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Future of 200 migratory bird species put at risk by cyclones and droughts - Zoological Society of London

Around 200 migratory bird species across the world – including swifts and eagles - are impacted by cyclones and droughts, and with these extreme weather events only set to worsen under a warming planet, the future of these species is at risk.

A new ZSL-led paper reveals the extent to which migratory birds - such as cranes, buzzards and nightjars - are exposed to cyclones and droughts. With these extreme weather events likely to intensify with climate change, our scientists behind the study warn that conservation opportunities to protect these birds may be being missed.

Combining almost 30 years of global cyclone and drought data with information on 383 fully migratory bird species, the team identified that 182 species were highly exposed to either cyclones or drought in either their breeding or wintering ranges, with an additional 67 species highly exposed to both types of events within a singular range.

Senior author Professor Nathalie Pettorelli from our Institute of Zoology said: “We cannot ignore how important migration is for global ecosystem health. These birds travel huge distances every year to raise chicks and survive the colder months, connecting ecosystems across the world. They provide vital ecosystem benefits including pest control and pollination of plants, while sometimes acting as key food sources for local wildlife.”

Many geese and duck species move seeds and nutrients across countries and habitats, increasing plant diversity and increasing the fertility of local soils.

Meanwhile, other species such as common swifts – seen soaring and darting across the British skies in spring and summer – provide insect control and crop protection in both their Eurasian breeding grounds and wintering grounds in Africa. However, they are also extremely exposed to drought – more than 95% of populations in both ranges have experienced extreme drought at some point in the last 30 years.

Wildlife and Countryside Link launch ‘People and Nature’ mini manifesto - Froglife

Froglife would like to highlight the launch of the Wildlife and countryside Link (WCL) mini manifesto for People and Nature.

The recent announcement by Govt is a step in the right direction but the manifesto for People and Nature argues that if we are serious about making a difference for nature and for people’s ability to access the environment and improve their health and wellbeing the UK should have new legislation, an Access to Nature Bill that will:

  • Set a new legally-binding access to nature target for all people to have access to a high quality green or blue space within a 15 minute walk of home.
  • Extend public access rights to waterways, woodland, riversides, and grasslands.
  • Create a more equal and inclusive freedom to enjoy land and water for other user groups, such as cyclists, horse riders, cavers, swimmers, paddlers, and disabled people.
  • Remove the 2026 cut-off date for registering historic rights of way.
  • Require the Government to publish a clear strategy for improving access to nature.
  • Establish an Access to Nature Investment Strategy

Mandate all new development meet the Green Infrastructure Standards. Ensure every child has regular high-quality access to and engagement with nature within education, through their curriculum and by supporting teachers and schools to deliver outdoor learning across all education settings.

The Froglife Strategy aims to: transform lives; engaging people from all walks of life; our projects are inclusive and have good representation from people of all backgrounds; we particularly focus on people who are new to conservation and from areas of multiple deprivation and Progress them on their wildlife journey

Ministers urged to step in and save Coul Links - Butterfly Conservation

© Vince Lowe
© Vince Lowe

Highland Council votes to grant permission for golf course development despite overwhelming opposition.

The fate of one of Scotland’s important and last remaining undeveloped dune systems, home to a variety of rare butterfly and moth species, now lies in the hands of Scottish Ministers after Highland Council’s North Planning Applications Committee voted to grant permission for an 18-hole golf course development on the nationally and internationally protected site for nature.

Councillors voted by eight in favour, six against to allow the plans by developer C4C for Coul Links, near Embo in East Sutherland, against the advice of Highland Council’s own planning officers, and in the face of almost 750 objections including from statutory consultee NatureScot, Scottish Government’s advisers on nature.

Serious concerns have been raised about the wide-ranging impact the golf course would have on the protected sites and nature found within it, including one of the largest colonies of Northern Brown Argus butterfly in the UK, but these were not seen as important enough by a majority of Councillors on the Planning Committee to refuse the plans.

The Conservation Coalition is extremely disappointed and very concerned by Highland Council’s decision to grant permission for the plans and is now calling on Scottish Ministers to step in to save Coul Links from development.

Kent Wildlife Trust ask National Grid to "Rethink Sea Link" - Kent Wildlife Trust

Conservationists ask National Grid to examine alternative route for cable linking Suffolk and Kent due to fears that decisions are based on the cheapest cost rather than minimising cost to wildlife at “internationally important” National Nature Reserve.

Kent Wildlife Trust has launched a campaign calling on the National Grid to “Rethink Sea Link” and avoid the proposed route which causes the most environmental impact.

Conservationists are concerned the current route for a proposed electricity cable that links Kent and Suffolk will cause disturbance to wildlife at the internationally important National Nature Reserve Pegwell Bay and surrounding nature sites.

Whilst Kent Wildlife Trust supports renewable energy solutions, the trust is worried that the plans are harmful to wildlife and will potentially involve trenching areas of Pegwell Bay, a wildlife-rich habitat with multiple protections.

National Grid acknowledges that the proposed route for Sea Link has numerous environmental constraints that will directly impact marine and terrestrial designated sites for nature conservation and that these impacts can be mitigated through careful design and trenchless techniques.

Kent Wildlife Trusts Planning and Policy Officer, Emma Waller said: “We are hugely disappointed to see that nature is yet again not valued and are asking the National Grid to review the strategic alternative routes and their impacts on the environment to choose the least damaging route. In short, we want the National Grid to “Rethink Sea Link. We have already experienced the impacts of trenching at Pegwell Bay, when in 2018, the National Grid, in partnership with Belgian Elia Group, installed the Nemo Link electricity cable. Like Sea Link, trenchless techniques were the preferred method of installation, however, commitments were reneged, and open-cut trenching techniques were used, resulting in irreparable damage to the salt marsh and marine habitats. We are concerned that the mistakes of the past will be repeated.”

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