III   1 Day

Dering Wood, Kent Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01622 662012 info@kentwildlife.org.uk http://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/

Helpful tips on identification of larger fungi and their habitats in the field.



14/10/2017   Introduction to Outdoor Digital Photography   3 Day

Aberystwyth University, Lifelong Learning, Aberystwyth University. Contact: 01970 621580 learning@aber.ac.uk https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/lifelong-learning/ecology/

This course, delivered weekly over 3 Saturdays, aims to introduce the principles of digital photography; giving you the knowledge and understanding of its basic usage. Students will need their own digital camera (compact or DSLR), laptop computer and tripod.

20/10/2017   Autumn Wildlife and Landscape Photography   2 Day

FSC Margam, Field Studies Council. Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

This weekend course will look at all aspects of nature photography including close-up and landscape work. With the autumn in full flow we will be getting close to fungi, experimenting with the camera and making the most of the woodland colour at Margam Country Park.

22/10/2017   Photography - Autumn Colours & Fungi   1 Day

Nower Wood, Mill Way, Leatherhead, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk http://bit.ly/photo-22-10

Learn the best ways to capture these autumnal images with Adrian Davies, www.adriandaviesimaging.com. He will guide you throughout the day. With his knowledge and experience you will discover new ways of taking photographs.

27/10/2017   Garden Photography - Come Rain or Shine   2 Day at FSC Flatford Mill, Field Studies Council.

This weekend workshop is designed for those who wish to explore the bigger picture, both within a formal garden setting and the landscape of Dedham Vale. We will work both in colour and monochrome and consider whether the warm tones of autumn can be conveyed in black and white.

27/10/2017   Autumn Digital Photography in Pembrokeshire   4 Day at FSC Dale Fort, Field Studies Council.

A course for improving digital photographers who are keen to develop their skills. Some knowledge is useful and we will be utilising the superb Pembrokeshire landscapes to cover many key aspects of the camera as well as some computer enhancement.

For FSC Contact: 01743 852100 enquiries@field-studies-council.org http://www.field-studies-council.org/naturalhistory

30/10/2017   Photography Workshop   4 Day

Simonsbath House. Contact: 01643 831259 enquiries@simonsbathhouse.co.uk http://www.simonsbathhousehotel.co.uk

Exmoor's woodlands and moors will feature prominently in this Autumn workshop. Watersmeet, Tarr Steps and The Doone Valley are amongst the places you'll get to visit. DBB accommodation at Simonsbath House Hotel.


Practical Countryside Skills

07/10/2017   Dry Stone Walling - Beginners    2 Day

Burford, Oxon, Cotswolds Rural Skills. Contact: 01451 862000 info@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk http://www.cotswoldsruralskills.org.uk/

On the beginners course you can expect to learn about: dismantling walls, stone sorting, laying foundations, building up of the wall, adding through stones and copping stones, dressing the stone, different types of stone, the necessary tools and how to use them and much more! No prior experience required.

10/10/2017   OCN level 2 Hedge Laying   4 Day

Ironbridge, Smallwoods Association. Contact: 01952 432769 fayhurford@smallwoods.org.uk http://www.smallwoods.org.uk/

This is a practical hands on course to provide participants with sufficient knowledge, skills and confidence to continue to practice and improve their skills after the course. Karl is a professional full time hedge layer with over 30 years’ experience and is highly respected within the profession. £380

11/10/2017   Hedge Laying   1 Day

Bickley Hall Farm, Malpas, SY14 8EF, Cheshire Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01948 820728 info@cheshirewt.org.uk https://www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/whats-on

10am - 3pm, come and have a go at hedge laying with and learn how to produce a piece of wildlife friendly hedgerow. Cost: free.

