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CJS Professional

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

Published on the second Thursday every month

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

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

Featured Charity: Mammal Society

Find out more about our featured charity here.

Including how to join and donate.

CJS Christmas card: flowering snowdrops in snow Happy Christmas from the CJS Team. Click the thumbnail image to see the card in full.

Our Christmas card this year has been chosen as a symbol of hope and optimism; the sturdy snowdrop, not as fragile as it looks and, according to Alfred Lord Tennyson, the prophet of better times.   


 

Contents:

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

 

Jobs

Title

Employer

Location (basis / contract details)

Managing Director

Future Nature WTC

Based: The Lodge, Littlemore, Oxford OX4 4XT initially & home working (Contract: Permanent, full time (37.5 hours per week))

People and Wildlife Officer

Hertfordshire County Council

Hudnall Park (Fixed Term Contract Until 31st May 2023, 37 hpw)

Sevenoaks Greensand Commons Project Officer

Kent Wildlife Trust

Based at: Sevenoaks – Sevenoaks District Council’s Argyle Road Offices (Contract type: Fixed term until 30th June 2022, 4dpw / 30 hpw)

Sevenoaks Greensand Commons People Engagement Officer

Kent Wildlife Trust

Based at: Sevenoaks – Sevenoaks District Council’s Argyle Road Offices (Contract type: Fixed term until 30th June 2022 15hpw)

RHS Specialist Horticultural Placements (SHP)

Royal Horticultural Society

 RHS Gardens: Bridgewater, Harlow Carr, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall, and Wisley. (one year (fixed term) 37.5 hpw)

RHS Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Horticultural Practice Students

Royal Horticultural Society

RHS Garden Wisley (two years fixed-term 37.5 hpw)

Forestry Consultant

Lockhart Garratt Ltd

Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire (Position Type: Full time)

Forest Manager - North Scotland

Scottish Woodlands Ltd

North East Scotland, based Fochabers

Heathlands Senior Specialist

Natural England

This position can be based at any Natural England site. (Permanent. Working Pattern: Full Time, Part Time, Part Time/Job Share )

Ecological Consultant

RSK ADAS Ltd

Kent/Sussex (Homebased)

Ecological Consultant / Senior Ecological Consultant

RSK ADAS Ltd

Cardiff

Skilled Machine Operative

RSK ADAS Ltd

Environment GIS Technician

Forestry England

Based at our head office at Lyndhurst or Bucks Horn Oak Office in Farnham, with travel across the District (Two-year fixed-term contract)

Dungeness NNR Ranger

Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership

(Permanent - Full Time)

Maintenance Officer

Field Studies Council

Location: Preston Montford, Shrewsbury (Permanent, 35 hpw)

Business Development Manager

Field Studies Council

Base negotiable. (Full Time, Permanent)

Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) Projects and Programme Delivery Officer

Kent County Council

Invicta House, Maidstone (Permanent Full Time, 37hpw)

West Berkshire Wild Verges Project Officer

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

Based: Newbury, between BBOWT’s office at Estovers and Market Street West Berks Council Offices, with some home-working and field working required. (Fixed term, March 2021 to December 2023, full time 35hpw)

Forest Craftsperson

Forestry England

Hamsterley Forest, County Durham

 

Apprenticeships, Interns and paid trainee roles

Horticultural Operative Apprenticeships (L2)

Royal Horticultural Society

RHS Gardens: Bridgewater, Harlow Carr, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall, and Wisley. (Two years (fixed term) 37.5 hpw)

Level 3 Landscape/Horticulture Supervisor Apprenticeship (L3)

Royal Horticultural Society

RHS Garden Rosemoor. (Three years (fixed term) 37.5 hpw)

 

Volunteers

CJS Focus on Volunteering - submit your adverts now.

More information here.

 

CJS Information and other articles

We're delighted to introduce our Featured Charity for 2021: Campaign for National Parks.

Logo: Campaign for National ParksIntroducing Campaign for National Parks – small team, big impact

Without Campaign for National Parks, National Parks may not exist here in the UK. It started off in the 1936 as the Standing Committee on National Parks which was instrumental in the creation of the first – and then subsequent – National Parks in England and Wales in the 1950s. It went on to become the Council for National Parks before evolving into Campaign for National Parks (CNP) in 2008.

We're looking forward to reading their articles thorughout 2021, read their first introductory piece here

 

Developing the conservation workforce of the future

Only 27% of employers across all sectors offer work experience yet 74% expect potential employees to have experience – how are people supposed to get that experience?   Late on Friday (4/12) afternoon Brian Heppenstall delivered an amazing talk on developing the future conservation workforce. This is the one to watch if your organisation is looking to include work placements as a recruitment method.  Facebook live session from 4 December - recording available. [more]  or dive straight into the session here.  

 

Facebook Live session  with Richard Dodd of Wildwood Ecology on 13 January. Richard says “Many ecologists find it hard to gain their first job or develop themselves professionally because their “real lives” have gotten in the way. [more]

 

CMA launch FREE Student Starter Membership for one year The Countryside Management Association have launched a new membership category, offering FREE Student Starter Membership to those in full- or part-time education, including apprenticeships, for one year. [more]

 

Features and In Depth Articles

A bat’s best friend. Rachael at Paws for Conservation introduces us to her Super Conservation team of detection dogs and outlines typical search day on a wind farm explaining what they do and the imoprtance of the work. [more]

Top tips: Encouraging children to get outdoors. It’s no secret that spending time outdoors is good for your health, it’s great for your well being and is a real boost for your energy levels. But sometimes getting children outdoors to reap some of these rewards can be easier said than done. So, whether you work with them or have your own, the Youth Adventure Trust have put together some top tips for getting children and young people out enjoying the great outdoors. [more]

New citizen science app will help restore UK sand dunes. The Dynamic Dunescapes app makes it easier for volunteers to record data, and for site managers to build long-term environmental data sets across nationwide project. [more]

Getting ahead in ecology: what many ecologists don’t know they don’t know… ByEllie Benton-Best & Dr Kayleigh Fawcett Williams of #CareerEcologists

Consultant ecologists face some unique challenges in progressing their careers. We have been exploring some of these challenges in our recent survey and the results are surprising. In this article, we share with you some of our findings. [more]

Welsh Wildlife during lockdown - survey reveals how nature responded.

In early July, Natural Resources Wales, the National Trust and the Snowdonia National Park Authority came together to contract a specialist to undertake surveys across seven sites, to assess exactly what was going on and how nature had responded to the unprecedented events of this year. These surveys would serve as a baseline so that future repetition would allow comparisons to be made. [more

Surrey Countryside Partnerships - for healthy habitats & people participation By Debbie Hescott, Partnership Development Officer

The Surrey Countryside Partnerships (SCP) provides a countryside management partnership service and has over 35 years of experience, working with the vital support of volunteers, within and for local communities. The SCP team maintain and restore local beautiful countryside areas and their habitats for biodiversity, wildlife, public access and enjoyment by all. [more]

When the world stopped, nature was there for us by TCV.

TCV look at how their volunteering sessions had been suspended (In June), yet some of our TCV staff still carried on maintaining and caring for the green spaces (following social distancing rules) where so many of us found solace during lockdown and what they're doing now. [more]

 

CJS Focus

CJS Focus on Volunteering - submit your adverts now.

Before we put ouselves in self-isolation in preparation for our Covid-safe Christmas Bubbles (why didn't the Government call them Baubles?) we'd like to remind you that the first edition of CJS Focus after the lockdown break is CJS Focus on Volunteering due for publication on 22 February in association with the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces (NFPGS) with Parks Community UK.

The deadline for advertising is 13 February but we're accepting adverts now [more] or your advert online here for general adverts or here for specific posts

 

News

Four stories this month provoking a lot of response:

New national parks and thousands of green jobs under plans to build back greener with the launch of an £80m fund.  The Scottish Government's response to the Werrity report made for a very busy news day,  New grants and subsisdies for farmers to replace CAP and Marine Protection Areas designated in Scotland and England also generated lots of opnions.

 

Training

Calendar of events and short courses occuring in February 2021  Plus additions to long courses and providers made over the past month.

 


CJS Newsletters and updates:

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

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CJS Professional: 10 December 2020

 

CJS Christmas card: flowering snowdrops in snow

Our Christmas card this year has been chosen as a symbol of hope and optimism; the sturdy snowdrop, not as fragile as it looks and, according to Alfred Lord Tennyson, the prophet of better times.

   

 

Jobs: view all online jobs here

 

Logo: Future Nature WTCFuture Nature WTC

Managing Director

Salary: £45,000 per annum

Contract: Permanent, full time (37.5 hours per week)

Based: The Lodge, Littlemore, Oxford OX4 4XT initially & home working

In 2020 Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) took the decision to set up Future Nature WTC, as a mechanism to deliver income and impact for the charity.

We are now looking for an exceptional Managing Director to establish, embed and grow the business and deliver biodiversity services that clients need.

As Managing Director, you will lead and manage the day to day running of the consultancy business. You will be responsible for identifying new business, developing client relationships, managing the company’s finances and personnel, together with project management of key contracts and delivery of a range of biodiversity services. You will work alongside the Future Nature Board to ensure the business is legally compliant by developing and implementing relevant policies and procedures that ensure the safety of staff and quality of work.

Future Nature WTC is the newly formed wholly owned trading subsidiary of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), and latest member of the Wildlife Trust Consultancy (WTC) association. As such its profits are reinvested in the charitable aims and objectives of the Wildlife Trust enabling business to contribute to Nature’s Recovery locally. As a standalone consultancy it aspires to integrate the expertise and integrity of the Wildlife Trust movement with the commercial, pragmatic and responsive services needed to successfully deliver projects.

For full details, please visit our website www.bbowt.org.uk/jobs. To apply, please email CV and covering letter to hello@futurenaturewtc.co.uk. Please note that only successful applicants will be notified.

The closing time and date for applications is 11.59pm Monday 4th January 2021.

Interviews will be held either via Zoom or face to face on Tuesday 12th January 2021 at The Lodge, Littlemore, Oxford.

We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, The Lodge, 1 Armstrong Road, Littlemore, Oxford, OX4 4XT

Registered Charity No. 204330

www.bbowt.org.uk


Logo: Hertfordshire County CouncilHertfordshire County Council

People and Wildlife Officer

Hudnall Park

37 Hours Per Week

Fixed Term Contract Until 31st May 2023

Are you interested in working with young people and their families to develop and deliver engaging nature-based experiences that support participantsu2019 emotional wellbeing and facilitate practical conservation volunteering opportunities?

YC Hertfordshire, in partnership with the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, has launched an exciting new project u2018Go Wild at Hudnallu2019, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project will offer free nature-based emotional wellbeing activities and forest school sessions for children, young people and families in a beautiful natural setting. The focus is on developing young peopleu2019s emotional wellbeing, resilience and self-confidence, as well as nurturing a connection to their natural environment through experiencing and learning about wildlife species, habitats and conservation.

We particularly want to reach disadvantaged groups (e.g. BAME communities, looked after children, care leavers, young people with learning disabilities and difficulties, living with mental health issues, young carers, in the youth justice system etc.). The age range is mainly 11-18 (up to 25 with disabilities, or 21 for care leavers). Some activities will be family-focused and tailored for younger or pre-school children.

Hudnall Park is a magical place set in 85 acres of beautiful woodland and meadow on the edge of the Chiltern Hills in Dacorum. It provides a range of key wildlife habitats in a self-contained and safe setting, including ancient woodland, grassland, pond and hedgerows. The project will be improving these valuable, threatened habitats, through practical landscape management, as well as engaging young people with a wide range of nature-based activities and volunteering.

At Hertfordshire County Council, we are passionate about ensuring the best outcomes for every member of our community. Many of our local young people are excelling in life, but others face a myriad of challenges and concerns. As such, YC Hertfordshire Services for Young People plays an essential role in helping these individuals develop the personal, social and emotional skills they need to succeed in life.

You will have a qualification or relevant experience in species and habitat management and environmental education. You will have relevant training for managing habitats and experience of planning and delivering environmental education, nature-based learning and practical conservation activities.

You will be responsible for planning and delivering the above activities for young people accessing the project. As part of your role, you will create and prepare wildlife and habitat resources and interpretation for a range of activities and carry out ongoing practical tasks to improve, develop and maintain habitats, in line with the landscape and ecology management plan.

Post-holders will receive training in delivering mindfulness, forest schools and traditional crafts, therefore we are looking for people with a keen interest in the benefits of being in nature for emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, interviews may be conducted virtually. Please do express your interest in this role and we will come back to you.

If you have any queries regarding the role please contact Leanne Clayton on 01992588229 or ychertfordshire@hertfordshire.gov.uk

Closing date: Midnight Sunday 20th December 2020

Interview date: Friday 8th January 2021

Apply here


Logo: Kent Wildlife TrustKent Wildlife Trust

Sevenoaks Greensand Commons Project Officer

Contract type: Fixed term until 30th June 2022

Hours: 4 days/30 hours a week

Closing Date: 3rd January 2021 at 5pm

Interview Date: W/c 18th January 2021

Salary: Up to £27,844 pa pro rata

Based at: Sevenoaks – Sevenoaks District Council’s Argyle Road Offices

Sevenoaks District Council (SDC), working with Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT), has been awarded a grant of £483,600 through the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for the restoration and enhancement of the natural heritage of the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons for present and future generations. With match funding the project budget is £712,570.

The Sevenoaks Greensand Commons cover an area of nearly 300ha over 8 key project sites around 3 clusters; Seal, Sevenoaks and Westerham. They form part of a greensand ridge that stretches through Southern England. Historically, these common lands developed unique wildlife habitats and a rich cultural history, which are steadily becoming lost and forgotten.

This role is responsible for carrying out agreed works to manage and further engage interest in stewardship of the Sevenoaks Greensand Common project sites.

You will work closely with Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) and KWT staff, stakeholders, and delivery partners. This includes skilled and enthusiastic local volunteers with a wide range of specialisms encouraging the furthering and sharing of the unique resources of the commons.

This is an exciting delivery role within Kent Wildlife Trust, one which puts you at the heart of our vision for connected landscapes and offers you the chance to build on your existing project management and partnership working skills to deliver a project which will have significant benefits to the landscape, people and wildlife of the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons for now and for future generations.

The role will require some evening and weekend working and the successful applicant may be required to undertake a DBS check.

Contact details:

Logo: Sevenoaks District CouncilLogo: Heritage FundFor an application pack and to apply, visit our website at www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk

For an informal discussion about this role, please contact Andrew Willmore on 07720 093128 or andrew.willmore@kentwildlife.org.uk.


Logo: Kent Wildlife TrustKent Wildlife Trust

Sevenoaks Greensand Commons People Engagement Officer

Contract type: Fixed term until 30th June 2022

Hours: 15 hours a week

Closing Date: 3rd January 2021 at 5pm

Interview Date: W/c 18th January 2021

Salary: Up to £27,844 pa pro rata

Based at: Sevenoaks – Sevenoaks District Council’s Argyle Road Offices

Sevenoaks District Council (SDC), working with Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT), has been awarded a grant of £483,600 through the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for the restoration and enhancement of the natural heritage of the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons for present and future generations. With match funding the project budget is £712,570.

The Sevenoaks Greensand Commons cover an area of nearly 300ha over 8 key project sites around 3 clusters; Seal, Sevenoaks and Westerham. They form part of a greensand ridge that stretches through Southern England. Historically, these common lands developed unique wildlife habitats and a rich cultural history, which are steadily becoming lost and forgotten.

This role is responsible for engaging a wide variety of people to discover and value the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons project sites and nurture an interest in their ongoing stewardship.

You will work closely with Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) and KWT staff, stakeholders, and delivery partners. This includes skilled and enthusiastic local volunteers with a wide range of specialisms encouraging the furthering and sharing of the unique resources of the commons.

This is an exciting delivery role within Kent Wildlife Trust, one which puts you at the heart of our vision for connected landscapes and offers you the chance to build on your existing project management and partnership working skills to deliver a project which will have significant benefits to the landscape, people and wildlife of the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons for now and for future generations.

The role will require some evening and weekend working and the successful applicant may be required to undertake a DBS check.

Contact details:

Logo: Sevenoaks District CouncilLogo: Heritage FundFor an application pack and to apply, visit our website at www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk

For an informal discussion about this role, please contact Andrew Willmore on 07720 093128 or andrew.willmore@kentwildlife.org.uk.


Logo: Royal Horticultural SocietyRoyal Horticultural Society

RHS Specialist Horticultural Placements (SHP)

RHS Specialist Horticultural Placements (SHP)

Location: RHS Gardens: Bridgewater, Harlow Carr, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall, and Wisley.

Salary: Circa £16,731 per annum, one year (fixed term) 37.5 hours per week

Closing date: 1 February 2021

Start date: September 2021

Are you enthusiastic about a specialist area of horticulture, and have an existing Level 2 qualification and three months’ work experience in horticulture?

The RHS School of Horticulture (SoH) has been at the forefront of horticultural training for over 100 years. It’s one year Specialist Horticultural Placement (SHP) programme will enable you to learn about the science, art and practice of horticulture in a specialist field, in the setting of an RHS Garden.

The placements available are: Alpine, Arboriculture, Edibles, Estate & Countryside, Floral & Ornamental, Formal Ornamental, Garden Support Services, Glass, Herbaceous Ornamental, Nursery and Propagation, Ornamental Horticulture, Trials, Turf & Meadows, Welcome and Riverside, and Woodland Ornamental.

The programme will enable you to work within the relevant Garden department, team and with individuals to gain knowledge, experiences, skills, training and experiences of and in horticulture in the specialised area advertised - in the work-based context, to prepare you for professional life in the industry.

While you will be asked to complete some guided learning tasks throughout the placement, the programme is very much about practical experience and does not result in a formal qualification.

You will have the opportunity to make use of the vast resources of the RHS, learn about the workings of the entire organisation and participate in its world recognised shows.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is committed to being an inclusive employer and welcomes applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

For a full job descriptions of each of the SHP roles, and details on how to apply please visit the website.


Logo: Royal Horticultural SocietyRoyal Horticultural Society

RHS Level 3 and Level 4 Diploma in Horticultural Practice Students

Location: RHS Garden Wisley

Salary: £16,731 per annum, two years fixed-term (Level 3 in year one and Level 4 in year two), 37.5 hours per week.

Closing date: 1 February 2021

Start Date: September 2021

Do you have an existing Level 2 qualification and work experience in horticulture, but want to learn more about horticulture and develop team leader/supervisory skills?

The RHS School of Horticulture (SoH) has been at the forefront of UK horticultural training for over 100 years. Its two-year Diploma course is an academic and work-based programme of study and training that will enable you to learn about the science, art and practice of horticulture in the setting of RHS Garden Wisley. You would work within its departments and with its teams and individuals to enhance and deepen your understanding of horticulture that you gained at Level 2, and develop Level 3/4 knowledge, skills and experiences to prepare you for professional life in the industry.

Throughout the Level 3/4 Diploma course, you will gain the horticultural team leader/supervisory skills, which includes management practices, budgeting and communication skills, in addition to learning about those essential horticultural theories and practices of course!

This is a combined programme of academic and work-based training, which means that you would have responsibilities as a student and RHS employee.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is committed to being an inclusive employer and welcomes applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

For a full job description, and details on how to apply please visit the website


Logo:Lockhart Garratt LtdLockhart Garratt Ltd

Forestry Consultant

Location: Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

Position Type: Full time, including 25 days holiday (plus Bank Holidays)

Salary: Competitive salary plus expenses and benefits

Closing Date for CV Applications: 8th January 2021

Email: justin.mumford@lgluk.com

The Role

As part of our continued growth we are looking for a driven and enthusiastic Forestry Consultant to join our busy team in Chipping Norton to support the ongoing schedule of client projects and expand your professional experience. This is an exciting opportunity to develop your forestry and woodland management skills and to provide tailored advice to a variety of clients as part of a wider multi-discipline environmental consultancy. The role will encompass:

Candidate Requirements

What We Can Offer

We offer a competitive basic salary (work related mileage will be reimbursed) plus an excellent benefits package of pension, flexible working opportunities, outdoor equipment allowance and exceptional career development opportunities for the right person wishing to fulfil their full professional potential.

Next Steps

Logo: Investors in PeopleIf you are interested in this post, please send your CV with covering letter to Justin Mumford, Managing Director (justin.mumford@lgluk.com) by Friday 8th January 2021

For an informal discussion about the position, please contact Justin on 07977 560 198.


Scottish Woodlands Ltd

Forest Manager - North Scotland

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Scottish Woodlands Ltd is a leading forestry management company with a long tradition of serving forest owners and investors in Scotland and the rest of the UK. We provide a comprehensive range of forest, estate and land-related services underpinned by our in-depth market experience, knowledge base and commitment to quality. The business is largely employee owned, and this encourages a dedication and commitment to the highest standards of professionalism and customer focus. Our aim is to understand each client’s specific objectives and then to provide a service which is both flexible and personal. We are currently seeking candidates for the following position:

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Apply: Please email hr@scottishwoodlands.co.uk

Website: www.scottishwoodlands.co.uk


Logo: Natural EnglandNatural England

Heathlands Senior Specialist

Ref: 3059

Post Type: Permanent

Working Pattern: Full Time, Part Time, Part Time/Job Share

Salary minimum: £32,438

This position can be based at any Natural England site.

Job description

You will provide national expertise on the ecology, conservation, restoration and management of lowland heathlands including advice on Agri-Environment Schemes and Protected Sites.

Working closely with other specialists, the role focuses on interpreting and synthesising evidence to provide expert, practical advice across Natural England. The role also involves working with external partners to further enhance the evidence base and achieve environmental outcomes.

Key tasks

The team

The Specialist Services and Programmes Team (SSP) is part of the Chief Scientists Directorate in Natural England. This Directorate is responsible for Natural England’s Science, Evidence and Evaluation Strategy and support its implementation to ensure Natural England is an evidence-led organisation. The SSP team leads on the development and application of natural, economic and social science and evidence to drive and enable the achievement of environmental outcomes both within Natural England and externally.

Our Chief Scientist Directorate is a great place to work, with some of the country’s leading environmental scientists, and we offer strong support for flexible working and personal development.

Contact and additional information (Recruiters Name, Email and Phone Number)

Vacancy Manager: Lorna Harris, Team Leader, Specialist Services and Programmes Team. lorna.harris@naturalengland.org.uk / 07768 858355.

Technical Lead: Dr Isabel Alonso, Principal Specialist Analyst. Isabel.alonso@naturalengland.org.uk / 07500 882590.

Closing Date: 23/12/2020, 23:55 hours

Interview dates: Expected: Week of the 18th January.

Level of security checks required: Basic Check (BPSS)

Competence 1: Professional competency

Detail: Technical / specialist competency

Description

Competence 2: Leading and Communicating

Description

Adapt your style, content and approach to communicate effectively with different audiences and across different media.
Produce specialist products such as articles, think pieces and papers for both general and technical readerships and contribute to peer-review publications and conferences.
Display thought leadership on Natural England's behalf through external collaboration within the Defra family and with other partners and academics.
Identify priority evidence needs and seek ways to meet them (e.g. through funding or partnerships).

Competence 3: Collaborating and Partnering

Description

Build relationships and effective networks both internally and externally to bring fresh perspectives, approaches and evidence to Natural England and support our specialist interests.
Share knowledge and information, building your networks and increasing your understanding.

Competence 4: Making Effective Decisions

Description

Apply expert knowledge and the national context to advice, technical input and options for decision making to nationally significant programmes and projects.
Develop and display independence and initiative, including the ability to test and challenge others in a constructive and evidence-based way.
Synthesise existing knowledge to provide and communicate evidence summaries, reviews and digests and ensure the overall robustness, quality and impact of our evidence and analysis within your scientific discipline(s).

Competence 5: Building Capability for All

Description

Train, coach and mentor others in Natural England and key players externally to increase their capability and increase the organisation’s technical skill and capability

For further information and to apply, please click here.


Logo: ADASRSK ADAS Ltd

Ecological Consultant

Location: Kent/Sussex (Homebased)

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 Ltd 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 services to a wide range of clients, particularly developers, utility companies and the renewable energy and rural industries, and as a result of our success in this area, we have a vacancy for an Ecological Consultant. The successful candidate will join a team of Ecology professionals who work closely with colleagues in other disciplines, such as Planning, Landscape and Archaeology.

The Role:

To deliver ecological consultancy and mitigation works in a fast moving, client focussed commercial environment. This will involve:

Successful candidates will have:

Ideal but not essential

   ●   PTS qualified.   ●   Level 1 or 2 bat licence.    ●   Client management experience.   ●   Salary and benefits:   ●   Competitive salary   ●   Contributory Pension Scheme   ●   A flexible benefits programme including the option to buy additional holidays and private health care   ●   Regular training and career development
As an entrepreneurial organisation, we encourage and foster the growth of our employees. When joining RSK, a mentor works with you to ensure you set and achieve your goals. We want to accelerate your professional development, including opportunities for a promotional fast track.

