28 May 2009

Set-aside concerns voiced…

Froglife and The Herpetological Conservation Trust join a number of the UK’s leading conservation organisations in pushing the Government to make the right decision over set-aside in the UK.

The EU’s now defunct set-aside policy inadvertently created valuable habitat for a number of species and helped keep agricultural pollutants out of waterways.

In a letter to Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the organisations outline their concern over the upcoming Government decision on set-aside.

The farming industry’s plan sees farmers encouraged to set-aside through voluntary action, something that wildlife organisations say “…will undoubtedly fail to achieve what is needed as it lacks urgency and specific targets.”

Although the signatories welcome the concept of farmers having responsibility for choosing to set-aside, they suggest that an approach to manage set-aside in return for a public subsidy would stand a much better chance of success.

The letter, signed by a number of Wildlife and Countryside Link members, comes as the period of public consultation on the issue comes to an end.

For more on the upcoming merger between Froglife and The Herpetological Conservation Trust: http://froglife-frogbites.blogspot.com/2009/04/froglife-is-metamorphosing_06.html

27 May 2009

Living Water reaches Bexley

Froglife has received funding from the Cory Ibstock Environmental Trust to extend its London Living Water project into the London Borough of Bexley, in south east London.

The project will focus on habitat creation and improvement work needed at Foots Cray Meadows which is a 97 hectare park and open green-space; a rolling landscape of ancient woodland and wildflower meadows, with the River Cray at its heart.

The site has records of Smooth Newt, Common Frog, Common Toad, and Grass Snake. In addition Great crested newts have recently been rediscovered at the site.

In the coming months Froglife will be working in partnership with the London Borough of Bexley and other local stakeholders to develop a programme of habitat work that will greatly improve the site's biodiversity value - especially for amphibians and reptiles - within the local landscape.

Froglife will be creating a more diverse mosaic of standing water and associated wetland habitat; restoring ditches, enhancing an existing old pond and creating new ponds. The work will help improve the connectivity of habitats that exist on the site, helping to create wildlife corridors.

This exciting work will also contribute to the London Standing Water Biodiversity Habitat Action Plan for which Froglife is the lead partner.

For more information and an interactive map of Froglife's work in London: www.froglife.org/london/london_map.htm