14/10/2017   Natural Boundaries   2 Day

Cotesbach Estate, T & S Newton Farm. Contact: 01455 552697 info@cotesbach.net http://www.cotesbach.net/farm-woodland

Two days Hedgelaying for beginners on organic farmland with HLA accredited hedgelayer, £295pp also includes 2 nights accommodation in boutique bell tents with shower facilities on Cotesbach Estate with hearty breakfasts, hamper lunches, supper & convivial evenings round roaring fire, groups Max 6 persons per weekend, arrive Friday eve

17/10/2017   Dry Stone Walling - Beginners    2 Day at Broadway Tower, Broadway by Cotswolds Rural Skills.

On the beginners course you can expect to learn about: dismantling walls, stone sorting, laying foundations, building up of the wall, adding through stones and copping stones, dressing the stone, different types of stone, the necessary tools and how to use them and much more! No prior experience required.

21/10/2017   Dry Stone Walling - Improvers (Skills & Techniques)   2 Day at Burford, Oxon by Cotswolds Rural Skills.

During the course students will have opportunity to further practice the skills that were taught on the beginner’s course as well as other more advanced skills of dry-stone walling.

For Cotswolds Rural Skills. Contact: 01451 862000 info@cotswoldsaonb.org.uk http://www.cotswoldsruralskills.org.uk/

28/10/2017   Natural Boundaries   2 Day

Cotesbach Estate, T & S Newton Farm. Contact: 01455 552697 info@cotesbach.net http://www.cotesbach.net/farm-woodland

Two days Hedgelaying for beginners on organic farmland with HLA accredited hedgelayer, £295pp also includes 2 nights accommodation in boutique bell tents with shower facilities on Cotesbach Estate with hearty breakfasts, hamper lunches, supper & convivial evenings round roaring fire, groups Max 6 persons per weekend, arrive Friday eve


Practical Countryside Skills - Machinery

02/10/2017   Aerial Tree Rigging (formally CS41) NPTC / City and Guilds   3 Day

Settle BD24 9DN, Lowe Maintenance Training . Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk

Three days training plus one day for assessment. Covering the rigging and dismantling of trees from a rope and harness. Pre requisites are tree climbing (CS38) and chainsaw (CS30 and CS31)

02/10/2017   Lantra Awards - responsible and Effective Control of Commensal Rodents   1 Day

Lincoln, APIS Solutions. Contact: 01522753568 info@apissolutions.co.uk http://www.apissolutions.co.uk

02/10/2017   Basic Tree Survey & Inspection   1 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/training/tree-inspection/basic-tree-survey-inspection/

This one-day course aims to provide specific tree survey and inspection training at a basic level for contractors, highway engineers, tree wardens, grounds maintenance staff, rangers and other persons of a non-arboricultural background or with limited arboricultural knowledge, to allow them to identify obvious defects from ground level.

03/10/2017   2 Day Tree Inspection   2 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/training/tree-inspection/2-day-tree-inspection/

This two day course aims to provide specific tree inspection training to those who may have attended our Lantra Awards Basic Tree Survey and Inspection course and wish to progress further in the subject and/or possibly as a stepping stone toward the 3 Day Lantra Awards Professional Tree Inspection Course.

03/10/2017   PA1 - principles and safe handling of pesticides   1 Day and 04/10/2017   PA6 A&AW - knapsack application to land and water   1 Day  Both: Lincoln, APIS Solutions. Contact: 01522753568 info@apissolutions.co.uk http://www.apissolutions.co.uk

07/10/2017   Tool sharpening   2 Day

Ironbridge, Smallwoods Association. Contact: 01952 432769 fayhurford@smallwoods.org.uk http://www.smallwoods.org.uk/

This is an opportunity to learn how to sharpen hand tools to a high professional standard. The 2 person saw has become a popular tool but the skill to sharpen needs passing on. Billhooks and axes work so much better when sharp.£140

09/10/2017   Chainsaw Maintenance, Cross Cutting and Felling and Processing of Trees up to 380mm (formally CS30 and CS31) NPTC / City and Guilds    4 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

Four days training plus a fifth day for the assessment. Covering the maintenance of a chainsaw, cross cutting and felling and processing trees upto 380mm in diameter Ideal for those new to chainsaws or those needing certificates of competence evidence.