Further, retaining staff is the building block of a successful organisation. As a company, RSK wants to ensure you maintain a healthy work life balance, with many opportunities for flexible working hours, locality flexibility, social activities, and community involvement projects.

We operate an open and relaxed management culture that nurtures continuous improvement and innovation. This also enables us to achieve a staff turnover rate that's consistently below the industry average. Adopting a proactive growth strategy helps us to run a sustainable and profitable business while providing new and exciting career opportunities for all.

The company prides itself on providing its staff with a rewarding and challenging career, encouraging Continuous Professional Development, allowing employees to reach their full potential. Having been recently placed within the top10 UK environmental consultancies (Environmental Analyst, December 2017) and number 42 in the Sunday Times Fastrack 200 which rates the success of private companies in the UK, there has never been a more exciting time to join.

All candidates applying for positions with RSK Group must be eligible to work in the UK/European Economic Area.

RSK is committed to our Corporate Responsibility strategy. We seek to minimise our impact on the environment; to engage positively with the community and education groups; to provide a safe and supportive atmosphere in which to work; and to promote Corporate Responsibility throughout our supply chain.

RSK Group is an Equal Opportunities Employer

For further information and to apply, please click here


Logo: ADASRSK ADAS Ltd

Ecological Consultant / Senior Ecological Consultant

Location: Cardiff

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 Ltd 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 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 an experienced proactive Ecological Consultant or Senior Ecological Consultant with the drive and desire to grow our team based in South Wales. The successful candidate will work well with limited supervision and have experience in business development. This is a unique opportunity for the right person to join the business and rapidly progress their career in ecology. They will join a wider team of Ecology professionals who work closely with colleagues in other disciplines, such as Planning, Landscape and Archaeology.

The Role:

You will be a key player in delivering ecological surveys and mitigation works in a fast moving, client focussed commercial environment, with the aim to rapidly develop your skills and grow the business in the South Wales region.

Successful candidates will:

Person specification:

Essential Skills and Experience:

   ●   Educated to graduate level in a relevant subject.   ●   Have at least one protected species survey licence, ideally bats, and have adequate experience to apply for derogation licences.   ●   CIEEM membership.    ●   Experience of bat analysis software.   ●   Have an in-depth knowledge of ecology, legislation, and survey techniques.   ●   Have excellent written communication skills and be able to produce accurate technical reports.   ●   Able to work alone and manage your own time to ensure that work is delivered on time and to the required standards.   ●   Full driving licence and have use of a car.   ●   Flexible working with regards to type of work, timing and location.

Desirable Skills and Experience:

   ●   Be commercially aware with experience of managing budgets.   ●   CSCS card holder.   ●   PTS qualified.   ●   Quote/tender production.   ●   Client management experience.   ●   Salary and benefits:   ●   Competitive salary.   ●   Contributory Pension Scheme.   ●   A flexible benefits programme including the option to buy additional holidays and private health care.   ●   Regular training and career development.
Applications are being reviewed as received and successful candidates will be invited for an initial online interview.

As an entrepreneurial organisation, we encourage and foster the growth of our employees. When joining ADAS, a mentor works with you to ensure you set and achieve your goals. We want to accelerate your professional development, including opportunities for a promotional fast track.

Further, retaining staff is the building block of a successful organisation. As a company, ADAS wants to ensure you maintain a healthy work life balance, with many opportunities for flexible working hours, locality flexibility, social activities, and community involvement projects.

We operate an open and relaxed management culture that nurtures continuous improvement and innovation. This also enables us to achieve a staff turnover rate that's consistently below the industry average. Adopting a proactive growth strategy helps us to run a sustainable and profitable business while providing new and exciting career opportunities for all.

The company prides itself on providing its staff with a rewarding and challenging career, encouraging Continuous Professional Development, allowing employees to reach their full potential. Having been recently placed within the top 10 UK environmental consultancies (Environmental Analyst, December 2017) and number 42 in the Sunday Times Fastrack 200 which rates the success of private companies in the UK, there has never been a more exciting time to join.

All candidates applying for positions with RSK Group must be eligible to work in the UK/European Economic Area.

ADAS is committed to our Corporate Responsibility strategy. We seek to minimise our impact on the environment; to engage positively with the community and education groups; to provide a safe and supportive atmosphere in which to work; and to promote Corporate Responsibility throughout our supply chain.

RSK Group is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Visit our websites to find out more about ADAS and the RSK Group: www.adas.uk and www.rsk.co.uk

For further information and to apply, please click here


Logo: RSK Habitat ManagementRSK ADAS Ltd

Skilled Machine Operative

RSK Habitat Management are a new and exciting business, providing practical ecological contracting solutions for our clients. We provide results-based outcomes for clients and biodiversity, with innovation at the heart of everything that we do. The successful candidate(s) will be joining a team of professionals who work closely with colleagues in other disciplines such as Ecology, Landscape and Arboriculture.

As part of the RSK Group, one of the UK’s largest environmental consultancies, we are able to provide our clients with an unparalleled combination of environmental assessment and management consultancy services.

We are ranked 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.

The role:

We are looking for a skilled machinery operative, who has extensive experience in operating plant and who has a positive and professional attitude to join our team. The role will involve working on a National basis and will involve some element of staying away and travelling.

We are looking for someone who has significant experience in operating plant and equipment in environmentally sensitive areas. Staff with experience in operating on and handling peat, will be looked on favourably.

You will be experienced in operating a wide variety of plant, and ideally, will be highly experienced in operating 360 excavators and tractors.

We are looking for someone who enjoys working as part of a team, and whom wants to be a key part of the business as we grow and develop. We are wanting to make a real difference to our environment, helping in the delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain and reaching Net Zero for Carbon. There is a real opportunity for progression within this role, with a clearly defined career pathway and opportunities for external training available.

Successful candidates will:

Person specification:

   ●   Valid CPCS Card(s);   ●   Valid CSCS card or equivalent;    ●   Ideally hold 3 day First Aid at Work Qualification   ●   Ideally hold HGV Class 1 licence;  ●   Experience of operating plant and machinery in ecologically and environmentally sensitive environments;    ●   Experience of operating excavators with specialist attachments including: Tree shears, forestry mulchers and tilt rotators;   ●   Physically fit and motivated;   ●   Able to carry out basic machine maintenance and site repairs;   ●   High quality of workmanship with an eye for detail;    ●   Strong communication skills;   ●   Experience of working within a fast-paced working environment;   ●   Prepared to stay away Monday to Friday;
Salary and benefits:

   ●   £24,000 up to £35,000 per annum (for exceptional candidates).   ●   Overtime with Night and Weekend enhancements.    ●   Paid accommodation and subsistence allowance (when working away).   ●   Access to a company vehicle.    ●   Contributory Pension Scheme.   ●   A flexible benefits programme including the option to buy additional holidays and private healthcare.   ●   Regular training and career development.
For further information and to apply, please click here


Logo: Forestry EnglandForestry England

Environment GIS Technician

Two-year fixed-term contract

Based at our head office at Lyndhurst or Bucks Horn Oak Office in Farnham, with travel across the District

Forestry England is the largest land manager and custodian of the nation’s public forests. We have around 1,000 committed staff looking after more land and more trees than any other organisation. It’s a job that never stops growing.

We are looking for an experienced Environment GIS Technician to provide high-quality support to our forestry planners and ecologists in the South Forest District, and expert technical advice and interpretation of our data records. Using your proven knowledge of the application of GIS in an ecological and/or forestry background, you will manage, review, and develop our datasets, providing maps and spatial data analysis for our land management programmes.

A self-motivated individual, you’ll have a degree in GIS or Ecology and previous experience in successful analysis and presentation of geospatial data. You’ll also be a confident communicator with strong attention to detail and accuracy.

This is an exciting time to join the South Forest District as we look to secure and grow our economic, social, and natural capital of our forests. In return, we offer an attractive salary and benefits package including generous annual leave and a government pension scheme. We also provide a range of training and learning opportunities to help you develop your skills.

For further details about this exciting role visit: www.forestryengland.uk/careers or for an informal chat, please contact Jonathan Blanco Diaz by email: jonathan.blanco.diaz@forestryengland.uk

Closing date: 9 January 2021


Logo Romney Marsh Countryside PartnershipRomney Marsh Countryside Partnership

Dungeness NNR Ranger

£20,102 minimum to £23,077 maximum per annum

Permanent - Full Time

Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership

The Romney Marsh (RMCP) and White Cliffs Countryside Partnerships (WCCP) were created to care for the special landscapes and wildlife of the Dover and Folkestone and Hythe Districts, and to help people enjoy them. The RMCP has been managing large parts of Dungeness National Nature Reserve for 25 years.

This is a great opportunity for an outgoing and enthusiastic individual to contribute to the management of one of the busiest National Nature Reserves in the UK, but also one of the richest in terms of biodiversity. Working alongside the Dungeness Partnership Officer, you will assist with the day-to-day management of a large part of the NNR, including habitat and visitor management. With over half a million visitors a year, the job can be challenging but also rewarding, making this job unique.

Essential Requirements:

   ●   Experience of engaging members of the public   ●   Experience of managing visitors on a public facing site   ●   Experience of working with volunteers on practical projects   ●   Ability to keep calm and act responsibly under pressure   ●   Passion and interest in wildlife and conservation   ●   Qualification in conservation, biology or similarly related discipline or experience of working in the countryside sector   ●   Full Clean Driving Licence

You will be required to work every other weekend and some evenings.

Due to the nature of the role, this post requires a standard DBS check.

For more information and to apply visit www.dover.gov.uk

For an informal discussion about this post, please contact Owen Leyshon, Dungeness Partnership Officer on 07770 670316 or email owen.leyshon@dover.gov.uk

Closing date: Sunday 27 December 2020

Interview date: TBC


Field Studies Council

Maintenance Officer

Salary: £17,527 - £18.600 per annum.

Location: Preston Montford, Shrewsbury

Hours: 35 hours per week

Duration – Permanent

FSC wants to create a world where everyone feels connected to the environment so they can enjoy the benefits it gives and make choices that help protect it. We offer a range of field studies courses to visiting groups across our centres based all over the UK in stunning locations. For further details click here.

We are looking for a maintenance officer with experience in general interior and exterior maintenance work, with the ability to deliver quality craftmanship as well as the experience of the safe use & care of relevant machinery and equipment for indoor and outdoor maintenance tasks. The successful applicant will need to hold a driving licence as they will be required to drive FSC vehicles; and may be required to undertake a D1 entitlement. Experience of grounds maintenance & health and safety monitoring & record keeping is desirable. Good practical problem solving skills and the ability to work using own initiative are a must. The successful candidate will be working on-site at one of our beautiful locations, FSC Preston Montford, as part of a small, welcoming, and committed team.

For the full job description and to apply, please visit our website here.

Closing date:12 noon on Tuesday 5th January 2021

Interviews will be scheduled in the week commencing 11th January, with shortlisted applicants being contacted by email.


Field Studies Council

Business Development Manager

Base negotiable
£30,012 - £35,790 per annum
Full Time, Permanent
Field Studies Council is one of the UK’s leading providers of outdoor environmental education. This is an exciting opportunity to join the Field Studies Council (FSC).
We now have an exciting opportunity for a Business Development Manager to join us to generate demand for our products, develop partnerships and sales leads for groups looking to enjoy our facilities.
Working under the direction of the Commercial Director and in line with our new business strategy, you will manage and mentor the business development team whilst identifying new opportunities for growth in both new and existing markets. You will support in the design and development of new products that meet changing customer needs and demands whilst targeting all sales efforts into boosting the occupancy and financial returns delivered in each of the FSC’s locations. Your overall aim will be to expand the market for FSC thereby delivering financial growth.
Due to the nature of the role you will be required to travel to our various locations as well as other venues across the UK. This may occasionally be abroad therefore involving some overnight stays.
To be successful in the key role you will have experience in a similar Business Development role and a good understanding of the specialist leisure, travel and hospitality industry within the UK. You will be able to demonstrate a successful track record of achieving sales growth in both B2C and B2B markets, driven by online transactions and have experience in the launch of new products into new and/or existing markets.
A positive attitude to new business generation and strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential to the position. You will have an interest in and an understanding of the charity and commercial market.
Closing Date: 5th Jan 2021
Interview Date: w/c11th or w/c 18th Jan 2021
For further information and to apply, please click here


Logo: Kent County CouncilKent County Council

Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) Projects and Programme Delivery Officer

Starting salary £29,446 per annum

Permanent Full Time, 37 hours per week

Location: Invicta House, Maidstone

The Public Rights of Way and Access Service are responsible for the recording, protection and maintenance of Kent’s 6900 km network of footpaths, bridleways and byways. The network provides unparalleled access to Kent’s countryside and is vital in supporting the rural economy, tourism and health as well as access to amenities and services.

Based at Invicta House, Maidstone, the role of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) Projects and Programme Delivery Officer is responsible for ensuring Rights of Way Improvement Plan targets and multi-agency access initiatives are delivered across the County.

Lead implementation of numerous public rights of way (PRoW) and countryside access initiatives where there is a necessity for a multi-agency/ partnership approach.

Project plan and deliver schemes that may be conceived and delivered within a short to medium term horizon; including the bidding for and securing of external funding/ grant and non-financial assistance from partners.

Deliver integrated access schemes in the growth areas, working closely with planners and developers.

Contribute to responses made to local and strategic consultations as required.

The post carries a high-volume workload. You will be able to display excellent project management, organisation and communication skills and be able to prioritise and manage your time effectively. You will have excellent IT skills.

This post is considered by KCC to be a customer-facing position. The Council therefore has a statutory duty under Part 7 of the Immigration Act (2016) to ensure that post holders have a command of spoken English/Welsh sufficient for the effective performance of the job requirements. The appropriate standards are set out in the Job Description/Person Specification.

The vacancy reference number is REF/TP/502/1135 . Should you require any further information, please contact Graham Rusling on 03000 413449 or email graham.rusling@kent.gov.uk

To apply click here

The closing date is Midnight on 10th January 2021.


Logo: BBOWTBerkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust

West Berkshire Wild Verges Project Officer

Salary: £22,400 per annum

Contract: Fixed term, March 2021 to December 2023

Hours: Full-time (35 hours per week)

Based: Newbury, between BBOWT’s office at Estovers and Market Street West Berks Council Offices, with some home-working and field working required.

We are looking for someone to help us deliver an exciting road verge project that will benefit biodiversity and contribute to our Nature Recovery Network, whilst inspiring people to appreciate the value of their local road verges. This a joint project – hosted by BBOWT and funded by West Berkshire Council.

The project will gain a better understanding of the condition of the rural road verge network in the West Berkshire district, and to identify those verges that are playing an important role in supporting local biodiversity and ecological function, as well as those which could be restored to do more. This will lead into developing tailored management advice to be passed to West Berkshire Council and their contractors, and may include the use of new techniques and equipment. An important element of the project is to increase public awareness around verges, wildlife and connectivity, and to encourage people to participate in their conservation.

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust is a membership-based voluntary organisation, managing over 80 nature reserves, influencing land management and educating and encouraging all sectors of the community to care for local wildlife.

For full details on how to apply for the post, please visit our website https://www.bbowt.org.uk/jobs. Please note that CVs will not be accepted and that only successful applicants will be notified.

The closing time and date for applications is 11.59pm on Monday 11th January 2021.

Interviews will be held via Zoom/Teams or at BBOWTs HQ on the edge of Oxford - (tbc), on Friday 22nd January 2021

We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, The Lodge, 1 Armstrong Road, Littlemore, Oxford, Oxon. OX4 4XT

Registered Charity No. 204330

www.bbowt.org.uk


Logo: Forestry EnglandForestry England

Forest Craftsperson

Hamsterley Forest, County Durham

£21,998

This post is an exciting opportunity to join the Hamsterley Beat team, part of North Forest District. You will play a key role in the hands-on delivery of practical land management and recreational work for Forestry England.

Purpose of the Job:

To apply click here 

Closing Date: 6th January 2021

For more details and application form visit:www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk (Job ref: 86928)

No recruitment agencies please.


 

Apprenticeships, Interns and paid trainee roles.

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Logo: Royal Horticultural SocietyRoyal Horticultural Society

Horticultural Operative Apprenticeships (L2)

Level 2 Apprenticeships with the Royal Horticultural Society

Horticultural Operative Apprenticeships (L2)

Location: RHS Gardens: Bridgewater, Harlow Carr, Rosemoor, Hyde Hall, and Wisley.

Salary: Circa £15,154 (those under the age of 25) £16,010 (those above the age of 25) per annum, two years (fixed term) 37.5 hours per week

Closing date: 1 March 2021

Start date: August 2021

Are you interested in plants, gardening or horticulture, but new to the industry?

We are delighted to be able to offer horticultural apprenticeships at each of our five RHS Gardens: Hyde Hall, Rosemoor, Bridgewater, Harlow Carr and Wisley.

This apprenticeship will enable you to learn about the science, art and practice of horticulture in the setting of an RHS Garden, and in doing so, work within its departments and with its teams and individuals to gain knowledge, skills, training and experiences in and of horticulture (in terms of study and the work-based context).

You will work alongside our knowledgeable, skilled and experienced staff in an RHS Garden, alongside studying at college to develop, enhance and deepen your understanding of horticulture.

Throughout the apprenticeship, you will establish, cultivate and maintain formal and informal garden areas, learn how to be environmentally aware, and use tools, techniques and machinery that will equip you for professional life in the industry!

This is a combined programme of academic and work-based training, which means that you would have responsibilities as a college apprentice and RHS employee.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is committed to being an inclusive employer and welcomes applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

For a full job description, and details on how to apply please visit the website. 


Logo: Royal Horticultural SocietyRoyal Horticultural Society

Level 3 Landscape/Horticulture Supervisor Apprenticeship (L3)

Level 3 Apprenticeships with the Royal Horticultural Society

Level 3 Landscape/Horticulture Supervisor Apprenticeship (L3)

Location: RHS Garden Rosemoor.

Salary: Circa £15,154 (those under the age of 25) £16,010 (those above the age of 25) per annum, three years (fixed term) 37.5 hours per week

Closing date: 1 March 2021

Start date: August 2021

Do you have at least three months’ worth of work experience in horticulture, and want to learn more about horticulture and develop team leader/supervisory skills?

We are delighted to be able to offer the Level 3 apprenticeship programme at RHS Garden Rosemoor.
This apprenticeship will enable you to learn about the science, art and practice of horticulture in the setting of an RHS Garden. You would work within its departments and with its teams and individuals to enhance and deepen your current understanding of horticulture, and develop Level 3 knowledge, skills and experiences to prepare you for professional life in the industry.

Throughout the Level 3 apprenticeship, you will gain horticultural team leader/supervisory skills, which includes managing a site with minimum supervision, supervising a team and maintaining the health, safety and security of personnel and resources. You will also learn how to adapt to change and different environments, conditions and technologies, and become a conscientious, dependable, flexible staff member with a can-do attitude.

This is a combined programme of academic and work-based training, which means that you would have responsibilities as a college apprentice and RHS employee.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is committed to being an inclusive employer and welcomes applicants from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

For a full job description, and details on how to apply please visit the website. 

 


 

 

Volunteers.

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Volunteers: 11 adverts for voluntary posts added this month  see all of these online at: https://www.countryside-jobs.com/volunteers/intro

 

CJS Focus on Volunteering - submit your adverts now.

More information here.


Advertise your voluntary roles with CJS - it's free! Click here.

 

CJS Announcements and articles of interest.

 

Details of CJS deadlines and publication dates over Christmas and New Year.

Office hours

Please remember we take our annual holidays over the Christmas period when there are few or no job vacancies around, and this year we're taking an extra week, more information and reasons here. The office will close on Tuesday 15 December 2020 and will re-open on Monday 4 January 2021.

Online

The website will be updated up to and including Tuesday 15 December (last posting 3pm) and then again from Monday 4 January (not before noon). News, first updates will not be before Tuesday 5 January.

CJS Weekly

The last copy of 2020 will be 11 December and the first of 2021 will be 8 January. There will be no copy published on 18 December, 25 December or 1 January.

Subscriptions: To receive the 11 December edition you must subscribe before 3pm on Thursday 10 December. To receive the 8 January edition you must subscribe before 3pm Thursday 7 January.

Advertising: To advertise in the 11 December edition copy to be received before 4pm Thursday 10 December. To advertise in the 8 January edition copy to be received before 4pm Thursday 7 January.Submit your advert online here.

Volunteers: Please note that due to the size of the first few editions in January we are unable to guarantee inclusion in any specific edition. However, all ads will be published well before their closing dates and are included online at no charge on the volunteers page. Submit your copy here. Please consider CJS Focus on Volunteers, published 22 February. Information here.

CJS Professional

First edition of 2021 will be published on Thursday 14 January.  All adverts must be booked before 5pm Monday 11 January and copy to be received before 12 noon Tuesday 10 January.

 

picture of the CJS calendar for 2021

Download your copy of the handy CJS Calendar complete with all the dates, deadlines for CJS publications plus information. (pdf)

 


We're delighted to introduce our Featured Charity for 2021: Campaign for National Parks.

Introducing Campaign for National Parks – small team, big impact

Logo: Campaign for National Parks
View over the North York Moors by Mike Kipling
North York Moors by Mike Kipling

Without Campaign for National Parks, National Parks may not exist here in the UK. It started off in the 1936 as the Standing Committee on National Parks which was instrumental in the creation of the first – and then subsequent – National Parks in England and Wales in the 1950s. It went on to become the Council for National Parks before evolving into Campaign for National Parks (CNP) in 2008.

The organisation’s initial creation came at a time when access to the countryside was very limited. Private landowners restricted public access. It took a group of dedicated campaigners to change this and pave the way for the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 - part of the post-war reconstruction effort.

Looking down at a lake in the Lake District (Campaign for National Parks)
Lake District (Campaign for National Parks)

CNP is the only national charity dedicated to campaigning to protect and promote National Parks in England and Wales. Its mission is to inspire everyone to enjoy and look after the 13 National Parks: Brecon Beacons, The Broads, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, North York Moors, Northumberland, Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, South Downs and Yorkshire Dales. Scotland has two National Parks – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and Cairngorms – which are represented by Scottish Campaign for National Parks, a member of CNP.

It brings together over 30 organisations, including National Park Societies, National Park Authorities and other organisations with an interest in National Parks, including such as CPRE, NAAONB and National Trust to identify and address issues facing national parks and share and try to tackle these. In recent years, CNP has focused on a range of areas from accessibility and diversity to planning and climate change.

With just four members of staff, it's a small team making a big impact creating important reports, such as 2018’s Raising the Bar looking at improving nature in our National Parks (with a new report due out in 2021). CNP is frequently invited to help shape policy related to National Parks as a key stakeholder and responds to government consultations and local planning applications. It co-ordinates campaigns - online and offline – and supports members’ campaigns.

Mosaic's Yvonne Witter (Campaign for National Parks)
Mosaic's Yvonne Witter (Campaign for National Parks)

It also ran the successful Mosaic project to connect new audiences with National Parks, including young people and Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities based around a scalable community champion model. This has had a lasting impact, with Yvonne Witter who has carried the Mosaic project on in the Peak District recently being named in BBC Women’s Hour’s Power List. On top of this, CNP currently runs two annual competitions – the Park Protector Awards for pioneering projects and people in National Parks and a popular photography competition, open to all.

As well as organisational members, CNP has individual members – people who support the aims of the charity and regularly contribute to enable it to carry on its important work for National Parks. Members pay a monthly subscription starting at £3 per month and receive a bi-annual printed magazine called Viewpoint, a monthly e-newsletter and range of partner discounts.

Winning photograph 2020: Osprey in the Cairngorms by Peter Stephens
Winning photograph 2020: Osprey in the Cairngorms by Peter Stevens

CNP’s Chief Executive Anita Konrad said: “2020 has been a challenging year for us all and we’ve seen just how important getting out into beautiful landscapes and connecting with nature has been to support the nation through this. National Parks have faced huge challenges around managing increased visitor numbers with limited resources, but there have also been opportunities to engage with new audiences and share the beauty of the Parks with more people.

“Campaign for National Parks played an integral role in the post-war recovery by spearheading the creation of National Parks. As the government of today shifts its focus from crisis response to building back greener, with the creation of new National Parks and investment into nature recovery, we have an important role to play to ensure that our National Parks – existing and future – are empowered to innovate and play their part in a Green Recovery.”

