Local Wildlife Sites at Risk, State Wildlife Trusts

  |  Published: Jan 2nd 2015

A new report from The Wildlife Trusts published Monday 22 December highlights the vulnerable status of hundreds of Local Wildlife Sites in Berks, Bucks & Oxon.

The Wildlife Trusts’ new report, Secret Spaces: The status of England’s Local Wildlife Sites 2014, draws on new evidence gathered across England, which suggests that more than 10% of the 6,590 Local Wildlife Sites monitored have been lost or damaged in the last five years. 

Matt Jackson, head of conservation policy at the Berks Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) says that Local Wildlife Sites, including some of the best places for butterflies, bees, birds and bats, have disappeared or been damaged forever, and the future for them is looking bleak.

 "Across our three counties most of the Local Wildlife Sites are privately owned and some are owned by local councils. This means Local Wildlife Sites, which have very little statutory protection but are often the hidden havens for wildlife, are extremely vulnerable.

“There is incredible pressure on councils to develop land for housing, new roads and other infrastructure; and changes to the way land is farmed is cutting the incentives for farmers to look after their Local Wildlife Sites.

“Local Wildlife Sites are the ‘Cinderellas’ of the natural environment that have been identified and selected locally by county councils and unitary authorities for their high nature conservation value.”

Buckinghamshire Local Wildlife Sites include ancient woodlands in the Chiltern Hills, such as Wendover Woods, and the acid grassland of Brill Hill.  The vast majority of the woodlands and chalk grasslands, famous for their wild flowers and the butterflies and other insects they support, are Local Wildlife Sites.

Read more on BBOWT website

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