New Year, New Plans

Posted on 22nd December 2011

New Year, New Plans

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and The Wildlife Trusts are reminding people to remember wildlife when making New Year’s resolutions for 2012. Wildlife conservation in gardens is becoming increasingly important as more and more species are becoming endangered.

There are many easy and affordable ways in which to support nature in the UK. From budding city gardeners with limited outdoor space, to those with expansive lawns, New Year is a superb time to begin planning how to support wildlife and making green spaces more wildlife-friendly.

“We have seen gardeners become much more interested in the role their gardens have in helping UK wildlife,” says Helen Bostock, an RHS wildlife expert. “The New Year is the best time to plan how to make your garden more wildlife-friendly and joining the Defra-sponsored Big Garden Wildlife Competition is an excellent way to get yourself motivated.”

The charities suggest three ideas to attract wildlife:

– Setting up birdfeeders, nest boxes, ladybird lodges and feeding hedgehogs will attract wildlife and are superb ways of getting children interested.

– For smaller urban gardens, roof terraces or balconies having a window-box with flowering plants such as lavender will attract hoverflies, bees and butterflies. It is recommended to choose plants with the RHS ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ logo and to avoid plants with double flowers as these may lack nectar or pollen.

– For households with space, building a pond will provide a rich habitat that attracts lots of different insects and animals. Making a pond with different depths will encourage a greater range of insects such as dragonflies and water beetles, as well as toads and frogs. Very shallow sloping edges are important – this is where the largest variety of pond creatures is found. A pond is also the ideal place for birds to bathe.

Government must heed planning recommendations

Posted on 22nd December 2011

Media release
Immediate: 21 December 2011

Government must heed planning recommendations
Reforms must recognise nature’s importance to us

This is the crucial moment to get planning right for nature and the economy, according to The Wildlife Trusts.

As the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee publishes its recommendations for the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), The Wildlife Trusts welcome the call for the right balance between economic and environmental imperatives.

“Today’s report demonstrates it is not only those within the conservation movement who understand what’s at stake if we compromise our natural environment,” said Hazel Phillips of The Wildlife Trusts. “We must ensure the planning system recognises the economic benefits our natural environment provides, whether it be flood risk management or carbon storage, as well as the inherent value of our wildlife.

In order to achieve this, The Wildlife Trusts are urging the Government to make the following changes to its planning proposals:

• Require local plans to identify Nature Improvement Areas: The Natural Environment White Paper gave the go-ahead to identify large areas where nature’s restoration will have greater priority. Any planning framework will be critical to delivering this Government commitment- yet Nature Improvement Areas aren’t even mentioned in the draft NPPF.
• Provide greater recognition and protection for Local Wildlife Sites: there are more than 40,000 in England, an area 4.5 times the size of Greater London. The current planning system is the principal means of protection for Local Wildlife Sites, which are not protected by law. The draft planning framework does not recognise the value and importance of these local sites. Their protection through the planning system must be strengthened not weakened.

Vine house Farm donate £136,807 for Wildlife Trusts throughout the country

Posted on 21st December 2011

The Wildlife Trust work closely with Vine House Farm who supply wild bird food direct from a conservation award winning farm at low prices. 5% of all orders are donated to The Wildlife Trusts and this year they raised a staggering £136,807 for Wildlife Trusts throughout the country. The cheque was presented in to Stephanie Hilborne, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts and the Chief Executives of the local Wildlife Trusts at a recent conference. Nicholas Watts form Vine House Farm said ” I am delighted that we are able to donate such a large cheque to such a worthy charity as The Wildlife Trusts. They continue to stand up for wildlife on a local level which is so important to us now and will be for generations to come. A big thank you to all our customers for you continued support”. Jeremy Garside Chief Executive of Tees Valley Wildlife Trust said “We are really pleased to receive the donation, we thank all our members who buy bird food from Vine House Farm not only are they getting a good quality bird food from a supplier who has excellent environmental credentials you are support the work of our Trust.”