Find out more about Campaign for National Parks here, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

 


Developing the conservation workforce of the future - Facebook live session from 4 December - recording available.

Only 27% of employers across all sectors offer work experience yet 74% expect potential employees to have experience – how are people supposed to get that experience?  

Late on Friday afternoon Brian Heppenstall delivered an amazing talk on developing the future conservation workforce. This is the one to watch if your organisation is looking to include work placements as a recruitment method.  

Brian started out after college and university on a placement at Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve; he has now been Senior Ranger at Hengistbury for 11 years running a placement offer which is rated as 31st in the UK under the Rate My Placement top 100 graduate employers. Above the likes of Tesco & British Airways.

Not everyone who does a placement with Brian ends up being a Countryside Ranger, they get to try out various areas of the work and discover which areas they enjoy and want to work in. 

Brian says “Our work hasn’t suffered whilst we’ve had placement students – there was a worry that our time would be taken up too much with teaching students but it’s not impacted on the work we’ve been able to do. Actually because it’s been structured well, as a team we have managed to do other things like surveys which we don’t manage in our core team.”

If you would like to learn more about providing placements and developing a workforce that have the skills you need then please watch Brian’s video now on https://c-js.co.uk/3lSdcVs

 

 


Facebook Live session with Richard Dodd of Wildwood Ecology on 13 January.

logo: Wildwood EcologyRichard says “Many ecologists find it hard to gain their first job or develop themselves professionally because their “real lives” have gotten in the way. When people stop learning, though, they hurt their chances of succeeding in their career. Our online academy teaches the skills every professional ecologist needs to know to secure that job or bring greater value to the company they work for.”

Richard has worked as a professional ecologist since 2000 in the public, voluntary and private sectors. He is a writer, contributing to articles on ecology and business management, and a guest lecturer at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester. His company, Wildwood Ecology, is the first to be Certified as a B Corporation and helps people resolve their planning and development issues where ecological surveys and expert advice is needed. Each year they support over 300 clients and have a 100% success rate in obtaining protected species licences, such as for bats and newts. They were recognised by CIEEM as ‘Ecological Consultancy of the Year’ in 2019, which enabled Richard to recruit a great team and expand their services, including the launch of the Ecology Training Academy (https://wildwoodecologytraining.thinkific.com/).


 

CMACMA launch FREE Student Starter Membership for one year.

The Countryside Management Association have launched a new membership category, offering FREE Student Starter Membership to those in full- or part-time education, including apprenticeships, for one year. 

Benefits:

Who is it for?

The new membership category is for students in full- or part-time education interested in countryside, greenspace and environmental work.

How to join

To subscribe to the free Student Starter Membership, register your details online.

 

 

Features and In Depth Articles.

 

A bat’s best friend.

Logo: Paws for Conservation
Detection dog highlighting a bat carcass in the mud as circled (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)
One example of a more difficult bat carcass find (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)

I have been handling and training detection dogs for 6 years in a variety of disciplines. Breaking down doors with HMRC on dawn raids for illicit tobacco and cash, searching stadia, vehicles and hotels for explosives or surveying wind farms for bat and bird carcasses. I’ve trained dogs that detect animals being smuggled through airports, as well as training the first ever scientifically tested Great Crested Newt (GCN) detection dog. It’s fair to say that my career in dog handling so far has been pretty exciting.

In March 2020 I was made redundant, but I wasn’t about to give up on something that I was truly passionate about. When you’ve had to get on your hands and knees to dig a bat carcass out of the mud, or smashed through a tiled wall to reveal a complex concealment of tobacco, you can then appreciate the true thrill of dog handling. So, I decided to go it alone, and set up my own company. Conservation is the one area that I feel proud to be part of. The fact that dogs are able to assist in such important projects and surveys, and the opportunity to learn about these incredible animals you are searching for, motivates me to keep proving just how useful and incredible dogs can be.

Rachael and Bat and Bird carcass detection dog Max  (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)
Rachael and Bat and Bird carcass detection dog Max (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)

A typical search day on a wind farm usually starts pretty early. Ensuring the dogs are fully exercised, (thermos of coffee in hand), and driving to the windfarm before sunrise. If there are any bats, or birds, that have been struck by turbines, then there is potential for their carcasses to be scavenged by animals or insects. By getting to site early in a bid to beat some scavengers, it increases the chance to find carcasses. Not all handlers do this, but like I said. I’m passionate. And who needs sleep?! Right?

I tend to rotate the dogs on each turbine, so while one dog rests, the other one works. This ensures I’m not overworking them. They will always get their reward (tennis ball) during the search day if there were no carcasses to be found. I place out ‘sweeteners’ (a bat or bird carcass) that I take with me to site. It’s very important that the dogs enjoy what they do and stay switched on. The days are long and strenuous on both the handler and the dogs.

Bat and bird carcass detection dog Willow (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)
Bat and bird carcass detection dog Willow (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)

When the dog locates a bat or bird carcass then they will indicate this to me, usually by sitting or lying down, they will then wait for me to flag the find and reward them. Next, we have a good play stage before I collect the carcass, this is the only time they will get their tennis ball so it’s important that they enjoy their time with it. I then record all the information required by the clients for the struck bat/bird. This often includes photographs, GPS location, a fur sample (bats) and bagging the find and labelling it. The fur samples are for DNA testing to determine the species if not obvious from the photographs. If needed I’ll also record the wind speed and direction, and the bearing of the carcass from the turbine. This then builds up a picture for the client of what is being killed and where.

Once all the turbines have been surveyed, the dogs will have another walk out of harness to unwind. An often overlooked fragment to dog handing. Work is not exercise. We all need down time.

Another very important aspect of handling detection dogs is their training. I’m very conscious of my training efforts, as I like to cover all possibilities and eventualities. I try to recreate training scenarios and conditions so they mimic real life searches, as well as the condition of the actual scent sample being as close to what the dogs find. For example, fresh bat carcasses will not smell exactly the same as a carcass that has been left to sit and decay for a few days. Some are dried out with barely anything left of them, whilst others are wet and maggot infested. Covering all stages of decomposition in training maximises overall success whilst searching operationally. The dogs also participate in frequent external client testing to ensure they are efficient.

So why use dogs for conservation?

The Super Conservation team, Willow, Max and Stig (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)
The Super Conservation team, Willow, Max and Stig (Picture courtesy of Rachael at Paws for Conservation)

Dogs are non-invasive, more efficient and cover areas far more quickly than human search teams, thus saving time and money. They do not assume or discriminate like a human could, making them a very effective ‘tool’ in assisting with surveys.

Some of the finds my dogs have had over the years would have been near impossible for a human to see. I was also fortunate enough to have had a dog indicate on a live bat, struck by the turbine but that was lucky enough to survive. I carry a bat care box with me everywhere I go, and in that instance I passed the bat on to a local carer.

Going forward into next year, the plans so far include, GCN training, new animal species to research and hopefully train dogs to detect, as well as a new research project which will be a first for dogs in the UK. We’ve already witnessed the range of things that dogs can be used to detect. Carcasses, scats, live animals, roosts, and invasive plant species to name a few.

Finally, if any companies or ecologists out there think they may have a project that a dog could be useful for, then please don’t hesitate to contact me. rachael@pawsforconservation.co.uk

https://pawsforconservation.co.uk/


Top tips: Encouraging children to get outdoors.

Logo: Youth Adventure Trust

It’s no secret that spending time outdoors is good for your health, it’s great for your well being and is a real boost for your energy levels. But sometimes getting children outdoors to reap some of these rewards can be easier said than done. So, whether you work with them or have your own, the Youth Adventure Trust have put together some top tips for getting children and young people out enjoying the great outdoors:

girl with a muddy face (Youth Adventure Trust)
(Youth Adventure Trust)

Don’t underestimate the resilience young people have when they are doing something they want to be doing; you may find they are more weather proof than you think, can teach you a thing or two and may inspire you to take on a new challenge yourself.

The Youth Adventure Trust is a registered charity which works with vulnerable young people aged 11-15. Its specially designed Programme spans 3 school years and uses outdoor adventure to enable participants to build resilience, develop confidence and learn skills that will last a lifetime. You can find out more about their work and the volunteer roles available at www.youthadventuretrust.org.uk

New citizen science app will help restore UK sand dunes.

Logo: Dynamic Dunescapes

The Dynamic Dunescapes app makes it easier for volunteers to record data, and for site managers to build long-term environmental data sets across nationwide project

image of the front page of the dynamic dunes app
(Dynamic Dunes)

Environmental monitoring is an essential part of any conservation project. You want to know the health and distribution of the species you’re trying to support, and you need to know whether your actions are helping. The task of generating reliable long-term data sets, then, occupies one of the top spots on the to-do list.

But when that environmental monitoring takes place year-round at over 30 sites in England and Wales, from Cornwall to Cumbria, gathering this data doesn’t come without its challenges.

How do you ensure all the monitoring methods are standardised? Particularly in the coronavirus era when group sizes are limited, and surveying now must take the form of many small, socially-distanced volunteer citizen science sessions. At each survey site, how do you guarantee that volunteers set up transects at exactly the right position, time after time? With fixed point photography, how can you easily direct volunteers to the ‘fixed point’ post at which images need to be taken, without placing many signs over a large sand dune system? And after an often-long day recording observations, who collates the data at every site, from every volunteer, and creates a nationwide data set that can be analysed?

Activities page of the dynamic dunes app
(Dynamic Dunes)

For Dynamic Dunescapes, a large sand dune restoration project in England and Wales, the solution to these questions (and more) can now be downloaded to a smart phone. Coastal sand dunes are listed as the most threatened habitat in Europe in terms of biodiversity loss. In recent decades, these habitats which are healthiest when dynamic and contain areas of free-moving sand, have often become threatened by overstabilisation, invasive species and nutrient enrichment.

The new Dynamic Dunescapes app developed by UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology provides six activities for volunteers to monitor changes in dune systems - including their shape and size, vegetation and water table - over months and years.

It is free to download and connects sand dune ecologists and site managers with their volunteers and citizen scientists out in the field. It also connects the many regional sites in the project. Data can be recorded on a smartphone using the app whilst on the dunes and is added to a national digital database, creating a hub for all the project’s data, recorded on our many different patches of coast.

Far more than just a data entry tool, the app has been designed to support volunteers and citizen scientists. It contains detailed guides on how to complete a range of activities, from recording the changing profile of dune systems to mapping the different sand dune successional stages. Acting as a hand-held ID book, it also contains plant species identification guides to help when monitoring native and invasive species. Transect GPS coordinates are available to download for each sand dune system, to help volunteers find just the right spot for transect monitoring or where exactly to stand and to point the camera at fixed-point photography sites.

And of course, all of these features increase the reliability of data gathered, helping to paint a truer picture of what’s going on in these habitats, and supporting the work.

Dynamic Dunescapes is now calling on local teams and local volunteers to support the project in rolling the app in the field. There are many opportunities now for individuals and volunteer groups to connect with sand dune site managers and conservationists, to help establish more transects and data points for the app to use. Register to get involved, or download and explore the app here.

For more information about Dynamic Dunescapes find the project on social media @dynamicdunes, and keep up to date with events and volunteering opportunities by visiting dynamicdunescapes.co.uk and signing up to our email newsletter

Natural England, Plantlife, National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust and Cumbria Wildlife Trust are working in partnership to deliver this ambitious and innovative project, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the EU LIFE Programme.

 


 

Getting ahead in ecology: what many ecologists dont know they don’t know…

Logo: Career Ecologists

Ellie Benton-Best & Dr Kayleigh Fawcett Williams

Consultant ecologists face some unique challenges in progressing their careers. We have been exploring some of these challenges in our recent survey and the results are surprising. In this article, we share with you some of our findings.

How it all started

From conversations with friends and peers in a range of ecology roles we noticed patterns in the challenges faced to career progression. We wanted find out if this was unique to our circle or was universal within the sector. So, we set out to gather data (because we love data!) from a broad range of ecologists and employers/managers in the industry.

What we did

In 2019, we surveyed consultant ecologists in two groups. The first was for ecologists up to senior level. We asked them about their personal experiences of development and learning, as well as career progression. The second survey was completed by managers/employers in ecology. In this group were those responsible for teams, hiring, and budgets as well as their field work or specialism. We asked them specifically about hiring, the skills they most look for on their teams, and what they think is missing.

As you can imagine, the results were really fascinating and they gave us a great insight into what might be causing some of the issues we’ve noticed. These are the issues that can really get in the way of ecologists who are trying to grow their careers and could be stopping them from moving up to the next level or grade.

What we found

We had a great mix of respondents who work in organisations of all sizes – from individual contractors right up to people who work for the biggest multidisciplinary corporates. Of these, 78% said that career progression was on their mind at the moment. Unfortunately, 53% don’t think it is easy to progress.

Size of organisation data pie chart (Career Ecologists)

When we asked this group about how progression, promotion or opportunities do arise in their workplace, we heard answers around company structures and processes, and we also heard a lot of stories about the lack of transparency in companies, inconsistent ways of working and ‘the decisions being made by the higher ups’. What this suggests to us is that there are opportunities but that employees feel unable to decipher the ‘secret codes’ in order to get to where they really want to be.

It also came through loud and clear that people don’t understand what progression could mean for them. Another way of putting that is that people don’t see promotion as a good opportunity to carry on making a difference in and to the field of ecology. As people progressed, they saw experienced ecologists get caught up in the politics of an organisation, and lose the focus on the habitats and wildlife. For our respondents, this was a real deterrent to moving beyond their current grade – but we don’t think that it has to be this way.

When we asked what the barriers to promotion were, this trend and others started emerging:

Barriers to promotion pie chart (Career Ecologists)

Only 25% of this group thought that their skills were a barrier to promotion, followed by 38% who thought that their knowledge held them back. This didn’t really surprise us. Ecologists are generally passionate about their subject, love to learn and, in our experience, are diligent in keeping up with growing their technical knowledge and skills. So, if knowledge & skills aren’t the main issues, they think are holding them back, what are they?

Attributes (47%) or ‘Other’ reasons (50%) came up more often as what these ecologists saw as barriers to promotion. Comments in ‘other’ included cynicism about the way companies make decisions, through to awareness that what is needed to progress sometimes isn’t about ‘more knowledge of your topic’ but more awareness of how to do the business of doing business.

So, what do the ‘Bosses’ say?

One of the huge gaps that our second group, the managers/employers in ecology, told us about had a lot to do with non-technical skills. This backed up the data from our first group, affirming that it is generally less likely to be their technical knowledge and skills that are creating career stagnation. These non-technical (or non-ecology!) skills included things like business acumen, project management and communications skills.

Non technical skills required (Career Ecologists)

Conclusion

According to those leading ecology teams and making the key decisions around promotion, what contributes most to career progression and personal growth as an ecologist is a set of skills that have more to do with people and business than animals and habitat. However, the data shows that many ecologists place little-to-no value on these vital skills and their importance to progression is almost kept a secret. This we feel is the nub of the problem. There seems to a wide perception that these skills are either held or not held, rather than ones that can be taught and actively developed, just like learning anything new. And although some ecologists in larger organisations reported that this kind of training is available to them internally – a lot of them had not made the connection between soft skills and their own career development.

As a result of this data, our initial curiosity has now turned into a passion and desire to help people in Ecology develop and apply non-technical (also known as Soft Skills) in their every day roles, and create the growth and momentum to grow and progress in this amazing sector.

Are you being held back by some of these issues in your ecology career? Would you like to learn more about our findings and how we can use this data to enable you to progress further and faster in your ecology career? Join the Career Ecologists group on Facebook

 


Welsh Wildlife during lockdown - survey reveals how nature responded.

Logo: Snowdonia National Park
Cwm Idwal path looking towards the mountains (Ben Porter Photography)
Cwm Idwal path (Ben Porter Photography)

In Spring 2020 a so-called period of ‘anthropause’ led to reduced air and noise pollution in urban areas which enabled the sound of birdsong to permeate areas usually filled with the sound of traffic. Reports hit the headlines of goats descending from the Great Orme into the town of Llandudno and Harbour Porpoise swimming up the river Severn. Yet, how wildlife was responding was largely constrained to anecdotal records from the few able to be in these areas, including local farmers and land managers. Therefore before the lifting of lockdown measures in early July, Natural Resources Wales, the National Trust and the Snowdonia National Park Authority came together to contract a specialist to undertake surveys across seven sites, to assess exactly what was going on and how nature had responded to these unprecedented events. These surveys would serve as a baseline so that future repetition would allow comparisons to be made.

Ring Ouzel in Cwm Idwal (Ben Porter Photography)
Ring Ouzel in Cwm Idwal (Ben Porter Photography)

A total of seven different sites across Snowdonia and north Wales were chosen for these surveys. Four of these sites were the upland, mountainous areas of Yr Wyddfa, the Ogwen Valley, the Carneddau and Cader Idris; whilst three sites were the more wooded, lowland sites of Coed-y-Brenin, Coed Llenyrch and Niwbwrch (Newborough Warren). Within each of these large areas, a series of transect routes were chosen following main footpaths, along which a variety of surveys took place. Broadly, the surveys along these ‘transect’ routes included recording breeding birds, vegetation condition along pathways and at popular gathering points, mammal activity and litter abundance. Any other additional notes or sightings relevant to the study were also recorded, including insects, the presence of people and notes on grazing levels in some of the upland sites. For each of the surveys, a handheld GPS was carried to record the transect route and mark any useful waypoints, which enabled the later digitisation of the route and specific location for any rare or noteworthy sightings.

Herring Gull on Snowdon summit (Ben Porter Photography)
Herring Gull on Snowdon summit (Ben Porter Photography)

Naturalist Ben Porter carried out the surveys on ten days between 6th June and 26th June 2020 to cover the seven sites and enable more than one transect in some of the larger upland sites. The surveys were spread out across this period due to changeable weather conditions and the need for appropriate weather to survey the higher altitude, more mountainous areas.

A remarkable diversity of plants was recorded along usually well‐trodden paths – such as the mossy saxifrage, wild thyme and stagshorn clubmoss in abundance on the ascent from Cwm Idwal.

Mossy Saxifrage (Ben Porter Photography)
Mossy Saxifrage (Ben Porter Photography)

At all three of the lowland sites, nesting birds were found in places where they most likely would not have been in usual circumstances. Ringed plovers do nest on the beaches on and close to Llanddwyn Island regularly, but they have successfully reared good numbers of chicks this spring for the first time in many years, because lockdown left these normally busy beaches peculiarly quiet. In upland sites birds were found breeding on and near usually well‐trodden paths, where plants and wild flowers could now flourish. Less litter and picnic left‐overs meant fewer predator species – such as herring gulls and foxes ‐ which is likely to have given breeding birds a helping hand. Insect life was also in abundance, due to the warm weather as well as the lockdown conditions.

Logo: Natural Resources Wales
Logo: National Trust

Reflecting on the study, Ben Porter said: “It was an almost surreal experience to witness the absolute silence that pervaded the landscape in most of these sites, save for the sound of birdsong, trickling water and the odd bleating sheep or goat. One of the most obvious observations was the sheer abundance of species like meadow pipit and wheatear along the main pathways. Birds normally averse to the presence of people ‐ such as common sandpiper and ring ouzel ‐ were seen nesting close to paths too. Herring gulls were virtually absent from their usual nesting colony on Snowdon. They usually subsist on food waste from visitors, so lockdown probably impacted their ability to exist in the area this season.”

The intention is that the same surveys will be carried out again at the same time of year in 2021 in order to compare results.

Angela Jones, Partnerships Manager, Snowdonia National Park Authority and Ben Porter, Naturalist and Photographer https://www.benporterwildlife.co.uk/

Read the full report: https://www.snowdonia.gov.wales/authority/wildlife-in-lockdown

Watch Ben Porter’s ‘Lockdown wildlife’ slideshow on YouTube


 

Surrey Countryside Partnerships - for healthy habitats & people participation.

By Debbie Hescott, Partnership Development Officer

Logo: Surrey Countryside Partnerships

The Surrey Countryside Partnerships (SCP) provides a countryside management partnership service and has over 35 years of experience, working with the vital support of volunteers, within and for local communities. The SCP team maintain and restore local beautiful countryside areas and their habitats for biodiversity, wildlife, public access and enjoyment by all.

Heathland in bloom at Sheets Heath SSSI in Woking, Surrey (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)
Heathland in bloom at Sheets Heath SSSI in Woking, Surrey (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)

Our main areas of working span North, Northeast and West Surrey and the neighbouring urban fringe areas of Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Bromley. The SCP service is hosted and core funded by Surrey County Council, in partnership with eleven borough and district council core funding partners. The other main funding partners include John Whitgift Foundation, as well as two dedicated, independent, registered charity partners, the Downlands Trust and Lower Mole Countryside Trust.

SCP comprises three partnerships, Lower Mole (principally woodland management), Downlands (principally rare chalk grassland management) and Surrey Heathland (rare heathland management). Our service carries out seasonal, targeted habitat work including scrub clearance, invasive species control, pond maintenance and traditional coppicing to manage and open up local countryside sites, large and small, to increase and support biodiversity and to improve access. We are proactively helping to address the decline in Surrey’s nature - refer Surrey Nature Partnership’s the State of Surrey’s Nature report 2017.

Downlands Partnership sheep grazing during winter at Old Lodge Farm, Carshalton (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)
Downlands Partnership sheep grazing during winter at Old Lodge Farm, Carshalton (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)

There has been a 56% decrease in woodland butterflies since 1990 and ancient woodland flora species have declined by 34% in the last 20 years; 30% of declining species are those of wetlands. During 2019-20, the Lower Moles completed 1.5ha of woodland management, involving coppicing and ride management. Most recently the Lower Moles co-ordinated a fantastic partnership project to complete new wetland and bank regrading works along the Rye Brook in Kestrel Field, Ashtead, Surrey. The scheme was designed by the River Mole Catchment Partnership as part of the Rye to Good Project, which aims to move the Rye Brook to Good Potential as a watercourse. The completed scheme encourages the river to meander and allows it to flood into the new wetland, creating habitat for aquatic fauna and flora. The regraded banks have a lower gradient and the Rye is once again a dynamic part of the natural landscape.

Chalk grassland is notably one of our most beautiful and richest wildlife habitats, with over 50 kinds of plant species often found in a square metre. These plants in turn support a rich and varied wildlife and the habitat comes alive during the early summer months with orchids and butterflies. The North Downs was once covered in flower-rich chalk grassland; much of it has now been lost and only around 1% now survives on the Surrey Hills, so it is very important that we continue to help this special habitat to thrive. Downlands Partnership is a chalk grassland conservation champion! During 2019-20, 191ha of rare chalk grassland was restored/managed by clearing scrub and grazing; volunteers’ tree popped scrub, brushcut grasslands and forked up invasive species. All great green workouts!

Downlands Partnership provides a conservation grazing service with its own flock of sheep (native hardy breeds including Beulah Speckled Face), British Feral goats and Sussex cattle. The animals help to control the growth of the coarse vegetation on the chalk grassland sites, which in turn allows the beautiful wildflowers to grow and butterflies to brood. The conservation grazing service is based at a 90-acre farm in Carshalton; it is supported by over 100 voluntary livestock checkers that help to look after our animals grazing across the Partnership area, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. These volunteers contribute a significant number of volunteer hours per year, notably 4,595 hours for 2019-20; the livestock were very busy too, contributing 1,766,000 hours of grazing!

Downlands Partnership volunteer clearing scrub at Addington Hills, Croydon (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)
Downlands Partnership volunteer clearing scrub at Addington Hills, Croydon (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)

The Surrey Heathland Partnership works as a contract supervisor and specialist advisor for its partners, managing 740ha of heathland through clearance and grazing, to ensure this habitat is not shaded out or lost. Heathland is a rare habitat with 85% of Surrey’s lost in the last 200 years, leading to a severe loss of biodiversity. Surrey is one of only three counties in the British Isles which support all of the native heathland reptiles and amphibians, including the rare and specially protected sand lizard and Natterjack toad. Surrey heathland also supports internationally important numbers of three ground-nesting bird species, the nightjar, woodlark and Dartford warbler. Along with contiguous heathland in Hampshire and Berkshire, heathland in this part of Surrey amounts to approximately two thirds (about 2,000 hectares) of the county's surviving heathland.

During 2019-20, our SCP service worked on over 100 different sites and provided task days/events on 336 days, so almost every day of the year… we a very busy small team!

The support of our countryside volunteers is imperative to our service delivery and during 2019-20 a total of 19,411 volunteer hours was achieved with the Downlands and Lower Mole Partnerships, equivalent to 12.5 full time staff. The recognised wide-ranging mental and physical health and well-being benefits of being in the great outdoors has been highlighted even more so in recent times during the Covid-19 pandemic, as greenspaces have provided places for much needed escapism and exploration for us all.