09/10/2017   ATV Sit Astride (Quad bikes) NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

One day training plus one day assessment covering maintenance, pre use checks and safe operation of quad bikes (sit astride). Ideal for those working in agriculture, game keeping, landscaping, forestry etc.

Lowe Maintenance Training is in Settle BD24 9DN. Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk

09/10/2017   Thorough Examination of Arboricultural Lifting Equipment (LOLER)   4 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/training/tree-based-training/309-2/

The Lantra Awards Thorough Examination of Arboricultural Lifting Equipment course will provide you with the knowledge, skills and understanding to perform a thorough examination of arboricultural lifting equipment. The course will also provide all the information and demonstrate the practical skills required when undertaking the regulated qualification.

09/10/2017   Thorough Examination of Arboricultural Lifting Equipment (LOLER) - Refresher   2 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/training/tree-based-training/refresher-training-thorough-examination-of-arboricultural-lifting-equipment-loler/

This refresher course is devised to refresh and update your knowledge, skills and understanding to perform a thorough examination of arboricultural lifting equipment. It will also provide essential CPD. A Lantra Awards Certificate of Attendance will be issued to people attending this course.

10/10/2017   Safe Use of Pesticides for Vertebrate Pest Control for Rats and Mice (Rat and Mice Poison) NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

Any one who uses rat/mice poison as a professional (farmer/gamekeeper/pest controller etc) will need a certificate of competence from Spring 2016. This one day course plus one day assessment upon achievement will enable you to purchase the rodenticides you require for pest control

12/10/2017   Safe Use of Aluminium Phosphide for Vertebrate Pest Control (Phostoxin and Talunex) NPTC / City and Guilds   1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

Phostoxin and Talunex for the control of rabbits, rats and moles requires you to hold a certificate of competence to buy and apply the product. This one day training plus one day assessment will enable you to do so upon achievement.

13/10/2017   ROLO (Register of Landbased Operatives) Bali    1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

This one day course is a pre requisite for anyone within the land based industries who require a CSCS card to work on sites

Lowe Maintenance Training is in Settle BD24 9DN. Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk

13/10/2017   Stumpgrinders   1 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/training/machinery-training/stumpgrinders/

This course is for any person who is or will be required to operate Stumpgrinders.

16/10/2017   Felling and Processing Trees Over 380mm (formally CS32) NPTC / City and Guilds    2 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

Two days training plus one day assessment. Felling and processing trees above 380mm in diameter.

16/10/2017   PA1 - Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides NPTC / City and Guilds   1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

This is a pre requisite for other pesticide application units, assessment is through on online multiple choice exam. Grandfather Rights unit 1 can be run along side this course

17/10/2017   PA6a - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (knapsacks/lance from a tank) NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

This course is for people who use knapsacks or hand lances from a tank, the pre-requisite is PA1. Training is one day plus one day for the assessment.

18/10/2017   PA2a - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Self-propelled, Mounted and Trailed Boom Sprayers NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

This course is for people who use mounted, trailed boom sprayers, the pre-requisite is PA1. Training is one day plus one day for the assessment. Grandfather Rights Unit 3 can be run along side this course.

Lowe Maintenance Training is in Settle BD24 9DN. Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk

20/10/2017   Hand Held Hedge Trimmers ITA - Lantra Awards   1 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/training/machinery-training/hand-held-hedge-trimmers/

This course is for any person who is or will be required to operate Hand Held Hedge Trimmers.

23/10/2017   Tree Climbing and Aerial Rescue (formally CS38) NPTC / City and Guilds    5 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

This course is being part funded through the Stories in Stone project. A five day course plus one day assessment. Covering accessing a tree safely, positioning techniques within the crown and aerial rescue methods. Equipment can be provided please contact us for more details

24/10/2017   PA6aw - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment to or near water (knapsacks/lance from a tank) NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

This course is for people who use knapsacks or hand lances from a tank on or near water only, the pre-requisite is PA1. Training is one day plus one day for the assessment.