With winter setting in this is an ideal time to start feeding wild birds if you don’t already do so. You order you food through the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust website and you can find more information about what to feed birds and other wildlife gardening information at

Deadly Wildlife Detectives Needed

Posted on 16th December 2011

Deadly Wildlife Detectives Needed

Live and Deadly – Deadly Scene Investigation.

A wildlife whodunnit. Can you deduce who’s eaten who?

A nest box has been raided high in the tree. There is some fur around the box, as well as some tracks, Inside the box are some broken eggs. Suspicious characters have been near by.

Who ate the eggs?
Who did they belong too?

Your mission is to find the seven clues hidden in Woodhill meadows. The clues will tell you which four creatures were at the scene of the crime and will help you work which one was the culprit. Pop in any time between 10.00am and 3.00pm on Tuesday 20th December at Tees Valley Wildlife Trust – Margrove Heritage Centre, Boosbeck, Saltburn, TS12 3BZ.
In association with CBBC things to do – families welcome.

Visit for more information

For more details contact the Trust on 01287 636382

Cull decision is shot in the dark

Posted on 16th December 2011

The Wildlife Trusts today express disappointment and regret in advance of the Government’s expected decision to press ahead with a cull of badgers in pilot areas in England.

The Wildlife Trusts call on the Government to put biosecurity and vaccination at the centre of efforts to tackle this disease and avoid wasting more time and money on a badger cull.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:

“A badger cull is the wrong tool to address this serious and complex problem and a distraction from other measures to tackle bovine TB. An industry-led cull with open shooting in the countryside is untested and these pilots will not provide a scientific evaluation of the impact on bovine TB. The rationale for any cull of native species needs to be extremely clear and well proven. We do not believe this is the case with the proposed badger cull.”

The Wildlife Trusts believe that Defra should pursue the following as a matter of priority:
• Support landowners to improve on-farm biosecurity and the deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine;
• Continue to develop an oral vaccine for badgers;
• Complete development of a cattle vaccine and secure change to EU regulation to permit its commercial deployment.

Paul Wilkinson continues:

“The Government’s priority should be preventing transmission of the disease on-farm, through improved biosecurity, badger vaccination and making swift progress on a cattle vaccine.”

Earlier this year, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust was the first non-governmental organisation to begin deployment of the injectable BadgerBCG vaccine on seven of its nature reserves. The outcomes from this first year of a five-year vaccination programme are available in a published report at:

Treasures of our seas revealed- As winners of underwater photography competition announced

Posted on 17th November 2011

Treasures of our seas revealed
As winners of underwater photography competition announced

A tiny sea slug, no longer than two inches long, has stolen the show in one of the UK’s most celebrated underwater photography competitions.

As the British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) announces the winners of the 2011 BSoUP/DIVER print competition, The Wildlife Trusts declare Trevor Rees’s sea slug image as the overall winner of the British and Irish categories, which they judge.

The sea slug, or nudibranch, Flabellina lineata, has delicate tentacles with white tips. It is widespread around much of the UK coastline. As well as being enchanted by the subject, judges were impressed by the technical skill involved in capturing a quality close up of such a small species underwater.

Trevor said: “Flabellina lineata is a great example of how attractive an underwater slug can be compared to a land slug.

“My image was taken in Loch Creran on Scotland’s west coast in about six metres of water. During the dive there were a lot of these creatures feeding in the rich current swept waters of the loch. They were present on rocks and weed with this one found on kelp. A low angle enabled me to get a striking head on portrait using a housed SLR camera with a macro lens.”

Judging took place at the Dive Show in Birmingham (on Sunday 23 October). The Wildlife Trusts looked for photographers who captured the essence of Living Seas – the fascinating and colourful wildlife and habitats found around our coasts.