The SCP primary volunteer sector is over 60s, as the majority of our tasks are held during the week, but once we can welcome volunteers out on task with us again (we all hope very soon), we are looking to develop our green social prescribing offer and hope to welcome more unemployed and young people to volunteer with our service, looking to further link in with the #PowerofYouth and #iwillfornature campaigns.

Countryside volunteering with us is great for health, happiness and habitat, summed up perfectly recently by Bill, one of our Lower Mole Partnership volunteers:

“It's not so much how good volunteering is as how awful not volunteering is. I've done a bit with a different group, but it's not quite the same. I miss the people and their terrible jokes. I miss the tea made with water from the Kelly or Volcano kettle (not now, unfortunately). I miss coming home to beer and food and a good sleep, knowing that I've done something I couldn't have done if Lower Mole didn't exist.”

Some of the Lower Mole Partnership conservation crew (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)
Some of the Lower Mole Partnership conservation crew (Surrey Countryside Partnerships)

We also provide internship and training placements, supporting people in their countryside careers, as well as bespoke environmental education and conservation volunteering sessions for schools, community and corporate groups. Our countryside volunteering offer helps companies to deliver their Employer Supported Volunteering schemes and to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility targets.

Our charity partners, Downlands Trust and Lower Mole Countryside Trust are both run by small boards of dedicated voluntary trustees. Both trusts provide essential financial and profile-raising support for the SCP countryside management service. SCP staff work closely with both trusts on fundraising initiatives and membership recruitment. We are working together to improve the future financial sustainability of our established service in these difficult financial times and would welcome interest from any new funding partners that might like to get involved.

We work collaboratively to increase public awareness, encourage further voluntary and community involvement and are building county-wide corporate support for our countryside management work. We are passionate about helping all ages to learn and understand about the importance of caring for and respecting the countryside and rare habitats and all the amazing flora and fauna; underlining the need to ensure there is a healthy balance of biodiversity and access.

To find out more and to subscribe to our e-newsletter, please visit: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/surreycountrysidepartnerships

Twitter: Follow us @ExploreSurreyUK and @Downygrazers

Facebook: Downlands Partnership / Downlands Partnership: Grazing / Lower Mole Partnership


 

When the world stopped, nature was there for us.

Logo: TCV - The Conservation Volunteers
TCV Selly Oak Green Gym Birmingham Health for Life volunteer making a gate (TCV)
TCV Selly Oak Green Gym Birmingham Health for Life volunteer making a gate (TCV)

2019 was dominated by discussions and action around the ongoing Climate Crisis, with Oxford Languages coining it as its word of the year. Globally, we recognised that the natural environment needed our help it if was to survive.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new word entered our global language: lockdown. Countries around the world went into some form of restricted living to protect themselves from the novel virus, and 9 months later we still find ourselves with some of these restrictions in place as we begin to understand the implications and dangers of the virus.

Back in June, The Conservation Volunteers looked at the ways in which our natural environment may be impacted by COVID-19. Our volunteering sessions had been suspended, yet some of our TCV staff still carried on maintaining and caring for the green spaces (following social distancing rules) where so many of us found solace during lockdown.

73% of TCV volunteers who took part in our survey during this period said that their value of green spaces increased during lockdown and 88% believed that green spaces will be valued by more people as a result. While we may have temporarily suspending our volunteering sessions during the initial lockdown, our volunteers and people in their community began using their local green spaces more than they had before, and were noticing the impact that having safe and accessible green spaces means to an area.

It wasn’t just us who noticed this. Back in April, Channel Four interviewed people at East London’s Victoria Park to discuss how the COVID-19 crisis was changing our relationship with the public spaces around us. As our own worlds became smaller, we began to take notice of the areas we live in, engage more with our communities, and realise that these green spaces should not be taken for granted.

From March, we suspended our volunteering sessions across the UK in line with Government restrictions. We realised that whilst the green spaces were still there for our volunteers to enjoy, it was the social aspect of volunteering that they missed the most.

One volunteer told us: “I would like to get back to volunteering, being out and about with other like-minded people is such a joy that I really miss.” 72% of volunteers said that their social connectedness had got worse during lockdown.

Interestingly, 64% of volunteers said that their value of community had increased. So, while we were becoming more physically distant from each other, our communities were becoming more close-knit than ever before.

TCV Glasgow Toon Beach Scotland Counts (Kirsty Crawford)
TCV Glasgow Toon Beach Scotland Counts (Kirsty Crawford)

At TCV, our teams in Belfast repurposed their TCV vans to deliver food parcels to the most vulnerable members of their community, one of our volunteers in Scotland dressed up as the Easter Bunny and delivered Easter eggs to the local children, and our volunteer groups went digital by creating WhatsApp and Facebook groups to stay in touch and share their latest gardening tips.

We are social creatures by nature, and being socially distant has not been easy. Unsurprisingly people’s mental health has suffered since the outbreak of the pandemic. During lockdown, 32% of surveyed TCV volunteers reported that their mental health had become worse.

Having access to safe and accessible green spaces can improve mental health alongside physical health. We know that volunteering and exercising outdoors on projects with a purpose and with a social group has positive mental health outcomes, but we also know that even being near a green space can have a positive effect. At TCV, we have kept engaging with our volunteers and supporters and encouraged them to make the most of their green spaces.

The new normal?

TCV Waltham Forest Great British September Clean Up (Keep Britain Tidy)
TCV Waltham Forest Great British September Clean Up (Keep Britain Tidy)

As lockdown rules continue to change, we have been able to resume volunteering while following the Government’s social distancing guidelines. For so many of our volunteers, working with TCV is a chance to interact not only with nature, but with other likeminded people.

As a global community, we are all adjusting to a new normal. For many of us, our new normal is more locally focused. Going for walks, bike rides, hikes are now something we do every weekend, not just when the weather is nice. We are taking notice of our local areas in a way we have not done before, now that there are restrictions on travel. We are making the most of our local green spaces that perhaps we previously only drove past on our way to work.

This year, nature has provided us with space to escape, space to unwind and space to reflect on the events of 2020 and will continue to do so for many years. Things that we have previously taken for granted have been restricted or suspended throughout the year, and with the ongoing climate crisis, we all must play a part in ensuring that we do not take nature and the environment for granted too.

At TCV, we are more committed than ever to support communities to protect their local green spaces. We truly believe in the power of nature and the positive impact of accessible green spaces to improve physical and mental health and bring people together.

 

 

 


CJS Focus CJS Focus developments and an early call for adverts.

 

In 2021 CJS Focus will become more career orientated and the most popular edition each year is the one on volunteering. So that's where we're starting again with CJS on Volunteering and the second edition in 2021 will look at careers in ecology and is due for publication in September.

 

logo: Parks Communitylogo: National Federation of Parks and Green SpacesBefore we put ouselves in self-isolation in preparation for our Covid-safe Christmas Bubbles (why didn't the Government call them Baubles?) we'd like to remind you that the first edition of CJS Focus after the lockdown break is CJS Focus on Volunteering due for publication on 22 February in association with the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces (NFPGS) with Parks Community UK.

 The deadline for advertising is 13 February but we're accepting adverts now.

 

 

 

 


News.

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

 

Click on the headline to read more.

 

New national parks and thousands of green jobs under plans to build back greener - Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street

The new measures are part of the government's 25 Year Environment Plan.

Even more new jobs will be created and retained under new plans to kickstart a green economic recovery, the government announced today (Sunday 15 November), alongside greater protections for England’s iconic landscapes and the creation of new national parks.

Following the initial success of the first round, £40 million additional investment into the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund will go towards creating and retaining thousands of jobs, with funding being awarded to environmental charities and partners across England to restore the natural environment and help make progress on the UK’s ongoing work to address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, as part of our green recovery from Covid-19.

After a competitive process, a wide range of projects to be announced shortly will receive funding to enhance our natural environment and create and support thousands of jobs. These may include action towards the creation or restoration of priority habitats, preventing or cleaning up pollution, woodland creation, peatland and wetland restoration and actions to help people connect with nature. This will in turn create and retain a range of skilled and unskilled jobs, such as ecologists, project managers, tree planters and teams to carry out nature restoration.

In response

New nature funding welcome but must be the start of sustained investment - Wildlife & Countryside Link

Wildlife and Countryside Link has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of a further £40m in funding for the Green Recovery Challenge Fund and work to extend National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty and deliver 10 “Landscape Recovery” projects. The coalition has said this should be part of substantial and sustained investment in nature's recovery.

Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: "We welcome this positive decision to add a further £40m to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. Many of the natural marvels that have helped sustain so many people during coronavirus are at risk of being lost forever, and substantial and sustained investment will be needed to restore nature for future generations. This is a good indication that Government is taking the challenge seriously. We also welcome the promise of new designated landscapes. The real challenge for making the 30% commitment meaningful, however, is about the quality of protection and not just its extent. Government should undertake to designate and restore the last pockets of natural habitat wherever they can be found, not just in a few flagship parks. It must also reform the way National Parks and AONBs are managed to ensure they play their part in nature’s recovery."

 

PM outlines his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution for 250,000 jobs - Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlines his Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution for 250,000 jobs.

The Prime Minister today sets out his ambitious ten point plan for a green industrial revolution which will create and support up to 250,000 British jobs.

Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies, the Prime Minister’s blueprint will allow the UK to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050, particularly crucial in the run up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.

The plan – which is part of the PM’s mission to level up across the country - will mobilise £12 billion of government investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK, and spur over three times as much private sector investment by 2030.

At the centre of his blueprint are the UK’s industrial heartlands, including in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, Scotland and Wales, which will drive forward the green industrial revolution and build green jobs and industries of the future.

The Prime Minister’s ten points, which are built around the UK’s strengths, are:

Comment from National Trust in response to Government's Ten Point Plan for Green Industrial Revolution for 250,000 jobs - National Trust

We respond to the Government's Ten Point Plan for Green Industrial Revolution for 250,000 jobs - 18 November 2020

Hilary McGrady, Director General at the National Trust said: “The National Trust and many others have called for a green recovery and for the Government to act urgently on the climate and nature crises. This new plan is a fantastic platform on which to build towards the UN climate conference that the UK will host in 2021. But technology alone can’t cut emissions and restore nature. The Government will need to follow this up with an ambitious pledge to cut emissions by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement. Nature can play a starring role in the effort to get to net zero emissions and it can also provide a huge source of improved wellbeing and refreshment that millions of people are craving. New infrastructure, which the plan relies heavily upon, will have impacts on landscapes and nature and cannot come at the cost of our wildlife or heritage. 22 per cent of the UK’s housing stock was built before 1920 so measures to increase energy efficiency will need to be sensitive to listed or historic buildings and keep hold of the embodied carbon they hold.”

Ten Point Plan: a good starting point for a green recovery but a more systemic approach is needed - Aldersgate Group

Reacting to the Government’s Ten Point Plan, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: "The Prime Minister is absolutely right that aligning the UK’s economic recovery strategy can create a significant number of jobs and bring much needed investment to parts of the UK in urgent need of economic opportunities. The Ten Point Plan commitment to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 will send a decisive market signal and we welcome the commitments to extend the Green Homes Grant by a year and the increased ambition around hydrogen and carbon capture." Nick Molho added: "However, to put the UK economy on a credible pathway for net zero emissions, the Prime Minister must embed the net zero target across all government departments and address the lack of long-term policy commitments that is still holding back progress in some parts of the economy. For example, the Ten Point Plan doesn't address the lack of regulatory drivers in buildings that is currently hampering private investment in energy efficiency and low carbon heat, and it does not recognise the urgent need to set up a well-capitalised national investment bank to grow investment in complex low carbon technologies. For the UK’s domestic policy commitments to be effective, the Government must also not lose sight of the fact that any future trade agreements must be fully supportive and consistent with the net zero target.”

Green Industrial Revolution must tackle climate and nature crises together - Wildlife and Countryside Link

In response to the Prime Minister’s 10 point Green Industrial Revolution plan, Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “The PM has shown welcome progress toward a Green Britain in these plans, with the early phase out of petrol and diesel cars particularly ambitious. Many of these measures will bring technological innovation and climate action at the same time as creating much needed jobs and investment. But to amount to a Green Industrial Revolution, or even a green recovery, the Government must tackle the twin crises of climate change and ecological decline together. Many thousands of jobs could be created in moving toward a nature-positive economy. £40m of investment announced at the weekend was helpful, but it does not amount to a Green Industrial Revolution for nature. Cleaning up our waters, greening up development, linking up and restoring our fragmented and failing natural world, can simultaneously provide boosts for our climate, wildlife and people’s health. Restoring nature is a crucial part of the climate change jigsaw which needs substantial and sustained investment if we are to hit Net Zero targets.”

 

£80 million fund for green jobs and new national parks to kick start green recovery - Defra

The new measures are part of the Prime Minister's 10 Point Plan to help kickstart the nation’s green recovery.

Doubling the funding for the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to create and retain thousands of green jobs across England

New national parks and greater protections for England’s iconic landscapes to improve access to nature and better protect the country’s rich wildlife and biodiversity

Chairs of England’s three environmental bodies welcome measures set out by the Prime Minister

Plans to help kickstart the nation’s green recovery have been unveiled today (18 November), including the expansion of protected landscapes, increased access to nature, stronger flood resilience, and the creation and retention of thousands of green jobs.

The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan also confirms new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be created, as well as 10 Landscape Recovery projects. These initiatives take us closer to protecting 30% of UK land by 2030, extending protections by 1.5% in England towards our goal of an additional area of over 400,000ha and restoring the equivalent of over 30,000 football pitches of wildlife rich habitat.

In 2021 government will start the formal process of designation of the new National Parks and AONBs which will involve identifying the best candidates. This will look at how new sites contribute to our wider goals for nature, beauty, heritage and people.

A new £40 million additional investment into the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund has also been confirmed for creating and retaining thousands of green jobs in areas including tree planting, environmental education and the restoration of damaged habitats, such as peatlands and wetlands. The successful projects from the first funding round will be announced in the coming weeks.

£5.2 billion for flood defences will also help the country adapt to a changing climate, with an increased focus on nature-based solutions highlighted in the recent flood strategy.

 

 

Government Policy and Announcements 

Three stories this month provoking a lot of response, first the publication of the Scottish government's repsonse to the Werrity report

Werritty Report response - The Scottish Government

Additional measures to protect birds of prey.

Grouse shooting businesses in Scotland will need to be licensed to operate under new proposals to tackle raptor persecution.

Muirburn will also only be permitted under licence, in order to protect wildlife and habitats, regardless of the time of year it is undertaken and whether or not it is for grouse moor management or improving grazing.

There will also be a statutory ban on burning on peatland, except under licence for strictly limited purposes, such as approved habitat restoration projects.

The Scottish Government will work with all stakeholders to produce guidance on best management practices for the use of medicated grit, and convene an expert group to study how best to monitor compliance with the a new code of practice.

The plans are part of a range of measures set out in response to the recommendations of the Grouse Moor Management Group, an independent group tasked by the Scottish Government with assessing the environmental impact of grouse moor management.

The Minister’s parliamentary statement is available on the Scottish Government website.

The full response to the independent report is also available.

There are lots of responses to the Werrity Report.

From The Scottish Gamekeepers Association: In response to the announcement in Scottish Parliament that Scottish Government will introduce a licensing system for grouse shoots in Scotland -

Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman Alex Hogg, MBE, said: “This decision will anger our community. It will not be easily forgotten. Our members have effectively had targets painted on their backs, today.  Our responsibility now is protect them from spurious claims sure to come their way from those seeking to end grouse shooting in Scotland and to have licences taken away.  Ironically, those who lobbied so hard for licensing have no interest in seeing it being a success. For them, this was always a vehicle to agitate for a full ban. Scottish Parliament legislators should not be naive in thinking otherwise. I am angry beyond expression at the way a community of working people is being treated today in this country and the strain they and their families are constantly having to face as they cope with never-ending scrutiny and inquiry driven by elite charities with big influence over politicians and axes to grind against a people who produce so much for Scotland yet ask little back.If we are not to lose an important element of Scottish rural life, gamekeepers require some substantive recognition from Parliament for the many benefits they deliver and not the endless battering they perpetually experience.”

Scottish Wildlife Trust welcomes action on driven grouse shooting -

The Scottish Wildlife Trust has welcomed the Scottish Government’s response to the independent Grouse Moor Management Group’s report (the ‘Werritty Review’), set out today in the Scottish Parliament by Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon MSP.

Jo Pike, Chief Executive of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said: “We’re delighted that the Scottish Government has announced it will act to ensure that driven grouse shooting is managed in a way that delivers better outcomes for our climate and for biodiversity. We believe introducing a licensing scheme will support efforts to tackle raptor persecution in Scotland. Everyone with an interest in the country’s uplands is agreed that this serious crime must be stamped out. We also welcome a ban on muirburn to protect peatlands, and further controls on the use of medicated grit. The Scottish Government, conservationists and land managers can work together to ensure the approach taken to licensing is practical, and that it delivers meaningful progress towards tackling climate change and protecting Scotland’s wildlife.”

Statement from GWCT Scotland on Scottish Government announcement on Grouse Moor Management Report -

Adam Smith, Director of Policy, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust in Scotland, comments on the Scottish Government’s announcement on its Review of Grouse Moor Management:“The Scottish Government’s announcement today on its Review of Grouse Moor Management shows that it has chosen to constrain land management rather than support it with practical options. That is despite the advice of that review concluding that the disadvantages of licensing far outweighed the advantages, and it’s easy to see why the independent review group was so cautious about licensing. They recommended that licensing be held in reserve and implemented in five years’ time only if other reasonable conservation management options were not acted on.

Further information and an explanation can be found in this blog

By Andrew Gilruth, GWCT Director of Communications: Grouse moor licensing – Scotland abandons its own findings

When it came to finding solutions to wildlife conflict, Scotland has been a world leader – until now. It was home to the most ambitious large-scale moorland raptor trials in the world. However, lessons learnt have not been developed and Scotland now plans to license grouse moors in the hope that this will somehow end the conflict between raptors and grouse shooting.

In doing so it has bypassed both the recommendations of the expert group it commissioned to investigate licensing, and the 20 years of trials on Langholm Moor – which it helped fund. Suggestions that there will be further constraints on muirburn also fly in the face of the available evidence.

RSPB Scotland responds to Scottish Government statement on Independent Review of Grouse Moor Management -

RSPB Scotland welcomes Scottish Government’s announcement proposing the introduction of measures as soon as possible to license grouse shooting.

RSPB Scotland today welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement proposing the introduction of measures as soon as possible to license grouse shooting and to promote legal and environmentally beneficial land management practices associated with this industry.

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “While we commend the work of both the current Government at Holyrood and that of its predecessors in trying to tackle the illegal killing of raptors on grouse moors, 21 years of piecemeal changes to wildlife protection laws so far have unfortunately not been enough to halt this practice. We face twin crises in nature and climate that threaten human health and wellbeing and the survival of many species across the planet. Ensuring that land is managed to protect and restore nature is essential to delivering a Green Recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic and fulfilling Scotland’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2045. The Werritty Review was prompted by commissioned peer-reviewed research which showed that a significant proportion of satellite tagged golden eagles were going missing in illegal or suspicious circumstances, almost exclusively on areas intensively managed for driven grouse shooting. We believe that what has been announced today is supported by an overwhelming weight of evidence and is entirely proportionate. We are keen to work with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders to quickly bring about an effective licensing system, to help address the nature and climate crises, to encourage sustainable management of our uplands and to consign raptor persecution to the history books.”

 

New grants and subsisdies for farmers to replace CAP

Government unveils path to sustainable farming from 2021 - Defra

Roadmap to better, fairer farming system published today (30 November)

Plans to deliver a better, fairer farming system in England have been set out by government today. They will transform the way we support farmers, in the most significant change to farming and land management in 50 years.

The roadmap outlines changes that will come into force over a period of seven years to help farmers adapt and plan for the future. Outside the EU and no longer bound by the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy, the plans set out how government plans to introduce a new system that is tailored in the interests of English farmers, centred on support that rewards farmers and land managers for sustainable farming practices.

The changes will be designed to ensure that by 2028, farmers in England can sustainably produce healthy food profitably without subsidy, whilst taking steps to improve the environment, improve animal health and welfare and reduce carbon emissions.

Next year marks the start of the transition where we will begin to move away from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) towards new policies that will be co-designed and tested together with farmers, land managers and experts, to ensure that the new systems work for them.

The government remains committed to its manifesto commitment to guarantee the current annual budget for every year of this Parliament.

The ‘Path to Sustainable Farming’ document, published today, sets out more detail on the changes we are going to make, and what they will mean for farmers.

NFU responds to Defra's agricultural transition roadmap -

The government has unveiled its roadmap which outlines the changes that will come into force over a period of seven years in order to help farmers adapt and plan for the future.

The Path to Sustainable Farming sets out in more detail the changes the government are going to make, and what they will mean in practice for farmers.

Responding to the publication of Defra’s agricultural transition roadmap, NFU President Minette Batters said: “Defra has embraced many of the industry’s ideas for sustainable farming and food production in designing this new agricultural policy for England. Farming is changing and we look forward to working with Ministers and officials to co-create the schemes that will help farmers to improve productivity and animal welfare, encourage innovation and realise our ambition to produce increasingly climate-friendly food. However, the rate at which direct support reductions will take place, which we understand will not be applied in other parts of the UK, leaves English farmers with significant questions. These payments have been a lifeline for many farmers especially when prices or growing conditions have been volatile and will be very difficult to replace in the first four years of this transition. Can Ministers be sure that new schemes will be available at scale to deliver redirected BPS payments?”

“Take livestock farmers for example, who we project will have lost between 60% and 80% of their income by 2024 as a result of these reductions. What changes will Defra make to ensure that the new Environmental Land Management schemes offer rewards that provide a genuine income for their businesses while maintaining food production? These are the questions Defra needs to answer urgently, for every farming sector and every part of the country.”

New Government farming announcement will frustrate farmers and fail to help nature fast enough - The Wildlife Trusts

Today the Government announces its Agricultural Transition Plan following the Agriculture Act gaining royal assent. The Act was heralded as a new start to move away from the widely condemned EU-wide Common Agricultural Policy.

We hoped this announcement would bring rapid, positive changes for our natural world and for tackling the climate crisis as agriculture makes up 70% of land use. However, we are concerned that the announcement appears instead to promise yet more years of discussion.

Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts says: “We are deeply worried that the pilot schemes, which make up much of the Government announcement simply cannot deliver the promise that nature will be in a better state. The announcement will frustrate farmers and every single one of us who is fed-up with the steep wildlife declines that are reported with such agonising regularity. Four years on from the EU referendum, we still lack the detail and clarity on how farm funding will benefit the public. This is desperately needed so farm businesses can plan and, just as vitally, so that nature’s recovery can be planned alongside their work. The existing Countryside Stewardship schemes, which we would encourage all land managers to consider, have not been enough to reverse nature’s decline.”

 

and the third story: Marine Protection Areas designated

Safeguarding Scotland’s marine environment - Scottish Government

New sites to offer protection for iconic species.

Minke whale, basking sharks and Risso’s dolphins will be among a wide range of biodiversity and geological features to be safeguarded following the designation of four new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

A further 12 sites have been given Special Protection Area status, providing additional protection to Scotland’s vulnerable marine birds including sea ducks, divers, grebes and our iconic seabirds.

A total of 230 sites are now subject to marine protection measures, covering around 227,622 square kilometres - 37% - of Scotland’s seas.

The West of Scotland MPA, Europe’s largest Marine Protected Area, was designated in September and is regarded by the Convention on Biological Diversity as “internationally significant”.

Natural Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “It is our duty to help protect and enhance our marine environment so that it remains a prized asset for future generations. These designations continue Scotland’s commitment to lead by example on environmental protection. Not only are our seas fundamental to our way of life, they provide habitats for a hugely diverse range of marine wildlife and it is vital that we ensure appropriate protection for them. Scotland’s waters are home to many unique species and these designations ensure our MPA network is fully representative of our marine diversity, exceeding the proposed international target to achieve 30% of global MPA coverage by 2030. Protecting Scotland’s marine environment is also crucial for supporting the sustainable recovery of our marine industries and these designations will form a key element of our Blue Economy Action Plan.”

RSPB Scotland welcomes seabird safe havens, but questions why Orkney sites are missing - RSPB

Puffins, terns, eiders and long-tailed ducks are among the wildlife that stands to get a boost from legal protection announced today

The long-awaited declaration of ‘Special Protection Areas’ (SPAs) will safeguard some of the places that hundreds of thousands of birds rely on for food and shelter in Scotland’s seas.