25/10/2017   PA6pp - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (ECOPLUGS) NPTC / City and Guilds    0.5 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

Half day training plus one day assessment on the safe use of ECOPLUGS, pre requisite is PA1

25/10/2017   PA6inj - Safe Application of Pesticides Using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (stem injection) NPTC / City and Guilds    0.5 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

Half day training plus one day assessment on the safe use of stem injection equipment for giant hogweed, japanese knotweed etc, pre requisite is PA1

30/10/2017   Safe Use of Brush Cutters and Trimmers NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day by Lowe Maintenance Training

One day integrated training and assessment covering pre use checks, maintenance and safe use. Ideal for those in industries such as horticultural, landscaping, grounds maintenance sectors.

Lowe Maintenance Training is in Settle BD24 9DN. Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk

30/10/2017   Felling & Processing Trees up to 380mm - Refresher Training   1 Day

Dorking, Surrey, Land Skills Training & Assessments Ltd. Contact: 01306 876404 office@landskills.co.uk http://www.landskills.co.uk/training/ground-based-training/refresher-training-felling-trees-up-to-380mm/

The course is a refresher for anyone holding their certificate of competence.

31/10/2017   Safe Use of Hedge Cutters Handheld NPTC / City and Guilds    1 Day

Settle BD24 9DN, Lowe Maintenance Training . Contact: 01729 825132 info@lowe-maintenance.co.uk http://www.lowe-maintenance.co.uk

One day integrated training and assessment covering pre use checks, maintenance and safe use. Ideal for those in industries such as horticultural, landscaping, grounds maintenance sectors.


Updates and Additions to other sections of Training Directory this month

Longer courses

Agriculture: 2018 World Forest Institute International Fellowship Program by World Forestry Center


Distance learning

ACS Distance Education


Training Centre / provider listings

APIS Solutions


exeGesIS SDM Ltd, updated listing

exeGesIS Spatial Data Management is a well-respected environmental, ecological and heritage GIS consultancy.  We deliver a variety of training courses for environmental professionals, covering the three main GIS systems, MapInfo, QGIS & ArcGIS.  We have an excellent reputation for the delivery of well-structured and informative courses which use environmental data and are run by approachable and knowledgeable trainers. Discounts are available for charitable organisations.
carolbateman@esdm.co.uk 01874 713066 https://www.esdm.co.uk/training


Send details of your training courses.

Send your training course information today to training@countryside-jobs.com or submit online here.

If you're running professional courses or events and would like details to be included here and in the online Training Directory click here for more information, email your details to us or for further information please contact the CJS Team.


Classified adverts with CJS.

Andrews Consulting

Advert text: Expert analysis of historic and contemporary Ordnance Survey mapping. Expert interpretation of aerial photography. Vetted member of the UK Register of Expert Witnesses.  Website: www.the-expert-witness-surveyor.co.uk  Email: andrews.survey@btinternet.com  Telephone: 07986690034


Audio Trails are creators of location-based digital visitor experiences (including our innovative 'Places and Trails' native and web app platform) and learning programmes, for outdoor heritage and wildlife sites. Visit audiotrails.co.uk or email cjs@audiotrails.co.uk


Lynher Training Ltd

A Lantra, City & Guilds and NPTC registered provider of Landbased Training and Assessments. Popular courses include all the Chainsaw units including Climbing, Pesticides, Health & Safety & Machinery. We also provide training in Tree Inspection & Surveys, Pests & Diseases, Utility Arboriculture.

Ring:  01822832902  /  email:  admin@lynher.com


Additions to the Grants and sources of funding listings.

Manchester City of Trees: Funding from TD Green Streets for projects in Greater Manchester & Greater London.

The British Land Reclamation Society

Community Engagement Pioneer Project from Adaptation Scotland

Postcode Community Trust

Perth & Kinross Council, Community Environment Challenge Fund

The Pebble Trust

The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust’s Community Giving Fund

BBC Children in Need – Small Grants Programme (UK)

Community Engagement Fund from Green Infrastructure


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