The announcement comes after extensive scientific scrutiny and consultation where the proposals received wide public support. However, RSPB Scotland has raised concerns over proposed areas in Orkney that are missing from the Scottish Government’s statement despite meeting the criteria for selection.

The Firth of Forth, and the seas around the remote islands of St Kilda and Foula are among the special areas of Scotland’s coast and seas selected for supporting internationally significant numbers of birds. However, Scapa Flow and the waters north of Orkney Mainland both recommended on the basis of scientific evidence as hotspots for wintering seaducks, divers and grebes have been held back.

The Scottish Government is required by law to select the most important places for birds on land and sea for special protection. Until now only breeding colonies on land and the coastal waters near them had been given the SPA status. Today’s announcement is the first time in Scotland that areas known to be important for birds searching for food have received this type of protection. The new legal status means that any future development and activity capable of damaging the areas must now be strictly controlled.

Iconic species protected by marine designations - NatureScot

Shags ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot
Shags ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot

NatureScot has today welcomed the designation of 12 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and four Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scotland’s seas.

The announcement made by Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon gives additional protection to much-loved marine species including basking shark, minke whale and Risso’s dolphin as well as 31 species of marine birds such as great northern diver, Slavonian grebe, long-tailed duck, Arctic tern and kittiwake, bringing the coverage of the Scottish MPA network to 37%.

Eileen Stuart, NatureScot’s Interim Director of Nature and Climate Change, said: “The designation of these new sites sees some of our most iconic marine species - such as basking shark, minke whale and Risso’s dolphin included in the MPA network as well as foraging areas for internationally important populations of seabirds, divers and sea ducks. The Scottish MPA network now covers 37% of our seas, marking significant progress towards meeting global ambitions for marine conservation and ensuring a nature-rich future for Scotland, as well as offering locations where people can engage with and experience world-class wildlife. We are committed to working with others to ensure the MPA network and our wider seas are well-managed and monitored so that they can contribute to addressing the decline in nature, and help build resilience in the face of climate change.”

125,000 seabirds to benefit from expansion of protected site - Natural England

Expansion of Solway Firth site boosts England’s network of Marine Protected Areas

The UK government has today boosted the country’s ‘Blue Belt’, England’s network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), by announcing the expansion of the Solway Firth protected site.

Over 125,000 seabirds will benefit from the expansion of this site, with red-throated diver and ringed plover joining the extensive list of species already protected. This will also encourage population growths for important species such as wintering divers and gulls.

The protected area in Solway Firth sits in both English and Scottish waters and today will be expanded in total by 92,070 hectares, becoming an impressive 135,750 hectares in size. The devolved administration in Scotland also announced a similar expansion in its waters today, as well as several other MPAs.

The expansion of the Solway Firth site follows work undertaken by Nature Scot and Natural England to provide scientific advice and conduct public consultation on the introduction of further protections.

It will provide clarity on where boundaries of important foraging areas for protected seabird species are and offers the opportunity to adopt additional management measures if required, which may include byelaws to manage commercial fishing or the zoning of recreational activities such as water sports.

 

Other announcements

Prospect launches second State of Natural England report - Prospect

Infographic Since its formation in 2006, Natural England's programme expenditure has dropped by £30m Image: Prospect
Image: Prospect

A decade of austerity with pay cuts, budget cuts, cuts to grants and a decline in staff numbers is putting England’s natural heritage at risk.

That is the finding of the second report by Prospect into the State of Natural England which shows that the agency does not have the resources it needs to continue to adequately fulfil its responsibilities. The first report was published in 2019.

Over the past two years Prospect, the main union for workers in Natural England, has spoken to its members about their experiences at work, analysed budgets and grants, and assessed programmes. What we have found is an agency getting beyond crisis point.

Natural England is the body responsible for maintaining and protecting England’s natural environment. It is responsible for: protected sites such as national parks and Sites of Special Scientific Interest; countryside stewardship, helping farmers and landowners enhance the biodiversity of their lands; planning and development policy; the marine environment; ramblers’ favourites like the England Coast Path, and many more things which make our natural heritage what it is.

Natural England is at risk because its funding has been slashed and its workforce reduced. Natural England’s government-funded Grant in Aid budget has declined by 49% in six years and almost two-thirds over a decade. Over that time the agency has gone from more than 2,500 staff in 2010 to, we estimate, around 1,900 staff now.

Workers in Natural England were subject to a 1% pay cap for eight years. This has improved this year but the increase comes nowhere close making up for the real-terms losses of the past decade. There is also an 8.4% gender pay gap which shows little sign of being reduced.

This is the reality of government austerity and its effect on agency staff – highly qualified workers facing financial hardship, increased workloads, loss of pension accrual, terrible morale and looking to move elsewhere for a better deal. Successive ministers have made things worse by undermining and attacking the independence of the work of agency experts.

Download the full report.

 

Government sets out world-leading new measures to protect rainforests - Defra

Legislation will make it illegal for larger businesses to use products unless they comply with local laws to protect natural areas.

The UK will go further than ever before to clamp down on illegal deforestation and protect rainforests, the government has confirmed today, thanks to world-leading new laws being introduced through the landmark Environment Bill (11 November).

The move coincides with the publication of a new report setting out government’s approach to tackling deforestation linked to UK demand for products such as cocoa, rubber, soya, and palm oil. The report responds to the recommendations from the independent Global Resource Initiative Taskforce, which consulted over 200 leading businesses and organisations.

Combined, the package of measures will ensure that greater resilience, traceability and sustainability are built into the UK’s supply chains by working in partnership with other countries and supporting farmers to transition to more sustainable food and land use systems.

There were more than 60,000 responses to the government’s consultation, with 99% in favour of legislating on this critical issue.

One of the leading new measures is the introduction of a new law in the Environment Bill which will require greater due diligence from businesses, and make it illegal for UK businesses to use key commodities if they have not been produced in line with local laws protecting forests and other natural ecosystems.

80% of deforestation is linked to the expansion of agriculture, with land being cleared to make way for grazing animals and to grow crops. The UK imports over half of the food it consumes, and while in global terms the UK is a relatively small consumer of forest risk commodities such as cocoa, rubber, soya, and palm oil, we are leaving an ever-larger footprint on the world’s forests.

 

Achieving government’s long-term environmental goals - National Audit Office

It is not yet clear that the government has in place what it needs to meet its long-term environmental goals, and it will need to shift momentum to achieve its ambition of improving the natural environment in England within a generation, according to today’s report from the National Audit Office (NAO).​

In 2011, government set an ambition for this to be the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state that it inherited. In 2018, the government published a 25 Year Environmental Plan (the Environment Plan), to achieve this ambition, and position the UK as a global environmental leader.1 The Environment Plan set 10 overarching goals covering issues such as clean air, clean and plentiful water and thriving plants and wildlife.

This report examines how government has set itself up to deliver its long-term environmental goals, highlighting the most significant potential strengths and areas for improvement, as well as key risks that it will need to manage.

Clear objectives and plans are important for persuading people within and outside government to take environmental goals seriously. The Environment Plan marked a step forward in setting direction for environmental policy,but its headline ambitions are a mixture of aspirations, legally binding targets and policy commitments, with varying and unclear timescales. In January 2020, the government presented a wide-ranging Environment Bill (the Bill) to Parliament, which would help clarify ambitions for five of government’s environmental goals. The Bill includes requirements for the government to set at least one new long-term target for air quality, water, biodiversity and resource efficiency and waste reduction. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Bill’s progress through Parliament paused between March and November 2020.

Read the report here

 

Flagship Fisheries Bill becomes law - Defra

The Fisheries Bill receives Royal Assent after 10 months in Parliament

Yesterday (23 November) the UK’s first major domestic fisheries legislation in nearly 40 years passed into law. The Fisheries Act 2020 gives the UK full control of its fishing waters for the first time since 1973.

The Fisheries Act will enable the UK to control who fishes in our waters through a new foreign vessel licencing regime and ends the current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in UK waters.

Underpinning everything in the Act is a commitment to sustainability, ensuring healthy seas for future generations of fishermen. The UK Government and Devolved Administrations will now develop new fisheries management plans for managing fisheries to benefit the fishing industry and the marine environment.

Healthy fish stocks, with the prospect of further fishing opportunities delivered through international negotiations, will help drive economic growth for coastal communities around the country by making sure the industry can continue to thrive for years to come.

The Act now places the UK on a firm legal footing as the Transition Period ends, with the ability to put in place and enforce new rules to protect our offshore marine protected areas - boosting the government’s Blue Belt of marine protection around England’s coast.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “This is a huge moment for the UK fishing industry. This is the first domestic fisheries legislation in nearly 40 years, and we will now take back control of our waters out to 200 nautical miles or the median line.”

In response

New Fisheries Act misses the mark on sustainability, but what now? - Marine Conservation Society

Today, the UK’s landmark post-Brexit fisheries legislation has become law. The Fisheries Act, the first legislation of its kind in nearly 40 years, will shape how the UK’s seas are fished for years to come.

In its current form, the Fisheries Act falls short of our aspirations for an ambitious piece of legislation. Notably, the decision to remove key sustainability amendments and the removal of a commitment to rolling out Remote Electronic Monitoring limits the potential impact of the legislation, but we’re committed to pushing the UK Government to go further than this limited framework.

Whilst the legislation failed to address some of the more pressing issues facing UK seas, including overfishing, there is still an opportunity to affect change in the years which follow.

   

Environmental groups and Monty Don write to Government calling for end to use of peat compost - The Wildlife Trusts

Environmental groups have come together to write a letter to the Environment Secretary calling for a ban on the use of peat in compost by 2025. Celebrity gardener, broadcaster and writer Monty Don has also signed, describing peat in compost as “environmental vandalism”. The call comes as the volume of peat sold in the UK in the last year tops two million cubic metres.

Environmental charities have been joined by broadcaster and writer Monty Don in writing an open letter to the government calling for a ban on peat in garden compost in the next five years after new figures showed it would take decades to phase out at the current rate1.

The National Trust, Friends of the Earth, the RSPB, The Royal Horticultural Society, Plantlife, CPRE, the countryside charity, The Wildlife Trusts, Garden Organic, and Wildlife and Countryside Link say that unless a legal ban is introduced then some of the world’s most precious and important ecosystems could be lost forever, and the government’s climate and nature aims will be undermined.

Monty Don has added his voice to the plight, describing the continued use of peat in compost as “environmental vandalism”.

Healthy peatlands act as carbon sinks, trapping in carbon to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. They also help to control flooding and encourage vegetation that can provide homes for an array of wildlife. But when they are damaged, such as mining for compost, they lose these abilities and emit their carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

New figures released in recent weeks show the rate of decrease in the retail and professional horticulture sectors is “small and slow”. They also show that a voluntary target to end its use in the amateur sector by 2020 has been completely missed, and that 2030 target to end its use in the professional sector is also on course to be missed.

 

Spending Review leaves effort to avert a nature and climate crisis on ice - Wildlife and Countryside Link

Responding to the Chancellor’s One-Year Spending Review detailed today, Wildlife and Countryside Link said the effort to avert a nature and climate crisis had been left on ice.

Dr Richard Benwell, CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “The world has been gripped by a pandemic caused by our broken relationship with the natural world. Yet nature has also given millions of people solace and respite in lockdown, while lack of access to nature has left others stranded. This surely should have been Defra’s year to step out of the doldrums of low Departmental funding, with decisive investment to boost green jobs and avert the nature and climate crises. Yet Defra remains on the lowest rung of Government spending, with another year lost in the effort to turn round nature’s decline. Unless significant and sustained investment is made in nature, climate and environment targets will remain out of reach and on ice. The Chancellor and the PM have shown clear ambition for a green recovery, with twelve billion pounds to green our energy and transport mix. But this isn’t enough to reach Net Zero and is around a third of the investment some other countries are making. While reducing our carbon emissions is one side of the equation, we also need to dramatically boost funding for natural carbon capturing to get our emissions to add up to less than 1.5 degrees of warming. Restoring nature offers a win on all fronts, providing cleaner air and a cooler climate, boosting public health, tackling flooding and degraded soils, ensuring the healthy natural resources farming and other industries need, creating green jobs, and helping wildlife. We will need to see a major increase in funding for nature during the green super year in 2021 to demonstrate the ambition needed to be a world environmental leader.”

 

Welcome improvements to Scotland’s EU exit laws, but bill must go further for nature - Scottish Environment LINK

Scottish Environment LINK, a coalition of Scotland’s leading environmental charities, has today welcomed initial improvements to the Scottish Government’s EU Continuity Bill, which delivers crucial post-Brexit environmental protections, including an environment watchdog.

From 1 January 2021, the EU’s world-renowned environmental protections will no longer apply to Scotland. The Scottish Government’s EU Continuity Bill seeks to establish a new environment watchdog to protect Scotland’s nature going forward, but campaigners have warned that major omissions mean the Bill must urgently be strengthened.

MSPs voted for several key amendments to the Bill this week (Tuesday 24 November and Wednesday 25 November) to increase the independence of Scotland’s new environment watchdog, Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS). The legislation now requires members of the watchdog’s Board to have environmental expertise and Ministers have also agreed to discuss further changes that ensure that ESS has sufficient funding, and that this sufficiency is subject to Parliamentary scrutiny ahead of the final vote on legislation in December. These changes will increase the watchdog’s independence from Scottish Ministers, heeding the concerns raised by thousands of supporters of the Fight for Scotland’s Nature campaign.

MSPs also secured commitments from the Scottish Government to discuss and seek to agree new measures in December to ensure Scotland’s process of maintaining alignment with the EU (the so-called ‘keeping pace’ power) secures high environmental standards. The Fight for Scotland’s Nature campaign has said that these new measures will be vital for ensuring that Scotland can be a progressive leader on environment in the future and that there will be no backsliding in protections for nature.

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife News

Wildlife cybercrime is in police’s sights, but wildlife crime underworld remains mostly beneath the radar - Wildlife & Countryside Link

Our 2019 Annual Wildlife Crime Report gives a snapshot picture of the state of wildlife crimes across England and Wales
Wildlife and Countryside Link and Wales Environment Link’s latest report on wildlife crime across England and Wales reveals positive progress in identifying and tackling hi-tech online criminals who are harming our wildlife. Yet centuries old hunting, trapping, and poisoning practices, and smuggling of illegal wildlife goods, are still widespread, and exacting a heavy penalty for nature, warn conservation experts.

Activity on wildlife cybercrime (which can include illegal hunting and trapping coordination, gambling on live-stream cruelty such as badger and dog fights, and the online sale of rare protected species) has ramped up over the last year. Online initiatives from police and wildlife organisations have led to more tips from the public, arrests, and rescues of animals - such as dogs injured in badger-baiting. The creation of a new Cyber Enabled Wildlife Crime Priority Delivery Group, led by the police National Wildlife Crime Unit, has been hailed by conservationists as a major step forward in improving prevention, intelligence and enforcement.
Yet many wildlife crimes continue to be unwitnessed or unreported and go unpunished. A shocking array of wildlife including bats, birds, badgers, plants, hares, deer, fish, seals, dolphins, amphibians and reptiles, and more, are harmed at the hands of hunters, poachers, criminals, and even normally law-abiding members of the public every year. Overall levels of reported wildlife crimes have changed very little in the four years since our annual report was first published, with 3800 incidents reported in 2019 compared to 4288 in 2016.

Convictions remain shockingly low, with just 10 people convicted of wildlife crimes in 2019 (other than convictions relating to fisheries crimes).
Dr Richard Benwell CEO of Wildlife and Countryside Link said: ‘The wildlife crime underworld in Britain remains rampant. Our figures are just a snapshot of the number of animals being illegally hurt and killed every single day, sometimes for sport, sometimes for profit, sometimes in sheer callousness. Steps forward in tackling the growing online world of wildlife crime are very welcome. But overall a lack of adequate police recording and resourcing, low levels of prosecutions and inadequate sentencing are leaving our wildlife without the protection it needs.’
Martin Sims of the League Against Cruel Sports and Chair of Link’s Wildlife Crime Working Group, said: ‘It seems incredible in our digital age that our police forces can’t just call up the data they need to effectively tackle wildlife crime at the touch of a button. While the police are cracking down on wildlife cyber criminals more effectively now, their own electronic data on wildlife crimes is decades behind where it should be. We need to bring the fight against wildlife crime into the 21st century and ensure police have the resources they need to punish those who are harming our natural world.’

 

We fear a second spike in cruelty to wildlife as lockdown 2 starts - RSPCA

Our new data has revealed we received reports of more than 2,200 incidents of cruelty to wildlife in 2020, with numbers spiking in May.

From hunting and fighting to beating and mutilation, incidents of 'illegal activity' and 'intentional harm' to wild animals started rising at the start of the lockdown this year:  194 in March, 241 in April, 381 in May.

We're concerned that as the nation goes into lockdown again and everything shuts down, some may turn to this barbaric behaviour for 'entertainment' and incidents may rise.

Lockdown has led to a rise in anti-social behaviour

Our National Wildlife Co-ordinator, Geoff Edmond, said: "Our data shows that reports of cruelty to wildlife surged during the first lockdown. We fear a similar peak could happen all over again during this second lockdown, as some people again look for savage ways to pass the time. Our inspectors see first-hand the suffering inflicted by criminals on animals through wildlife crime such as badger baiting, dog fighting, hare coursing and trapping birds. We've seen some particularly distressing incidents in recent months, such as a magpie shot with a crossbow and two hedgehogs doused in fuel and burned alive. Police forces have reported a rise in anti-social behaviour during the first lockdown, when pressures and frustrations led to more of this type of crime, and we fear it may lead to some seeking 'entertainment' through these sorts of barbaric incidents involving wildlife."

 

Quagga mussels found in the River Trent and Rutland Water - Environment Agency

Members of the public are being asked to help out to limit the spread of quagga mussels in the East Midlands.

The invasive non-native species has recently been found in the River Trent near Newton-on-Trent, Lincolnshire, as well as in Rutland Water. People using the river or reservoir are now being urged to follow ‘check, clean, dry’ procedures to try to prevent the spread.

The Environment Agency has increased its monitoring across the region’s rivers to establish the extent of the problem and is working with Anglian Water and the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat to agree an appropriate bio-security response. While quagga mussels do not pose any immediate direct threat to water quality, animals or people, they do spread rapidly and can block pipes and water based assets resulting in significant future maintenance costs.

Quagga mussels were first recorded in the UK in 2014 and have previously been found in the Thames catchment. It is not known how they arrived in the Trent or Rutland Water.

 

 

Mammals

New report shows highs and lows of mammal conservation in Wales - Mammal Society

The State of Mammals in Wales report
The State of Mammals in Wales report

Urgent action is needed to save a third of all mammals currently at risk of extinction in Wales, The State of Mammals in Wales report has revealed.

Launched today (25 November) by the Mammal Society, the report examines for the first time in over 20 years the current situation for Wales’ species.

The report, commissioned by NRW, provides a species by species account of current population sizes and range trends as well as discussing threats and conservation opportunities. This information has been used to complete an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Listing assessment.

Based on this, we now know that across Britain a quarter of our native mammals are at risk of extinction. In Wales that number is 1 in 3.

Sam Dyer, NRW Specialist Advisor for Terrestrial Mammals said, “This is a very comprehensive report which examines the current situation for Wales’ 49 terrestrial mammal species, and we are grateful to all those who contributed to the resulting publication. These findings are key to our mammal conservation efforts and will underpin our decision making and targeting efforts towards those species who are at a greater risk.”

The Mammal Society has stressed the need to do more in order to sustain and create connected habitats across the country, giving mammals the ability to move easily from one area to another.

 

Farmers come together and help ensure badger vaccination success for second year - Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Badger being vaccinated – Tom Shelley, Conservation Manager
Badger being vaccinated – Tom Shelley, Conservation Manager

Covid-19 restrictions have led to delays and postponements of many activities this year. However, thanks to the efforts of a small group of farmers in mid-Cornwall, badger vaccination in a bid to reduce cattle TB has continued as planned.

The joint effort between Cornwall Wildlife Trust and local farmers and landowners, with specialist help from ZSL (Zoological Society of London), has successfully delivered a second year of vaccination, demonstrating the technique as a potential alternative to badger culling.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Head of Conservation Cheryl Marriott explained, “It has been trickier to deliver the badger vaccinations this year, but farmers stepped up to help. As well as helping to fund the project, they have done much of the legwork, helping to set up the cage traps and pre-bait them with peanuts. One farmer allowed us to store the traps on his land too which was a great help; it really is a team effort.”

Cornwall Wildlife Trust recently held a virtual live ‘Wildlife Matters’ event to explain more about the initiative and this is available to view below. At the event, St Stephens-based farmer, Keith Truscott, talked about why the farmers are pleased to be involved with badger vaccination: “Doing nothing was not an answer – we had to do something. We were uncertain about going down the route of culling because it’s like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I’m proud of the fact that so many from the initial badger vaccination farmers meeting have joined up, stuck together and are still hanging in there. I can sleep much easier at night knowing that there are people out vaccinating – it’s better than having people out there shooting.

 

Critically endangered wildcat kittens born at Edinburgh Zoo - Royal Zoological Society of Scotland

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) is celebrating the birth of two critically endangered wildcat kittens at Edinburgh Zoo.

Staff at the wildlife conservation charity say the kittens, a boy and a girl, will be named in the coming weeks.

Alison Maclean, carnivore team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “We are thrilled to have welcomed the birth of two wildcat kittens in September, to mum Caol Ila and dad Talisker. The youngsters are doing well and we will be asking for the public’s help to name them in the coming weeks.”

Wildcats are one of Scotland’s rarest and most threatened mammals and RZSS is leading a new partnership project, Saving Wildcats, based at the charity’s second site, Highland Wildlife Park.

wildcat kitten
The wildcat kittens (image: RZSS)

 

First beaver dam appears on Exmoor after 400 years - National Trust

Beaver dam at Holnicote Estate in Somerset (National Trust)
Beaver dam at Holnicote Estate in Somerset (National Trust)

Eurasian beavers released by the National Trust as part of a river restoration project have built what is believed to be the first beaver dam on Exmoor for over 400 years.

The construction appeared at the Holnicote Estate in October and has already created an ‘instant wetland’, according to rangers at the site.

Footage captured on wildlife cameras shows the animals gnawing nearby trees and collecting vegetation to create a dam across small channels that run through the Somerset estate.

It comes nine months after the animals were introduced to slow the flow of water through the landscape and improve river quality and biodiversity. The beavers were the first to be released into the wild by the National Trust in its 125-year history.

Beavers are often referred to as ‘ecosystem engineers’. Given the right conditions, they can build dams to create deep pools of water which offer shelter from predators and places to access and store food.

This evolutionary response enables them to move around their habitat more easily and, crucially, turns the surrounding land into a mosaic of nature-rich habitats.

Ben Eardley, Project Manager at the National Trust, said: “It might look modest, but this beaver dam is incredibly special – it’s the first to appear on Exmoor for almost half a millennium and marks a step change in how we manage the landscape. What’s amazing is that it’s only been here a few weeks but has created an instant wetland. We’ve already spotted kingfishers at the site, and over time, as the beavers extend their network of dams and pools, we should see increased opportunities for other wildlife, including amphibians, insects, bats and birds.”

Beaver dams, ponds and channels can also help prevent flooding by slowing, storing and filtering water as it flows downstream. The industrious animals create space for water and wildlife, leading to a more resilient river catchment.

Ben continued: “The recent rain we’ve had is a reminder of the significant role beavers can play in engineering the landscape. As we face into the effects of climate change and more frequent extreme weather events, natural interventions like this need to be part of the solution.

 

Western Link threatens probable largest barbastelle bat colony in UK - Norfolk Wildlife Trust

Research has led to the discovery of an extraordinary barbastelle bat ‘super-colony’, Charlotte Packman
Research has led to the discovery of an extraordinary barbastelle bat ‘super-colony’, Charlotte Packman

If the Western Link for the NDR were to go ahead on its proposed route, it would drive through what is likely to be the largest known ‘super-colony’ of barbastelle bats in the UK, according to new independent surveys, risking its complete loss
Norfolk Wildlife Trust wrote to the Council in September expressing its concerns at the wildlife impacts of the Western Link proposal, and requesting that the Council revisits alternative options to meet local transport issues.
In October, a presentation was made at the East of England Bat Conference by independent bat experts, Wild Wings Ecology, presenting the results of their surveys on barbastelles and the Western Link route. The full results of the surveys are still being written up, but the findings clearly show that there are significantly greater numbers of barbastelle bats on the route and in surrounding woodlands than have been found by the Council’s own surveys.
The results have identified the presence of a breeding colony directly on the road route and that this is part of a wider ‘super-colony’ occupying surrounding woodlands in the local area. Indications are that the barbastelle population here is likely to be the largest in the UK, with surveys identifying at least 270 individuals.

Dr Charlotte Packman, the ecologist who identified the size and scale of the bat population said: “Our research has led to the discovery of an extraordinary barbastelle ‘super-colony’, part of which would be directly cut through by the proposed Norwich Western Link and the remaining part substantially impacted by the road scheme. This is without doubt a nationally important area (and quite possibly the most important area) in the country for this very rare species. The destruction of barbastelle maternity colony woodlands is not permissible under wildlife laws and would be unprecedented. We believe that the predicted substantial and multifarious negative impacts of the proposed road on this protected species cannot be effectively mitigated or compensated for”.

 

 

 

Birds

New general licences for the control of wild birds - Defra

New general licences issued ahead of them coming into force on 1 January 2021.

Defra has today (9 November) published three new general licences for the control of wild birds, ahead of them coming into force on 1 January 2021.

This follows the completion of Defra’s review and user survey into general licensing, details of which will be published at a later date.

The new licences (GL40, GL41, GL42) will replace the current general licences (GL34, GL35 and GL36) which expire on the 31 December. From 1st January 2021, licence users will need to act in accordance with the new licence conditions.

General licences are permissive licences, meaning that users do not need to apply for them, but they must comply with their terms and conditions, when undertaking licensed acts. They allow users to kill or take certain species of wild birds for defined purposes such as preventing serious damage to certain commodities such as livestock and crops, for the purposes of conserving wild birds, plants and animals, or for public health and safety reasons.

The publication of the new licences will allow user groups to become acquainted with the changes before they officially come into force on 1 January.

Defra will publish the finalised licences, with further detail in two areas - conditions on protected sites and trapping – later this year, in advance of the licences coming into effect on 1 January 2021.

 

Extension of seabird haven to benefit 15,000 birds - Defra & Natural England

Expansion of a protected area in the Isles of Scilly.

Today (17 November), the government has announced the expansion of a protected area in the Isles of Scilly, home to some of our rarest seabirds such as the Manx shearwater and storm petrel.

This decision is based on extensive work by Natural England with a comprehensive package of over 4 years of scientific advice and research on the new boundaries and a public consultation which took place in early spring 2019.

The Isles of Scilly supports a greater diversity of seabirds than any other site in England, with internationally important populations of European storm petrel and lesser black-backed gull. The expansion will see the site boosted by approximately 12,930 hectares and benefit 15,000 seabirds. It is one of only two protected sites in England where Manx shearwater and European storm petrel breed, and is also home to the largest population of great black-backed gulls in the UK.

Our seabird populations are an important barometer of the health of the marine environment and this marine extension to the Isles of Scilly site demonstrates the UK Government’s commitment to securing the sustainable use of our seas.

With the expansion of the Isles of Scilly site into the coastal seas around the archipelago, there are now 114 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) specifically protecting birds across the UK. The newly-expanded site protects the waters around the islands for activities like feeding and preening that are crucial to the life cycles of over 15,000 seabirds.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The UK seabird population is of global importance with the UK holding more than a quarter of Europe’s breeding seabirds. The expansion of this site demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protect and improve the resilience of our marine environment and precious wildlife. Together with the development of our Seabird Conservation Strategy, we will help the coastal environment to recover and thrive for future generations to enjoy.”

   

New NatureScot report provides insights into rare hen harriers from millions of nest camera images - Nature Scot

One-year old female hen harrier at nest - credit Brian Etheridge
One-year old female hen harrier at nest - credit Brian Etheridge

The success of one of Scotland’s rarest birds of prey, hen harriers, is closely linked to the age of parent birds, prey availability and land use, concludes a report published by NatureScot today.

The report, based on five years of camera evidence on 28 estates participating in the Heads Up for Harriers partnership project, found the age of the adult male bird is a key factor in breeding. There was a 91% success rate when males were older than one year, irrespective of the age of the adult female bird.

Not surprisingly, the report also found that nesting attempts and fledging success were higher during warm, dry spring weather, with wetter weather having a negative impact on both the harriers and availability of prey.

The research also found that hen harriers prey were birds 89% of the time with mammals making up the final 10%. However, the report concludes that hen harriers rarely prey on grouse. Meadow pipits were by far the most abundant prey at 77% of birds, with red grouse accounting for only 5.6% of prey.

Over 2 million hen harrier nest camera images were meticulously studied to reveal harrier behaviour and factors impacting their survival. While the majority of estates have some game shooting interest, analysis indicated that harriers fare best on those estates with no shooting interests, with more breeding attempts, nesting success and higher productivity recorded on the majority of non-sporting estates.

 

Blue Tits missing from our gardens following spring heatwave - British Trust for Ornithology

Blue Tit by Liz Cutting
Blue Tit by Liz Cutting

The lockdown has allowed many people to reconnect with nature, but evidence from British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch survey has shown that some of our favourite garden species, such as the Blue Tit, have been struggling this year, possibly due to the unusually warm spring.

For the past 25 years, the BTO has been asking participants of the Garden BirdWatch survey to submit their records of garden birds to help us understand how these species are faring. This information has allowed us to see how even the most common birds can fluctuate from year to year.

Blue Tits have been seen in fewer gardens and in smaller numbers since May 2020.
It is thought that this year’s spring, with the fifth-warmest April in over 100 years, meant that invertebrates, including butterflies and moths, got off to an early start. Caterpillars are an important food for Blue Tit nestlings, but in warm springs caterpillars develop early, and there are fewer available during the main Blue Tit nesting season, often leading to reduced survival of nestlings and smaller populations overall.

Chough conservation effective but more action needed - NatureScot

Conservation measures to help save the threatened red-billed chough have been effective in preventing further large population declines.

A new report published by NatureScot found that supplementary feeding and parasite treatment aimed at preventing chough extinction in Scotland have been successful.

NatureScot has now committed to funding the measures for a further two years to support the population, while exploring longer-term recovery options.

Red-billed chough David Whitaker
Red-billed chough David Whitaker

Red-billed chough in Scotland have declined and are currently restricted to the islands of Islay and Colonsay, where there were fewer than 50 pairs in 2018.

The birds are threatened simultaneously by lack of food (affecting first year survival), parasites and low genetic diversity.

NatureScot funded an emergency supplementary feeding programme that began in 2010 at multiple sites on Islay with treatment of parasites from 2014, alongside monitoring of the population.

The report found that supplementary feeding has successfully increased key demographic rates, including first year survival, and birds treated for parasites recovered after 2-3 days, concluding that the programme was an effective short-term conservation action.

However, it adds that in the longer-term, further measures will be needed to stabilise the species, including habitat improvements and reinforcing the population with birds from other UK populations to reduce inbreeding.

The full report is available here.

 

New report reveals good news for rare breeding birds - British Trust for Ornithology

Montagu's Harrier in flight (Graham Catley/BTO)
Montagu's Harrier (Graham Catley/BTO)

New data shows that in 2018 ten species of rare birds bred in their highest ever recorded numbers across the UK

Thanks to extensive conservation work including reintroductions and habitat management, the fate of some of these birds continues to improve

However, some species haven’t fared as well, with some being impacted by cold winter weather and problems on migration

In the latest analysis of the UK’s rarest breeding birds, ten species have been recorded in greater numbers than in any previous year.
The annual report of the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP), funded by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and published in the journal British Birds, aims to track the progress of the country’s rarest breeding birds by compiling data from conservationists, scientists and thousands of volunteer birdwatchers across the UK. The RBBP would like to thank the many birdwatchers who contribute data, and the county bird recorders who collate this data on behalf of the RBBP.
The results from the 2018 breeding season have found that ten of these species have been counted at record levels. Whilst for two of these species (Shoveler and Common Redpoll) this may be just down to annual fluctuations in numbers and possibly a welcome increase in the effort put into finding these species, the other eight have been doing increasingly well for years - many of them are continuing to break records year on year as they recover from previous declines, or colonise the UK for the first time.

 

 

A new face

The Wildlife Trusts welcome Liz Bonnin as new president - The Wildlife Trusts

Liz Bonnin (C) Andrew Crowley
Liz Bonnin (C) Andrew Crowley

Gillian Burke announced as vice president, and Mya-Rose Craig, David Oakes, Cel Spellman and Dave Goulson become wildlife ambassadors

Broadcaster and biologist, Liz Bonnin was elected as president of The Wildlife Trusts today. The first woman to take the role, Liz joins the movement of 46 Wildlife Trusts at a critical time for nature’s recovery in the UK. Liz will be championing The Wildlife Trusts’ new 30 by 30 vision to protect 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030 with projects ranging from land acquisition to peatland restoration and species reintroduction.

Liz is known for her powerful and ground-breaking documentaries including the sensational Drowning in Plastic, Galapagos, Wild Alaska and Blue Planet Live. Liz’s career has taken her around the world, studying animal behaviours and shining a spotlight on important environmental issues.

President of The Wildlife Trusts, Liz Bonnin says: “It’s a very exciting time to be joining The Wildlife Trusts, and I am incredibly honoured to have been invited to take on this role, following in the footsteps of highly esteemed past presidents who I have looked up to throughout my career. I have long admired The Wildlife Trusts’ work and I am looking forward to championing their expertise and vision to restore nature in the UK. It is a critical time for the natural world, and I hope that through lending my voice and support, and by working together, we can help to enforce the changes that must take place in order to secure a brighter future for our wild places. “

 

 

 

 

Sustainability, Climate Change, Pollution and Litter

Great British Beach Clean 2020 results: PPE pollution on the rise on UK's beaches - Marine Conservation Society

Great British Beach Clean infographic (Marine Conservation Society)

Like many events this year, the Great British Beach Clean, our annual flagship event, looked a little different. Our organisers downsized their beach cleans to small groups and enlisted friends, families and ‘bubbles’ to help clear beaches of litter and take part in the citizen science project. We also extended the Great British Beach Clean to become a weeklong event, running from the 18-25th September.

Despite the unusual circumstances, an amazing 2,124 volunteers took part across 459 events.

Efforts at the beach were joined by volunteers getting involved in our brand new Source to Sea Litter Quest inland. The inland litter survey means we can directly see what litter in particular is making its way to the coast. 80% of litter on our beaches has made its way there from our parks, rivers and streets far from the coast.

The results from this year’s Great British Beach Clean show a concerning, but perhaps predictable, presence of PPE litter. Face masks and gloves were found on almost 30% of beaches cleaned by our volunteers. The Source to Sea Litter Quest data shows a similarly worrying presence of masks and gloves, with more than two thirds (69%) of litter picks finding PPE items.

 

Wetland birds among Arctic animals changing behaviour because of climate change’s rapid transformation of region, according to new data archive - Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

Rising temperatures are triggering changed responses in animal populations in the Arctic, which could have huge ramifications for the future of the northernmost region on earth.

The findings are explored in a new scientific paper Ecological insights from three decades of animal movement tracking across a changing Arctic, which is published in the prestigious journal Science today (November 6).

The data has been collected in a new Arctic Animal Movement Archive (AAMA), a collection of 201 terrestrial and marine animal tracking studies, spanning 21 years and growing. It includes the tracking data of high-Arctic wetland birds, supplied by conservation charity WWT.

WWT’s Research Officer Kane Brides contributed to the study. He said: “The Arctic is in the process of entering a new ecological phase, which potentially carries a huge cost for humanity. However it can be difficult to track these changes and their impact on the different species that inhabit these huge expanses which include barren land, Arctic seas and Boreal forests. The creation of the AAMA facilitates research and insights into the changing behaviour of Arctic species, preserving critical baseline data for the future. It’s great to see that WWT tracking data is being utilised and made available to be used to address urgent issues surrounding the Arctic.”

Nowhere else on earth are experts seeing such rapid changes than in the Arctic where the primary cause, greenhouse gas emissions, are instigating warmer winter temperatures and ice loss, affecting the availability of food, competition and predation of animals. Experts are noticing differences in seasonal vegetation and changes in migration and foraging.

 

The Wildlife Trusts to “harness the power of nature” in fight against climate change - The Wildlife Trusts

Peat bog © Mark Hamblin 2020VISION
Peat bog © Mark Hamblin 2020VISION

Beavers, birds and butterflies will also benefit from almost £2 million Postcode Lottery funding announcement

The Wildlife Trusts across England, Scotland and Wales are to harness the power of nature to fight climate change, thanks to almost £2 million raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The money will be used to fund nature restoration projects which will help stabilise emissions from degraded land and maximise carbon storage through natural processes, locking up carbon in our peatlands, meadows, wetlands and at sea.

Wild habitats have a huge role to play in addressing climate change. A hectare of saltmarsh, for example, can capture two tonnes of carbon a year and lock it into sediments for centuries, but we are losing nearly 100 hectares of saltmarsh a year.

When healthy, our natural habitats can reduce the risk of flooding, help prevent coastal erosion, improve people’s health and wellbeing, as well as maintain healthy soils, clean water and the pollinators needed by farmers for their crops.

Craig Bennett, chief executive at The Wildlife Trusts, said: "Wilder places are better for beavers, birds and butterflies and better for storing carbon too, which is good news for tackling climate change. When you re-wet a peatland and stop it from drying out, it locks up vast amounts of carbon and this new Postcode Lottery funding means The Wildlife Trusts can make this happen on a huge scale.”

One such project already underway is Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s peat restoration programme.

Dr Tim Thom of Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, who manages the project, said: “Yorkshire’s peatland holds an estimated 38 million tonnes of carbon in total. However, much of it is in decline – channels were historically cut to drain the peatland, and ongoing activities such as grazing and burning can continue to cause damage. Since 2009, we’ve been working to restore the blanket bog on a massive scale by blocking drainage ditches, replanting bare areas with mosses and other plants, and reducing erosion.”

 

Species more likely to die out with rapid climate change - Norwegian University of Science & Technology

The great tit and other birds can adapt to changes in their food supply as a result of climate change, but they run into trouble if the changes happen too quickly.

An ever warmer climate could be bad news for species that depend on stable and abundant access to food at certain times of the year.

“If changes happen too fast, species can become extinct,” says Emily Simmonds, an associate professor at NTNU’s Department of Biology.

She is the first author of an article in Ecology Letters that addresses how great tits can be affected if the supply of larvae changes in the spring.

Spring, plants and larvae arriving earlier

Several bird species depend on the abundance of larvae while their young are small. If the larvae supply peaks earlier in the spring than normal, there may simply be too little food for the hatchlings.

A warming climate can bring about changes like this. An earlier spring causes trees to leaf out earlier, which in turn causes the larvae that feed on the plants to hatch out earlier.

“When the climate changes, the interactions between different species changes too,” Simmonds says.

She and a team of researchers at the University of Oxford used population models to calculate the consequences of different climate scenarios. They wanted to see at what point the changes would happen too fast for the great tit to modify its behaviour quickly enough to keep up with the larvae.

 

Scottish Parliament fails to declare a Nature Emergency - RSPB

Despite a wide-ranging debate showing the Scottish Parliament’s increasing concern for nature, it misses a vital opportunity to declare a Nature Emergency.

RSPB Scotland has described the outcome of this afternoon’s vote of the Scottish Parliament, as a ‘missed opportunity’ to declare a nature emergency in Scotland, given all the evidence that nature is facing a major collapse.

Today, MSPs in the Scottish Parliament decided to pass a motion, which noted the catastrophic collapse in biodiversity globally and in Scotland, but stopped short of declaring a nature emergency as was originally tabled by Mark Ruskell MSP, as the Scottish Government decided to remove reference to the nature emergency from the motion.

RSPB Scotland says that it is extremely concerning, given the scale and urgency of the nature emergency, that Scotland’s political parties failed to come together and reach agreement on this critical issue.

Aedán Smith, Head of Policy and Advocacy at RSPB Scotland, said: “Many people have turned to nature during this difficult year, whilst for others a lack of access to nature has made the challenges of COVID-19 even harder. We knew that nature was in trouble and needed our help long before this pandemic, but we also know that investing in nature’s recovery can tackle many other societal issues, such as creating long-term jobs, resilient, diverse economies and delivering improvements to quality of life, health and wellbeing.”

“It is disappointing that the Scottish Parliament missed this opportunity to declare a nature emergency and provide the momentum needed for urgent action to restore Scotland’s amazing nature. As a starting point, we hope that the parties can now come together to urgently agree ambitious nature recovery targets and create a clear, well-funded and robust plan of action for addressing the nature emergency.”

In 2019 a UN report found that nature is declining at an unprecedented rate across the world. Here in Scotland, the 2019 State of Nature Report found that 49% of species have declined and 1 in 9 species is at risk from extinction. The loss of nature is driven predominantly by: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive non-native species.

 

Scientists awarded £2.6million to examine environmental impacts of biodegradable plastics - Plymouth University

The University is leading a new project assessing how biodegradable materials break down and the impact that has on the environment

Biodegradable packaging and products are seen by many as part of the solution to the global plastics crisis. However, until now, there has been very little research examining their precise fate and impact in the open environment.

To address that, a team of UK scientists has been awarded £2.6million for a four-year project assessing how these materials break down and, in turn, whether the plastics or their breakdown products affect species both on land and in the marine environment.

BIO-PLASTIC-RISK is being supported by a grant from the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation. It is being led by researchers at the University of Plymouth, including its world-renowned International Marine Litter Research Unit, working alongside colleagues at the University of Bath and Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

The project brings together a team of marine and terrestrial biologists, material and polymer scientists, and ecotoxicologists, and will expand on extensive previous research by the partners into the causes and effects of microplastic pollution.

 

 

Recreation, Community and Health

Green prescriptions could undermine the benefits of spending time in nature - University of Exeter

Spending time in nature is believed to benefit people’s mental health. However, new research suggests that giving people with existing mental health conditions formal ‘green prescriptions’, may undermine some of the benefits.

An international research team led by the University of Exeter and published in the journal Scientific Reports, investigated whether contact with nature has the potential to help people with mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, to manage their symptoms. They found that nature is associated with a number of benefits for these individuals, but only if they chose to visit these places themselves.

The research team collected data from more than 18,000 people in 18 different countries, as part of the EU Horizons 2020 funded BlueHealth project. A key aim was to understand why people feel motivated to spend time in nature, how often they visit, and how social pressure influences their emotional experiences during visits.

The findings suggest that whilst pressure to spend time outdoors can encourage visits, it can also undermine the potential emotional and wellbeing benefits of contact with nature.

Common mental health issues are the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting approximately 17% of the world’s population each year. Although there is evidence that some people with these issues are using nature as part of their own symptom self-management, there was still much we didn’t not know about how widespread this was, or whether more formal ‘Green prescriptions’ from medical professional to spend time in nature could aid management and potentially recovery.

The research team were surprised to find that people with depression were already visiting nature as frequently as people with no mental health issues, while people with anxiety were visiting significantly more often. On the whole, both groups also tended to feel happy and reported low anxiety during these visits.

However, the benefits of nature seem to be undermined when visits were not by choice. The more pressure people felt to visit nature by presumably well-meaning others, the less motivated people were and the more anxious they felt.

The study’s full title is “Experiences of nature for people with common mental health disorders: Results from an 18 country cross-sectional study”, and is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

£175 million more for cycling and walking as research shows public support - Department of Transport

Survey reveals 8 out of 10 people support measures to reduce road traffic and two-thirds support reallocating road space for active travel.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has today (13 November 2020) given councils across England a further £175 million to create safe space for cycling and walking as surveys and independent polls show strong public support for high-quality schemes.

The new money, part of the £2 billion announced for cycling and walking in May, will fund measures including:

These will give people more opportunities to choose cycling and walking for their day-to-day journeys, as part of wider government plans to boost active travel.

However, the Transport Secretary has set tough new conditions on councils receiving funding, requiring them to ensure schemes are properly consulted on. This will help avoid the problems seen in a minority of the schemes developed in the first round of funding. If these conditions are not met by a council, the Transport Secretary has been clear that future funding allocations will be reduced and claw-backs could also be imposed.

The funding comes as a survey undertaken by Kantar Media last month reveals that 65% of people across England support reallocating road space to

cycling and walking in their local area. Nearly 8 out of 10 people (78%) support measures to reduce road traffic in their neighbourhood.

To help councils implement better schemes, updated guidance, which has also been released today, emphasises the need for practical and pragmatic solutions.

 

 

Land and Countryside Management

National Parks England launch joint ambitions for the next decade - National Parks England

National Parks England has today (Dec 3 2020) published a set of new joint ambitions, which outlines their vision to become beacons for a sustainable future, where nature and people flourish.

For the first time, England’s 10 National Parks have worked together to create four interconnected Delivery Plans, which address how they will tackle new challenges and changing priorities over the next 10 years.

The Covid-19 pandemic, Government announcements of new National Parks and Green Industrial revolution, and the climate emergency, have all highlighted the important role National Parks have for our nation.

The Delivery Plans set out how the parks will protect and enhance the natural environment, how they will become leaders in tackling the climate emergency, how they will support thriving communities where sustainable farming and land management deliver a wide range of public goods, and set out their vision to support the health and wellbeing of the whole nation.

Each of the Plans has a key theme - Landscapes for Everyone, Sustainable Farming & Land Management, Climate Leadership and Nature Recovery – and each plan defines key targets and how these will be achieved.

National Parks England Chair, Mike McKinley said: “We are proud to launch our new Delivery Plans, which clearly set out our ambitions and plans for the next 10 years. National Parks hold a unique place in the nation’s affections, and Covid 19 and the increase in visitor numbers to our National Parks during the pandemic has reminded us of their importance. Wild landscapes, family walks, rural businesses and vibrant communities all have their place, and we need to work hard to protect and enhance these spaces. While we welcome the Government’s recent ten-point plan, and announcement of the creation of new National Parks, this must not be at the expense of investing in our existing Parks."

 

Plans for Portsmouth ‘super peninsula’ should be binned not backed, say wildlife charities - Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Dark-bellied Brent geese © IanCameron-Reid
Dark-bellied Brent geese © IanCameron-Reid

4000 new homes and new marine hub would rip up internationally important wildlife site and tear a hole through legal safeguards
Development could destroy vital line of natural defence against rising sea levels, meaning the public will pay over decades to keep new homes above water.
Portsmouth people set to lose vital part of their natural heritage - “the nature equivalent of a developer proposing to demolish the city’s historic dockyard and sink the HMS Victory”

Wildlife charities are today calling for a major development to be stopped. The proposal is to locate 4000 new houses and a 1 million sq ft marine hub on the western edge of Portsea Island at Tipner West.

The RSPB and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) say that the development will destroy parts of the harbour that are vital for nature and valuable for the city’s long-term sustainability.

However, despite very clear environmental impacts, the city council has recently given the green light to spend approximately £8m to move forward to the planning application stage.

Nick Bruce-White, RSPB Operations Director for Southern England said, “This is one of the most significant threats to wildlife from a development we have seen in recent times, not just locally, but nationally. Portsmouth Harbour is of international importance, especially for its wintering waterbirds, such as brent geese, black tailed godwits and other wading birds. The development will utterly destroy vital feeding and roosting grounds as well as causing long-term disturbance to any wildlife that remains.”

 

Transformational peatland strategy needed to tackle Scotland’s nature and climate crisis - RSPB

Scotland needs a more ambitious and coherent strategy on peatland restoration if the full potential of this habitat to help tackle the nature and climate crisis is to be fulfilled, says RSPB Scotland. New analysis by the RSPB published today has revealed the overall failure, UK wide, to restore our peatlands and the threat this poses to mitigating climate change and its impacts.
The Scottish Government has recognised the importance of healthy peatland for nature and its ability to act as a huge carbon store and is leading the way in the UK in investing in peatland restoration. However, the work planned over the next 10 years will not restore all our damaged peatland and practices such as burning, overgrazing and trampling, commercial peat extraction, and tree planting on shallow peat soils continue to be permitted.

Peatland covers 1.9 million hectares in Scotland, more than 20 percent of the land here. These blanket and raised bogs are an incredible habitat which can store carbon in the mossy, wetland soil, as well as providing a home for a vast array of wildlife including golden plovers and hen harriers.

However, the degree to which our peatlands can support wildlife and store carbon depends on them being in good condition. Unfortunately, around 75 percent of Scotland’s peatland is degraded in some way, as a result of decades of draining, overgrazing, burning, tree planting, and extraction, causing it to release the carbon stored within it.

The RSPB’s new analysis shows that the poor condition of UK peatlands results in the release of carbon equivalent to 5% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions every year – more than the annual emission from all HGVs on UK roads. If restoration efforts are not substantially increased across the four countries, then degraded peatlands will emit twice as much carbon as tree planting would capture if the Committee on Climate Change’s UK forestry targets aims were met. Any carbon capture benefit from new woodlands will therefore be cancelled out if peatland restoration efforts stay at their current levels.

 

Sizewell C threatens stunning wild coast - Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Westleton Heath in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB by Amanda Burgess
Westleton Heath in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB by Amanda Burgess

Proposed nuclear power station would sabotage Government’s 30 by 30 pledge to nature.

This week the Government has announced ‘greater protections for England’s iconic landscapes’ and has promised to designate more Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and “to protect and restore our natural environment and diverse ecosystems.” It comes at a time of increasing concern over EDF’s plans to build a new twin nuclear reactor on the Suffolk coast – Sizewell C – a development which would cut through the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and important wildlife designations.Suffolk Wildlife Trust believes that the proposed development in such a wildlife-rich, fragile location would be catastrophic for UK nature when wildlife declines are so extreme that the Government recently has committed to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030 to allow nature to recover. After a decade of assessing the impact, Suffolk Wildlife Trust believes that Sizewell C should not go ahead. The development would be devastating for nature.

Christine Luxton, Chief Executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust says: “Sizewell C would destroy a vast swathe of the Suffolk coastline in one of the most beautiful natural parts of the UK. People visit this part of Suffolk from all over the country to enjoy the wild countryside. If this vast development gets the go-ahead, an area of the coast the size of 900 football pitches will be directly affected by the development. Barn owls, water voles and kingfishers will see their habitat destroyed. Nature is already in huge trouble and the sheer scale of this development will make a bad situation much, much worse. We will not solve the climate crisis by destroying natural habitats that lock-up carbon. This is the wrong time and the wrong place for such a colossal and damaging development.”

 

Survey reveals alarming cuts to outdoor access jobs in Scotland - Joint press release issued by Ramblers Scotland on behalf of Scottish Outdoor Access Network

Landowners and outdoor groups are jointly calling for better resourcing to support Scotland’s world-class access rights - as a new survey highlights alarming cutbacks in countryside access jobs.

Scottish Outdoor Access Network (SOAN) polled all 34 access authorities on how they manage access, a topic which has hit the headlines during the Covid era due to booming numbers of people heading outdoors.

The survey showed that during 2019/20:

SOAN believes the reduction in access-supporting jobs is symptomatic of a wider, worsening trend of under-investment in visitor management.

SOAN stressed that the Scottish Government’s funding for access has flatlined for more than a decade at £8.1million a year - but said that many hard-pressed local authorities are sadly choosing to invest their access allocation on other issues.

 

Letter to Natural Capital Committee on small waters - Freshwater Habitats Trust

Whitchurch Pond (image: Jeff-Buck)
Whitchurch Pond (image: Jeff-Buck)

Freshwater Habitats Trust with a group of the UK’s top freshwater scientists has today written to the Natural Capital Committee to call for urgent action on small waters.

Read the letter here. The last 20 years has seen a revolution in scientific opinion about which freshwater habitats are the most important for biodiversity. Today 20 of the UK’s most eminent freshwater scientists have written to Dieter Helm (Independent Chair of the government’s Natural Capital Committee), to call for urgent action to protect England’s smallest freshwater habitats: ponds, ditches, upland waters and headwater streams.

Traditionally, it was assumed that large habitats – rivers and lakes – were key. Recent science has turned this idea on its head: small sites have proved to be critical biodiversity hotspots and a vital refuge for rare wetland plants and animals.

The concern raised by the scientists is that policy and legislation have not yet caught up with the science: small sites are largely omitted from monitoring programmes and there is little focus on, or funding for, their restoration and creation.

This is both a problem and a missed opportunity.

There is worrying evidence that biodiversity in small sites may be declining faster than in larger waters caused by a mixture of pollution and poor management. Since tiny ponds and streams are often the only freshwater habitats in countryside landscapes, there is concern that their decline will lead to unprecedented loss of freshwater biodiversity on a landscape scale.

 

NRW flies high to capture 3D Wales - Natural Resources Wales

A project, managed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) on behalf of the Welsh Government, is taking to the sky to create a high-resolution 3D map of the whole of Wales.

Aerial survey company Bluesky International Ltd, using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), will capture every nook and cranny of the Welsh landscape.

The project was launched last winter, but most of the survey work will start this week (1/12/2020).

Using a Cessna 404 plane, some 50 flights are planned over the next two winters. The flights, and their routes, will depend on weather conditions.

The data can only be captured in the winter months, when trees are without leaves, to ensure the most accurate survey of the ground.

NRW aims to compile all the data by the end of the winter 2022, if conditions are favourable.

The new, complete dataset will then be owned and made publicly available by the Welsh Government.

It will help, for example, to manage flood risk, conserve habitats and biodiversity, manage natural resources and land use, develop infrastructure, monitor pollution, generate power and respond to climate change.

Paul Isaac, Project Manager, said: “Historically, LiDAR data has been gathered over Wales at various points in time from the 1990s onwards. The datasets were collected for different reasons, which means a patchwork of data exists which is inconsistent in terms of technology, coverage and resolution. Many of the high altitude, mountainous areas have not been captured at all, with key habitats and ecosystems remaining unmapped. Once completed we will have a fantastic resource for planners, landowners, conservationists, foresters, developers, engineers, teachers, academics and many others.”

 

 

Farming and Agriculture

Two decades of nature friendly farming see bird numbers soar more than ten times - RSPB

Conservation achievement infographic (RSPB)
RSPB

Farmland covers 75% of the UK making it vital in the fight to reverse nature’s decline

Twenty years of nature-friendly farming at the RSPB’s Hope Farm has shown that with the right support it possible to produce healthy food that’s good for people, the climate and our wildlife. However, the future of farming and the incredible wildlife that call our farmlands home hangs in the balance as the UK Government has started drawing up new plans rowing back on pledges made to farmers and for nature.

Adopting nature-friendly farming techniques, the RSPB’s Hope Farm in Cambridgeshire has demonstrated it is possible to reverse the declines in farmland wildlife and maintain a sustainable and profitable business if farmers are given the right support.

On the farm in Cambridgeshire, wildlife numbers have skyrocketed over the past two decades, while the business has continued to maintain a steady profit. Simple actions such as growing wildflowers, creating ponds, improving soils and cutting out insecticides boosted wildlife, show how the future for farming and nature in the UK could look.

Butterfly numbers are up 409%, compared to a 10% decrease nationally since 1990, and there are 19 times as many bumblebees on Hope Farm than a nearby control farm. There are now regular sightings of endangered farm birds such as the lapwing, grey partridge, linnet and yellow wagtail, which were never recorded on the farm 20 years ago, and winter farmland birds are up by more than1,200%.

With the England Agriculture Bill returning to the House of Commons this month, the RSPB is urging the UK Government to draw on this experience to guide the development of new agriculture legislation and nature-friendly farming schemes in England.

Jenna Hegarty, RSPB Deputy Director for Conservation said: “The government must wake up and smell the coffee – Hope Farm has proved our farms can become havens for wildlife and maintain profit if farmers are given the right support. We have reached a fork in the road – the UK Government can rebrand failed policy and face another lost decade for nature. Or they can seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way we farm; supporting and rewarding farmers for protecting our precious wildlife. The stakes could not be higher. The UK Government must stand by its promise to rewrite the future for farming and nature to help revive our world.”

 

Landmark Agriculture Bill becomes law - Defra

Transformative legislation setting out how farmers and land managers in England will be rewarded in future with public money for “public goods” passes into law

Legislation that will unleash the potential of agriculture has passed into UK law today (11 November).

The Government’s landmark Agriculture Bill was introduced to Parliament in January this year, providing a boost to industry after years of inefficient and overly bureaucratic policy dictated to farmers by the EU. The Bill will empower our farmers and land managers, and make sure that we can reward them properly for the good work that they do. The Bill will help farmers stay competitive, increase productivity, invest in new technology and seek a fairer return from the marketplace.

Beginning next year, farmers will have a seven year transition period to adapt to a new agricultural system. Further details will be announced in late November.

The Agriculture Bill sets out how farmers and land managers in England will be rewarded in the future with public money for “public goods” – such as better air and water quality, thriving wildlife, soil health, or measures to reduce flooding and tackle the effects of climate change, under the Environmental Land Management scheme. These incentives will provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and our commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

This new system will replace the poorly targeted Basic Payment Scheme subsidy system, which largely pays farmers for the total amount of land farmed and has skewed payments towards the largest landowners, rather than rewarding farmers for any specific public benefits.

 

National Trust's reaction to the Agricultural Bill - National Trust

The Agricultural Bill received its Royal Assent in Parliament today - 11 November 2020. Read our reaction.

Rosie Hails, Nature and Science Director at the National Trust says: “This is the most important piece of farming legislation for decades and we particularly welcome the Government’s commitment to begin the transition to the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme next year. This will play a critical part in helping meet the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and the Government’s net zero carbon target by 2050. The principle of public money for public goods at the Act’s heart provides an opportunity to put sustainable farming, nature, landscape and the enhancement of our countryside at the core of land management, making sure farmers and land managers are properly rewarded for the public benefits that managing the countryside can deliver alongside producing food. However, the onus is now on Government to deliver and there needs to be more clarity around the long-term objectives and funding for the ELM scheme, as well as more detail on how regulation and the wider package of farming policies can complement and sustain this new direction. The current proposals appear to offer short term benefits with little thought of how to sustain the changes long term, so there is a danger of repeating the mistakes made under CAP. Now that the legal basis has been set, all eyes will be on the government to ensure that reality matches the ambition that we’ve heard about.”

 

Flood management brought into ELMs ‘test and trial’ - Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Upper Wharefdale, near Cray, where the potential for paying farmers for Natural Flood Management via ELMs is being explored. Credit Janet Richardson
Upper Wharefdale, near Cray, where the potential for paying farmers for Natural Flood Management via ELMs is being explored. Credit Janet Richardson

National Trust tenant farmers in the Yorkshire Dales National Park are helping to pave the way to public payments for natural flood management interventions on farmland.

A report published today by the Yorkshire ‘Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme’ (iCASP) describes how farmers in Malham, Wharfedale, Wensleydale and Swaledale have been engaged to develop natural flood management ‘outcome measures and monitoring approaches’.

‘Slowing the flow’ in the uplands to prevent flooding downstream is seen as a key element of the government’s forthcoming ‘public money for public goods’ Environmental Land Management scheme (ELMs)

The farmers were already testing a ‘Payment for Outcomes’ scheme focused on pollinators when it was extended to include natural flood management. The scheme is one of two official ELMs ‘tests and trials’ taking place in the National Park, the other being a pilot scheme in Wensleydale.

The iCASP report details how 10km2 of land on five farms was modelled for potential natural flood management measures. Farmers were then engaged to ‘ground truth’ the findings to make the most their local knowledge and ensure the measures would work with their businesses.

One of the report authors, Helen Keep, Senior Farm Conservation Officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “Intense rainfall here often causes flooding of properties, as well as damage to the land such as the washing away of footpaths. The last time it happened was earlier this month when flood waters breached many homes and brought down walls and bridges in Wensleydale and Wharfedale. High rainfall here can also cause major flooding in urban areas such as York and Leeds. There can be little doubt that paying farmers and landowners to put in natural flood management measures will bring many positive public benefits. The question is how to create a workable payment scheme.

 

Survey highlights need to build farmers’ confidence in ELMS - Country Land & Business Association

A survey has shown farmers and landowners have a strong interest in the environment and the need to tackle climate change - but they do have concerns over the lack of clarity on the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS).

The survey, carried out jointly by the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) and Strutt & Parker ahead of the first CLA Rural Powerhouse Week (November 23rd to 26th), offers an insight into how farmers and landowners feel about the shift away from Basic Payments to a new system of farm support based on the provision of ‘public goods’.

It found that 80% of respondents were concerned about losses in biodiversity and the same percentage agreed with the idea of paying land managers for producing public goods. More than half reported they were already taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and 64% said a sense of personal responsibility would motivate them to make climate change a higher priority in terms of managing their land and property.

Four out of five respondents said they were either likely or very likely to join ELMS, or an equivalent scheme, when it becomes fully available in 2024.

Environmental measures, which farmers said they were likely or very likely to sign up to as part of ELMS, included supporting pollinators by increasing pollen and nectar sources (78%), providing seed habitats to support woodland birds over winter (73%) and tree planting to absorb carbon (57%).

However, there were lower levels of support for options such as growing energy crops (25%) or planting trees to slow flood waters (35%). Respondents also signalled that they did have concerns about how ELMS will operate.

The survey found:

 

 

Arboriculture, Forestry and Trees

134,000 trees to be planted through Urban Tree Challenge Fund - Defra

Winning projects of second round of £10 million fund will plant thousands of trees in our towns and cities.

More than 50 projects led by community and volunteer groups, councils and individuals have been awarded a share of a £10 million pot to increase tree numbers in urban areas through small-scale planting projects.

The funding has been awarded as part of the second and final round of the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund.

The second round will result in the planting of over 84,000 trees in towns and cities across England. The new trees will provide benefits to health and wellbeing, connect people with the outdoors, improve biodiversity, as well as play a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

Today’s announcement means that there will be a combined total of up to 134,000 new trees planted across England’s towns and cities, which surpasses the Fund’s original target to plant 130,000 trees.

 

National Tree Week with a difference - University of Cumbria

As the nation celebrates its trees a South Cumbrian mission to reintroduce threatened species has pledged to plant upwards of 4,600 rare aspens.

With National Tree week running from November 28 to December 6, the Back on our Map (BOOM) project plans to start work with inmates at HMP Haverigg Prison to establish sapling growing nurseries and planting areas.

BOOM’s aspen lead, Ellie Kent, said as much of the project’s community work had been postponed by Covid, the prison’s input had been invaluable and a lot of hard work had gone on behind the scenes to prepare a nature garden for aspen and other native species.

She explained: “While the Tree Council’s big national week of activities has been curtailed this year, thanks to National Lottery players, BOOM’s far-reaching four-year introduction programme for 10 threatened species continues.”

Led by University of Cumbria, with Morecambe Bay Partnership spearheading community involvement, the aim is to roll out pioneering actions encouraging people to reconnect with nature across South Cumbria.

Aspen are crucial as no other British tree supports more biodiversity, said Ms Kent. Once common across Cumbria, land use changes and increased grazing have left only a few isolated strands.

She added: “We are determined to plant as many as possible in key areas. Their extensive root systems mean they bind soil together, slowing water and reducing flooding.”

 

Friends of the Earth reveals local opportunities to boost woodland - Friends of the Earth

Dozens of Local Authority Areas have the potential for doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled woodland cover

Environmental campaigners mark National Tree Week (30th November – 6th December) with map of local woodland creation opportunities across the country 

Woodland cover in England could be doubled from current national level of 10%, without impact on important habitats and high value farmland

Dozens of Local Authority Areas have the potential for doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled woodland cover

Friends of the Earth and mapping consultancy Terra Sulis, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, have launched the first ever map of existing and potential woodland in every local authority in England.

Ahead of National Tree Week (30th November to 6th December), the mapping shows the possibility of doubling woodland cover in England from its current level of 10% without encroaching on high-value arable farmland, Priority Habitats, peat bogs or protected nature sites. Much of the opportunity for woodland is low grade pastureland, which means it’s crucial that government supports farmers to grow more trees on their land.

Northumberland was found to hold the most promise of any local authority, with 77,000 hectares of potential woodland. The other top opportunity areas for woodland creation included Cornwall (73,000ha), Shropshire (47,000ha), and Eden District (43,000ha). Woodland plans are in place for some of these areas.

 

Downs National Park goes from strength to strength - South Downs National Park

More than 8,000 trees are being planted across the South Downs this winter after the Trees for the Downs campaign smashed its fundraising target.

And now, thanks to a grant of £75,000 from South East Water, Trees for the Downs will be able to continue for the next five years with the aim of planting tens of thousands more trees.

The inspiring campaign launched during National Tree Week last November and has so far raised over £65,000 from generous donations from the public and donors. The initiative was launched by the South Downs National Park Trust to restore trees that have been lost over the past few decades, including those to Ash Dieback and Dutch Elm Disease.

Trees for the Downs was only set to run for one year, but the additional funding and support of South East Water, on top of the £65,000, means the campaign can continue for the next five years.

Significant tree planting will now take place over subsequent winters at sites across the region, bringing new habitat for wildlife, helping to restore soils and giving amenity value to local communities.

 

 

Green Recovery and Funding

Capacity-building grants for environmental charities in Wales - Heritage Lottery Fund

We have teamed up with the Welsh Government to offer grants between £5,000–£100,000 to pay for business skills training for Welsh environmental non-governmental organisations (eNGOs).

The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, launched the Green Recovery Capacity Building Scheme on Monday 23 November.

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said: “We are very glad to be working with the Welsh Government to enable us to deliver the Green Recovery Capacity Building Scheme to support environmental charities in Wales at this particularly challenging time. The funding will go towards supporting these organisations to build their resilience through business skills training. Developing skills such as governance, financial resilience and project management will ensure that they can flourish and improve the services they deliver.”

 

Taskforce launches action plan towards a green and just COVID-19 recovery for Wales - Natural Resources Wales

Communities across Wales can lead the charge on a bold and rapid green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by placing the circular economy and the climate and nature emergencies at its heart.

This is the overarching call to action of the ‘Green Recovery: Priorities for Action’ report presented to the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths today (3 December) which outlines the practical and prioritised actions that will inform Wales’ sustainable pathway out of the coronavirus pandemic.

The report is authored by the green recovery task and finish group, chaired by the Chair of Natural Resources Wales Sir David Henshaw, and established at the direction of the Minister in July 2020.

Also published today is an independent report that examines the stability and resilience of the environmental sector in Wales and aims to inform the wider discussion about how best to support the sector to create the opportunities for a truly ‘green recovery’.

The task and finish group was charged with developing big ideas that could be taken forward in the short and medium term as part of Wales’ recovery from the pandemic - ideas that link the circular economy and the climate and nature emergencies with job creation, inclusive and fair economic growth, and other development priorities.

168 proposals were received following the call for big ideas from the task and finish group. These were received from a cross-section of society including community groups, social enterprises, charities, public bodies, private companies and environmental groups across Wales.

The ideas ranged from micro-projects within a town or village, to initiatives spanning local authority boundaries or those that take a pan-Wales approach.

 

Huge potential for nature-based jobs boost - NatureScot

A new report has revealed the huge opportunity for nature-based jobs to help Scotland secure a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and support the transition towards a net-zero economy.

NatureScot’s analysis of nature-based jobs across Scotland identifies for the first time the opportunities and barriers facing the sector, looking at the historic picture as well as forecasting future trends.

The report shows that nature-based jobs already make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy, amounting to at least 195,000 jobs or 7.5% of Scotland’s workforce in 2019.

The sector grew at more than five times the rate of all jobs in Scotland in the period 2015-19, accounting for one third of all job growth in Scotland over the period.

Significant further growth in nature-based jobs is anticipated, as efforts to meet Scotland’s net zero targets increase.

A five-fold increase in peatland restoration, near doubling of tree planting and additional investment in the Woodland and Peatland Carbon Codes, along with other mechanisms for carbon off-setting, all point to an expansion of employment.

Nature-based roles are also expected to develop quickly in emerging areas such as urban green infrastructure and green finance.

The report reveals the great potential for rural and island economies, where most nature-based jobs are located. Almost a third (30.2%) of new nature-based jobs could arise in island and remote areas, and 62.2% in mainly rural areas – offering potential solutions to the challenges of depopulation and out-migration of working age people.

Read the report here

 

 

Scientific Research

Unlocking the therapeutic and commercial potential of Ireland’s historic boglands - Trinity College Dublin

An innovative, ground-breaking project at Trinity College is set to harness the untapped pharmaceutical potential of Ireland’s historic boglands, following receipt of significant funding.

The project “Unlocking Nature’s Pharmacy from Bogland Species” is focused on identifying the potential therapeutic and commercial uses of native Irish bog plants, distinctive bog waters and the microbiome of unique bogland species. The discovery and sustainable production of which would be of enormous social, cultural and economic significance to the local regions and the country.

This exploratory interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary project led by Dr Helen Sheridan, Associate Professor of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Director of NatPro Centre for Natural Products Research and Fellow of Trinity College was awarded €6m funding from the IIP programme at the Department of Justice.

Dr Sheridan said: “The general public are aware of the threat to the world’s rainforests, the reduction of biodiversity and the potential disappearance of undiscovered medicines and natural molecules. This same threat to biodiversity applies in Ireland, particularly to our boglands, which constitute an enormous natural national resource and heritage. These ancient, rich and fertile landscapes are sole custodians of a varied and unique biodiversity that has accumulated over many millions of years, as species evolved in these distinct environments. Compellingly, a number of these plants have historic documented use in Irish Traditional Medicine for a variety of preventative and therapeutic indications. We are at the beginning of an incredibly exciting journey. We have the opportunity to apply the lens of modern science to ancient tradition, and to transform those learnings into future scientific practice, all through the exploration of this fertile uncharted territory in our own backyard. As Seamus Heaney said, ‘Our pioneers keep striking inwards and downwards’.

Combining phytochemical, metabolomic, molecular biology and botanical approaches, researchers will identify key chemical entities or compounds with activity that can then be targeted at priority health areas of unmet need including inflammatory, auto-immune, viral and neurodegenerative disease. In addition, the project will aim to identify natural insect repellent and pest control solutions (for diseases such as – Malaria, Chagas disease, Zika virus) and commercial products in the healthcare and wellbeing sectors.”

 

New research reveals widespread contamination of English rivers with pesticides commonly used as flea treatments - University of Sussex

Damselfly, taken by Prof Dave Goulson
Damselfly, taken by Prof Dave Goulson

Researchers at the University of Sussex have found widespread contamination of English rivers with two neurotoxic pesticides commonly used in veterinary flea products: fipronil and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. The concentrations found often far exceeded accepted safe limits.

These chemicals are banned for agricultural use due to the adverse environmental effects, but there is minimal environmental risk assessment for pesticides used on domestic cats and dogs. This is due to the assumption that there are likely to be fewer environmental impacts due to the amount of product used.

But there is growing concern that this assumption may be incorrect. To investigate this, Professor Dave Goulson and Rosemary Perkins from the University of Sussex analysed data gathered by the Environment Agency in English waterways between 2016-18. They found that fipronil was detected in 98% of freshwater samples, and imidacloprid in 66%.

Rosemary Perkins, a PhD student at Sussex and a qualified vet, said: “The use of pet parasite products has increased over the years, with millions of dogs and cats now being routinely treated multiple times per year. Fipronil is one of the most commonly used flea products, and recent studies have shown that it degrades to compounds that are more persistent in the environment, and more toxic to most insects, than fipronil itself. Our results, showing that fipronil and its toxic breakdown products are present in nearly all of the freshwater samples tested, are extremely concerning.”

According to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), who funded the research, there are 66 licensed veterinary products containing fipronil in the UK, and 21 containing imidacloprid, either alone or in combination with other parasiticides. These include spot-on solutions, topical sprays and collars impregnated with the active ingredient.

 

Scottish scientists join call for decade-long deep sea study - University of Glasgow

Trawl sampling in the North East Atlantic (image: University of Glasgow)
Trawl sampling in the North East Atlantic (image: University of Glasgow)

The deep seas – vast expanses of water and seabed hidden more than 200 metres below the ocean surface to depths up to 11,000 metres – are recognised globally as an important frontier of science and discovery.

But despite the fact they account for around 60% of Earth’s surface area, large areas remain completely unexplored, yet the habitats they support impact on the health of the entire planet.

Now an international team of scientists spanning 45 institutions in 17 countries, including two researchers from Scotland, has called for a dedicated decade-long programme of research to greatly advance discovery in these remote regions.

The programme – which scientists have named Challenger 150 – will coincide with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which runs from 2021-2030.

Challenger 150 will generate new geological, physical, biogeochemical, and biological data through a global cooperative of science and innovation, including the application of new technology. These data will be used to understand how changes in the deep sea impact the wider ocean and life on the planet.

Among its key areas of focus are to build greater capacity and diversity in the scientific community, acknowledging the fact that existing deep-sea research is conducted primarily by developed nations with access to resources and infrastructure.

The programme will use this new knowledge of the deep to support regional, national, and international decision-making on deep-sea issues such as mining, hydrocarbon extraction, fishing, climate mitigation, laying of fibre optic cables and conservation.

 

 

Scientific Publications

Soriano-Redondo, A., Gutiérrez, J.S., Hodgson, D. et al. Migrant birds and mammals live faster than residents. Nat Commun 11, 5719 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19256-0

 

Oldekop, J.A., Rasmussen, L.V., Agrawal, A. et al. Forest-linked livelihoods in a globalized world. Nat. Plants (2020). doi.org/10.1038/s41477-020-00814-

Javier Antunez-Sanchez, Matthew Naish, Juan Sebastian Ramirez-Prado, Sho Ohno, Ying Huang, Alexander Dawson, Korawit Opassathian, Deborah Manza-Mianza, Federico Ariel et al A new role for histone demethylases in the maintenance of plant genome integrity eLife 2020;9:e58533 DOI: 10.7554/eLife.58533

   

Duncan EM, Davies A, Brooks A, Chowdhury GW, Godley BJ, et al. (2020) Message in a bottle: Open source technology to track the movement of plastic pollution. PLOS ONE 15(12): e0242459. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242459

 

 

Ecology and Biodiversity

Avon Wildlife Trust are delighted at North Somerset Council’s recent Declaration of an Ecological Emergency - Avon Wildlife Trust

North Somerset Council’s declaration of an Ecological Emergency at their Council meeting on Tuesday 10 November signals another positive step for nature and wildlife in Avon.

Avon Wildlife Trust has been calling on Councils across the West of England to declare an ecological emergency and take urgent action to reverse declines in wildlife and restore the natural systems on which we all depend.

North Somerset Council’s declaration recognises that the survival of our society and economy depends absolutely on the health of the natural environment and ecosystems and identifies a wide range of causes of the ecological emergency, including pollution, urbanisation, hydrological change, the proliferation of invasive species, and poor practices in agriculture, woodland management and fishing. It sets out the approach the Council will take to resist destruction of habitats, enrich the environment and increase biodiversity, including through planning policy, development management and collaborative action.

This declaration follows North Somerset Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in February 2019. It recognises that the climate and ecological emergencies are linked as they are both the result of over-exploitation of the earth’s resources and poor land management and resolves to tackle the “climate and nature emergencies” together.

Action on these twin emergencies will aid in nature’s recovery in North Somerset and the surrounding area and we look forward to working with the North Somerset Council to improve the natural environment for the benefit of wildlife, climate and people.

 

Charity attempts largest transplant of ancient and rare lichen in efforts to protect its future - The National Trust

lichen held on tree by black mesh
The endangered Lobaria Pumonaria lichen - found in the Lake District. Credit National Trust & Stuart Walker

The National Trust is attempting to save one of England’s rarest ancient lichens by removing it from a fallen veteran oak tree in the Lake District and transferring it to dozens of nearby trees.

The lungwort lichen, Lobaria pulmonaria, a characteristic of the wildwoods that started establishing after the last ice age, has become increasingly rare in England since the 18th century as a result of air pollution and habitat loss.

Although historically prolific, this old growth species of lichen is currently surviving at only a handful of sites in the Lakes where its presence has traditionally been an indicator of a healthy woodland.

The process, known as translocation, involves carefully removing it from the host tree, before reattaching to new trees by a range of means including wire mesh to hold it in place, staples or even glue. Without doing this, the lichen would die.

The transfer is the largest ever attempt made by the National Trust in partnership with the British Lichen Society, Cumbria Lichen & Bryophyte Group and Plantlife, almost three square metres was removed and transplanted on dozens of different trees across Borrowdale, resulting in over 100 translocations.

 

Seeds of hope: Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank celebrates 20 years with 2.4 billion seeds banked - Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

2.4 billion seeds have been collected by scientists in huge global conservation effort

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), the world’s largest wild plant seed bank and home to some of the planet’s most important natural resources today celebrates its 20th anniversary. The seed bank, opened in November 2000, and located at Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex, acts as an ‘insurance policy’ for rare, threatened and useful plants, so that they can be protected for generations to come.

pickup with door open stopped on gravel road in moutains with people crouched in the verge gathering seeds.
Sudden stop for Senecio adenophyllus seed collection, 4700m. Peru. Credit Daniel Montesinos Tubée.

20 years on from its opening, the MSB represents the largest wild seed conservation project in the world, with 2.4 billion seeds from 39,681 species, sourced from 190 countries and territories. When counting the collections held across the global partnership, the MSB and its partners have helped protect 46,664 species – 16% of the world’s seed-bearing plants.
Created at the turn of the new millennium, this ‘Noah’s ark’ for plants, has never played such a critical role. As the planet faces a biodiversity crisis, with two-fifths of the world’s plants at risk of disappearing, the MSB, along with its global partners are absolutely vital to keeping vulnerable and economically important plants safe. Whilst the Norwegian seed bank Svalbard stores seeds of the world’s crops, the MSB banks wild plants, including some of the relatives of our major food crops – these seeds make a vital contribution to global targets such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular goal 2: zero hunger, goal 13: climate action and goal 15: life on land.

 

New study identifies woodland management practices that are good for Britain’s bats - British Trust for Ornithology

New research, just published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management, has assessed bat populations across broadleaved woodlands managed in different ways. The work not only reveals the management practices that are good for bats, but also highlights those structural characteristics that are beneficial to individual bat species.

Changes in woodland management have been linked to declines in birds and other wildlife but we know little about the impacts of such changes on our bat populations. All 17 bat species found breeding in the UK use woodlands and many are reliant on semi-natural broadleaved woodland. Because of the increasing pressures on our woodlands and their bat populations it is essential that we improve our understanding of how different types of woodland management affect their use by bats.

Lead author Danny Alder used special acoustic recorders to capture the echolocation and other calls made by bats using the study sites. Through this he was able to identify the species involved and could then measure their activity across the different woodland habitats. Danny collected data on the structural features of the woodlands, many of which are the result of the management practices used. Features like the degree of canopy cover, tree size, density of the understorey and the amount of standing dead wood can influence a woodland’s suitability to bats.

Eleven bat species were identified, including the rare Barbastelle, and there were clear differences between the different woodland management types in terms of both occupancy by bats and their activity. ‘Irregular High Forest’, a woodland type where the forest ecosystem is maintained intact by selective felling and characterised by its mixed-sized trees and complex structure, had the richest bat community and highest occupancy rates for most bat species.

The study demonstrates how features associated with Irregular High Forest stands, including deadwood, understorey structure, open canopy areas and larger tree size, seemed to benefit multiple bat species across different foraging guilds. Barbastelle – a low-level forager – was significantly associated with areas of more open canopy across all of the different stand management types, though with highest occupancy in the Irregular High Forest stands. The importance of this, and the other features highlighted, should be taken into account when considering how best to manage woodland for bats.

 

 

Breaking new ground with eco drive to bring the country’s verges to life - Highways England

Highways England is driving a new initiative which will have wide-reaching benefits for the environment and biodiversity – and the answer lies in the soil.

The company has announced a step change in the way it improves roads, which will breathe new life and colour into the verges and land around the country’s motorways and major roads – a policy which will cover hundreds of miles in the second road investment period.

The key is creating the type of soils on the verges and roadsides which encourage the growth of wildflowers. More fertile areas with lots of topsoil - rich in potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen - favour aggressive grasses, dock and nettle, which are all fast-growing plants that can out-compete delicate wildflowers for water, nutrients, space and light.

On all major schemes, contractors are now being instructed to follow a new Low Nutrient Grasslands policy aimed at keeping away the ‘bullying’ plant species which love high nutrient soil, and allowing wildflowers to thrive, creating vital habitat for insects and other wildlife.

Highways England Environmental Advisor Ben Hewlett said: Our new policy means we’ll create more biodiverse new grasslands as standard. And as 97% of all species rich grasslands have been lost in the last century, it is great to think that our construction design standards could create substantial areas of biodiverse grasslands, stretching throughout England. This is another great example of how we are moving away from simply minimising the impact of our work on the environmental impacts towards actually improving the environment through our work. The increase in wildflowers and wider biodiversity should also provide some impressive visual displays, and help to connect people with nature and improve the wellbeing of millions of people using our roads every day.

Wildflowers thrive on low nutrient soil and the new policy is focused around the management of topsoil – or rather removing it from new grassland areas to lower the nutrient level, creating the perfect conditions for the flowers.

 

Horror at destruction of nationally important UK river - The Wildlife Trusts

View of the clearance of the River Lugg, Herefordshire (image: The Wildlife Trusts)
View of the clearance of the River Lugg, Herefordshire (image: The Wildlife Trusts)

Major damage to River Lugg in Herefordshire will be test case for Government commitment to strengthen wildlife protection.

The River Lugg, in Herefordshire, one of the most beautiful and important rivers in the UK, has been intentionally destroyed over a stretch of approximately 1.5km with huge repercussions for wildlife downstream. Herefordshire Wildlife Trust has discovered that the river and its banks have been bulldozed, straightened and reprofiled into a sterile canal, with all bankside and riverside habitats completely obliterated.

The Lugg flows from its source in Powys through Herefordshire before meeting the River Wye just outside Hereford. Its riverbanks, gravels and beds of water crowfoot are home to crayfish, otters and salmon, lampreys and dragonflies and a host of rare river wildlife. The river is so important for willdife that it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in its lower reaches. This should give it multiple layers of protection, with statutory agencies such as Natural England, the Environment Agency, Forestry Commission and Herefordshire Council all given a statutory duty to protect the river from harm.

 

Outdoor and Environmental Education

Outdoor learning gains new prominence amid pandemic - Natural Resources Wales

children playing in autumn leaves
Outdoor Learning by Soughton Primary School (image: NRW)

Schools and educational settings across Wales are taking to the outdoors to deliver the curriculum and improve health and well-being as educators continue to adapt their ways of teaching during the coronavirus pandemic.

Senedd Cymru has advocated that outdoor learning should play a central role in minimising the risk of transmission in education settings. It’s ‘Keep Education Safe’ post-lockdown guidance for schools and settings as they reopened, recommended that the time learners spend outdoors should be maximised.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which supports and facilitates outdoor learning, has seen a surge of interest and demand for training and resources. Enrolment on NRW’s professional learning courses has gone up six fold this year, with over 400 educators trained on-line in October and November alone.

Sue Williams, NRW’s Lead Specialist Advisor for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning & Skills said: “It is really promising to see such an increase in the number of teachers and other educators wanting to embrace the benefits that outdoor learning has to offer. Our courses are there to support learning groups to deliver cross curricula learning outdoors. The feedback from teachers and educators has been really positive.”

 

UK Outdoors welcomes government’s roadmap to restarting outdoor education at Easter 2021 - Outdoor Industries Association

UK Outdoors, the industry body for outdoor learning, today (27 November) welcomes the Government’s decision to put a roadmap in place to restart the sector in Easter 2021.

From next week, UK Outdoors, as part of the newly formed School Travel Sector Stakeholder Group (STSSG), will be working with the Department for Education and building the roadmap for the restart of residentials in Easter 2021, including:

  1. A full framework for the safe reintroduction of domestic residential visits
  2. Approval of sector COVID-safe protocols
  3. Public Health England’s scientific guidance
  4. Interim holiday cancellation insurance
  5. Raising the profile of outdoor education’s positive contribution to children’s wellbeing across Government Departments and External Organisations

UK Outdoors also welcomes the recognition of the contribution of outdoor education in the Government’s updated guidance, which stated: “we recognise the enormous benefits overnight residential educational visits can provide and the expertise and skills of those working in this sector that enable students to benefit from those visits.”

By the time of restarting, the outdoor education sector will have gone for over a year with no meaningful revenue, unlike almost every other industry in the UK through this pandemic. Over 6,000 permanent jobs have already been lost, with some centres and the other 9,000 jobs still at risk without additional support. UK Outdoors will be making representations to Government about the extent of those at risk and proposing options for further support for some centres.

 

 

Let's finish with some winners - congratulations to all.

NBN Award winners 2020 announced - National Biodiversity Network

Xander Johnston – winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2020
Xander Johnston – winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2020

The winners and runners up of the NBN Awards for Wildlife Recording 2020 were announced at an online ceremony on Wednesday 18 November 2020.

These national Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contributions adults and young people are making to wildlife recording and data sharing, which is helping to improve our understanding of the UK’s biodiversity.

There are five Award categories:
• NBN Young Person’s Award (open to individuals aged 11-20)
• NBN Newcomer Award (open to individuals 21 years +)
• NBN Award for wildlife recording – Marine (open to individuals 21 years +)
• NBN Award for wildlife recording – Terrestrial (open to individuals 21 years +)
• NBN Group Award (no age restrictions)

NBN Young Person’s Award 2020

Xander Johnston, (age 14, from Aviemore, Scotland) is the winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2020.

He was one of the Youth Ambassadors involved in the 2019 State of Nature report. Xander’s enthusiasm for nature is infectious and his presentation skills match those of a seasoned professional nature presenter.

Xander uses his own YouTube channel to promote the importance of insects as well as educating viewers on ‘how to rewild your garden’ or ‘how to make an insect hotel’.

Over the past three years, Xander has recorded over 800 hours of volunteering, surveying, and recording for a number of different projects and he has identified many new sites for rare insects.

Xander Johnston, winner of the NBN Young Person’s Award 2020, says: “Biological surveying and recording has been such a large part of my life since moving to the Scottish highlands 6 years ago. Specialising in insects, which I believe to be the foundation of the whole ecosystem, I believe that my surveying and recording is my way of contributing towards scientists restoring the natural world. It is also really exciting when I manage to find some of the more rare species which I survey for, which most people don’t ever get the opportunity to experience. Finally, to top it all off, being outdoors is not only great for my physical health but also my mental health!”

 

Winning videos launched for ‘In Tune with Nature’ lockdown contest - NatureScot

sand dunes at Forvie bathed in pink light.
Forvie National Nature Reserve (Image: SNH)

Stunning videos, featuring award-winning compositions inspired by Scotland’s national nature reserves, are being released today by NatureScot and Highland arts organisation, Fèis Rois.

The first competition of its kind in Scotland encouraged entrants to connect with nature by writing music inspired by the coasts and waters of Scotland’s beautiful nature reserves, as part of the celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

The 11 music videos are being launched online to help connect people to nature through music. The competition, In Tune With Nature / Air Ghleus le Nàdar, was judged by a panel of well-known faces from the Scottish music industry, including Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis; BBC broadcaster and journalist Vic Galloway; Scottish Music Centre Director Gill Maxwell; and singer-songwriter Karine Polwart. Compositions entered ranged from classical to pop with songs written in Gaelic, Scots, Shetland dialect and English.

To watch the In Tune With Nature films, please visit https://bit.ly/3f4JM53 .

 

 

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If it's time sensitive we can embargo the details to a specific date, let us know when you'd like it to be published. 

 


Training.

Browse the Training Directory online here for short courses (up to 10 days long), or here for longer courses, distance learning and centres and providers

The Directory includes a wide range of courses providing certification in practical skills such as chainsaw use, need to learn how to identify dragonflies, or want to find out the best way to get the community involved in your project then this is the section to read.    We include details of many professional courses in the online short courses pages. There are also sections for longer courses, training centres and other events (eg conferences).

Search for your next CPD course here.

 


Recently added online events and learning including calendar of short courses happening in February 2021

 

Online Events

03/02/2021 Trees, People and the Built Environment 4 at Online 2 Days

Institute of Chartered Foresters Contact: c-js.info/35AYTQh

 

Online Learning - Short Courses

07/12/2020 Monitoring Garden Wildlife Health Using Citizen Science 1 hour Days

Online, Field Studies Council biolinks@field-studies-council.org c-js.info/2Y0kn5L

This talk will explore how Citizen Science can be used to monitor the health of, and identify disease threats, to British wildlife, using the example of the Garden Wildlife Health project, which focuses on garden birds, hedgehogs, reptiles and amphibians.

Free

08/12/2020 QGIS: Advanced (Online) 12 hours Days

Online, GeoData, University of Southampton +44 (0)23 8059 2719 training@geodata.soton.ac.uk c-js.info/2PvT68q

This course is intended for those who have either completed our Introduction to QGIS course or have equivalent knowledge and experience. Delegates are introduced to advanced analysis techniques using both raster and vector data. The course is run via a series of zoom video calls.

Cost £425

10/12/2020 Ecological Report Writing 2 Days

Online via Zoom, CIEEM 01962 868626 enquiries@cieem.net c-js.info/3koVs48

This training course will cover how to produce good quality ecological reports, for species and habitat surveys and Preliminary Ecological Appraisals (PEAs), following CIEEM’s 'Guidelines for Ecological Report Writing' (part of the Technical Guidance Series).

Cost Varies: see website

14/12/2020 Identifying Trees and Shrubs in Winter 0.5 Day

Online, The Species Recovery Trust 01722 322539 dominic.price@speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk www.speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk/

Identifying Trees and Shrubs in Winter - Tutor: Dominic Price, co-author of the FSC Aidgap Winter Trees Guide. A half-day online course giving participants:  the skills and confidence to identify trees and shrubs when not in leaf; a set of c.20 labelled UK native twigs posted to your address prior to the course; a free copy of the FSC Aidgap Winter Trees guide.

Cost £50 (inc. set of twigs and book)

14/12/2020 Endangered Species Recovery 5 Days

Online, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust academy@durrell.org c-js.info/34jVxzl

A unique, specially designed course, delivered by world-renowned experts and scientists in the field of Endangered Species Recovery (ESR). This five-day, online interactive learning experience introduces the issues and practical skills involved in saving threatened species from extinction. You will develop a critical understanding of biodiversity conservation, the issues it raises and how they may be addressed, as well as practical research skills to inform conservation action.

Cost £450

14/01/2021 Introduction to Bats and Bat Survey 2 Days

Online via Zoom, CIEEM 01962 868626 enquiries@cieem.net c-js.info/37C9sEp

This course will provide a look at primary legislation in relation to bats (Scotland focused), important bat identification features and key aspects of bat ecology. A range of roost types for different species will be discussed and pointers will be given on what to look out for in roost identification.

Cost Varies: see website

15/01/2021 Apple tree Pruning - Online 1 Day

Online, Surrey Wildlife Trust 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk c-js.info/35Lg41V

Join tutor Paul Ritchie in learning the best ways to time your pruning, physically trim your trees to conserve their appearance and ensure you get optimal fruit production whilst prolonging their life.

Cost £5 members/£47 non-members

09/02/2021 Around Britain in 25 Grasses 1 Day Online

Grasses, sedges and rushes are crucial indicator species for a range of habitats, both telling you the vegetation type you are in, but also its quality and how well it is being managed. Despite this, many people struggle with their ID, partly due to an absence of large showy flowers.

This course will focus on 5 key species from 5 habitats - improved, calcareous and acid grassland/heath, mire and woodland.

Cost £37

09/02/2021 Around Britain in 25 Bryophytes 1 Day Online

Bryophytes often make up the final frontier in botanical knowledge, and though many people find and admire them, putting a name on them can be a different matter! This course will run over 25 of the most common mosses and liverworts encountered in lowland Britain.

Cost £37

Above two courses with The Species Recovery Trust. Contact: 01722 322539 bookings@speciesrecoverytrust.org.uk c-js.info/3nyGj1z

23/03/2021 QGIS: Advanced (Online) 12 hours Days

Online, GeoData, University of Southampton +44 (0)23 8059 2719 training@geodata.soton.ac.uk c-js.info/2PvT68q

This course is intended for those who have either completed our Introduction to QGIS course or have equivalent knowledge and experience. Delegates are introduced to advanced analysis techniques using both raster and vector data. The course is run via a series of zoom video calls.

Cost £425

Short Courses: Face to face / on site

 

Administrative and Office Skills

09/02/2021 ArcGIS: Introductory 2 Days
Southampton, GeoData, University of Southampton. Contact: +44 (0)23 8059 2719 training@geodata.soton.ac.uk https://c-js.info/2PvT68q
This course introduces the underlying principles of Geographical Information Systems and examines the processes involved in the capture, storage, analysis and presentation of spatial data. This course is intended for those who have little or no GIS knowledge or who wish to undertake some formalized training in ArcGIS having been largely self-taught in the past.

10/02/2021 GIS: Intermediate Level 1 Day
Nower Wood Educational Nature Reserve, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Contact: 01372379523 adult.learning@surreywt.org.uk https://c-js.info/3fc7MDg
This intermediate course will build on what you learnt in any introductory courses you have taken and we will go into more detail about how to run environmental analyses, in particular to do with habitat suitability.

23/02/2021 ArcGIS: Advanced 2 Days
In this course the basic functionality of the main elements of ArcGIS (ArcMap, Catalog and ArcToolbox) is expanded upon and some extensions are introduced. Topics covered include: geodatabases; advanced labelling and symbology; advanced editing; using model builder; GIS customization with Python; extensions, online data, manipulating coordinate systems and spatial analysis/statistics tools.

25/02/2021 ArcGIS Model builder - streamlining data processing 1 Day
This one-day course provides an introduction to ArcGIS model builder and how you can use it to streamline data processing tasks. You will be introduced to ArcToolbox and gain a deeper understanding of geoprocessing tools. This course is intended for regular ArcMap users who wish to improve their technical knowledge to automate data processing.

Above two courses with GeoData, University of Southampton. Contact: 023 8059 2719 training@geodata.soton.ac.uk https://c-js.info/2PvT68q

 

Community Engagement and Environmental Education

06/02/2021 Woodland Activity Leader Training 7 Days
Findhorn, Wild things!. Contact: +441309690450 enquiries@wild-things.org.uk
If you are interested in enhancing your skills to lead groups in a woodland environment, this course will provide you with the learning and knowledge you require. Woodland Activity Leader Training is an accredited outdoor learning course and an alternative to forest school training.

06/02/2021 General Forest School and outdoor learning skills day in the woods 1 Day
Park Farm, LE67 6PD, Park Farm Training Centre. Contact: 0777585722 kate@holmsdalemanor.co.uk forestschoolcourses.co.uk
Opportunity to learn or refine skills include shelter building, knots, making furniture, rope ladders and swing, fire lighting, campfire cooking, species ID and more!

 

Countryside Management Techniques

28/02/2021 Reedbeds and Waste Water Management 1 Day
Machynlleth, Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology. Contact: 01660 704966 courses@cat.org.uk https://www.cat.org.uk/events/reedbeds-and-waste-water-management-2/
If you’re living or working in a remote location and need low impact, eco-friendly options for waste water management, CAT is the place to come for inspiration and advice. This course explores the technicalities, design and implementation of reedbeds and alternative waste water treatment systems at a domestic level.

 

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

11/02/2021 ITC Outdoor First Aid Course 2 Days
https://c-js.info/39thxfe
Our 16-hour outdoor first aid course is perfect for outdoor leaders, teachers and youth workers. A wide range of National Governing Body Awards recognises our outdoor first aid course. Including Mountain Training UK, British Canoe Union, British Cycling, Scottish Rafting Association and Sports Leaders UK.

13/02/2021 ITC Outdoor First Aid Course 2 Days
https://c-js.info/3ocY8TV
Our 16-hour outdoor first aid course is perfect for outdoor leaders, teachers and youth workers. A wide range of National Governing Body Awards recognises our outdoor first aid course. Including Mountain Training UK, British Canoe Union, British Cycling, Scottish Rafting Association and Sports Leaders UK.

19/02/2021 ITC Advanced Outdoor First Aid Course 2 Days
https://c-js.info/3fQvk0F
Do you work in a remote environment where you need to manage a casualty from a prolonged period of time? Looking to deepen your understanding of first aid? Then this course is perfect for you accredited by?ITC First?and builds on your existing basic knowledge of first aid.

Above courses at Pinkston Watersports, 75 North Canal Bank Street, Glasgow, G4 9XP with The Adventure Academy CIC. Contact: 0141?628 8521 info@theadventureacademy.org.uk

 

Horticulture and Small Holding

20/02/2021 Pruning garden shrubs and climbers 1 Day
West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Contact: 01243 818300 bookingsoffice@westdean.org.uk https://c-js.info/30aFdA0
Tutor: Stephen Smith. Pruning can often strike fear into the heart of the novice gardener, but rest assured this day covers formative, routine and renovation pruning for all types of shrubs and climbers.

 

Practical Countryside Skills

28/02/2021 Hedgelaying day 1 Day
Park Farm, LE67 6PD, Park Farm Training Centre. Contact: 0777585722 kate@holmsdalemanor.co.uk forestschoolcourses.co.uk
Learn more about hedgelaying, have a try, and take away a new skill!

 

Updates and Additions to other sections of Training Directory this month

Longer courses

Agriculture

Level 3 Advanced Technical Extended Diploma in Agriculture & Level 3 Diploma in Rural Business, Heritage & Land Management with Kingston Maurward College

Botany

Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture with Kingston Maurward College

Marine

Level 3 Diploma in Marine Aquaculture by Kingston Maurward College

Level 2 Diploma in Floristry & Level 3 Diploma in Floristry with Kingston Maurward College

 

Distance learning

PgCert/PgDip/MSc in Remote Sensing and GIS by Ulster University

Project Management for Wildlife Conservation & Strategy Development for Wildlife Conservation with WildTeam

 

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