Robert Bailey secured runner-up status with his portrait of a rare yarrell’s blenny. This fish has bushy tentacles and is uncommon around the UK’s coastline. Judges were delighted to see such a beautiful portrait of one.
Robert said:

Watch the talon show

Posted on 14th November 2011

Birds of prey at Wildlife Trust nature reserves

They are among nature’s most deadly assassins, equipped with razor sharp talons and even sharper senses. Watching birds of prey is a thrilling experience, and finding a spot to see them just got easier thanks to The Wildlife Trusts’ guide Great places to see raptors.

Three to see in winter

Winter is the perfect time to watch raptors. They can be seen surveying the lie of the land from skeletal trees or coasting low over bare ground to swoop on unsuspecting mammals.

Species to look out for include:

Short-eared owl
The short-eared is a day-flying owl. At the Portrack Marsh, managed by Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, short-eared owls can be seen patrolling over wet grassland during late winter afternoons.

Peregrine falcon
Large flocks of wildfowl and waders attract the peregrine falcon, the world’s fastest animal, in winter. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s Wheldrake Ings is a haunt of peregrines as they seek out prey from the huge flocks of golden plover, lapwing, teal and wigeon.

Nature writer, author and journalist, Simon Barnes, said:

“A red kite, twisting his tail as he steers with insolent ease across the sky. A kestrel hovering over the motorway verge. A marsh harrier – they were once down to a single pair in this country – quartering the reedbeds. A peregrine making the anchor silhouette in the sky as he turns into the fastest living thing on the planet. Birds of prey are special alright.”

Simon Barnes’ full feature on birds of prey and The Wildlife Trusts’ downloadable guide to where to see them can be found at


Contact information:

Tanya Perdikou (Media & Campaigns Officer)
Office: 01636 670057
Mobile: 07887 754657

Images are available for use with this news release. They are granted on a one-time use basis, in association with this release and the photographer must be credited.

Marine Conservation Zones at risk

Posted on 8th November 2011

Marine Conservation Zones at risk
Big Society has spoken up for our seas – but will Government listen?

The wildlife in England’s seas is facing a serious threat, warns The Wildlife Trusts.

The long-awaited network of Marine Conservation Zones, promised by Government for 2012, is in danger, according to the conservation organisation, which has been instrumental in marine campaigning and research. It is urging the public to write to Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP, in support of Marine Conservation Zones.

After years of pressure from NGOs, and with huge public support, the Marine and Coastal Access Act of 2009 promised a coherent network of protection around the coast of England by 2012. Now 127 marine sites around England’s coast have been recommended by four regional stakeholder groups to become Marine Conservation Zones next year.

The recommendations are the result of two years of consultation with more than one million stakeholders involved including fishermen, conservationists and businesses. This has been the first ‘Big Society’ experiment where local stakeholders have decided together which areas of the sea should be protected.

There is concern that Government’s Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies (Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee) will recommend to Government that only a fraction of the 127 recommended sites are designated. This would result in a much smaller and less effective network of Marine Conservation Zones, leaving vulnerable and precious areas unprotected.

Toad Appeal

Posted on 3rd November 2011

The Royal Horticultural Society and The Wildlife Trusts are asking bonfire night celebrators to look out for toads and frogs before they light their fires.

“People tend to check for hedgehogs in the wood they have gathered for their fire,” says Andrew Halstead, Principal RHS Entomologist. “But it is equally likely that toads, frogs and newts will have found shelter in these piles and might be missed. Toads and frogs play an important role as predators in the garden and should be encouraged.”

In Autumn hedgehogs, frogs, newts and toads search for places to hibernate and piles of wood for bonfires can appear to be ideal hibernating spots. Both charities advise that fires should be built on the day that they are to be lit. Wood piles can be made before this but the wood should be moved to a clear, debris-free final spot only on the day.

“Bonfire organisers can divert amphibians away from the bonfire site, and give them safe shelter, by having smaller log piles, or heaps of leaves, away from the main pile,” says Morag Shuaib of The Wildlife Trusts. “And before lighting the re-built bonfire pile, it is a good idea to make a final check by torchlight, to make sure nothing has sneaked in.”

The Wildlife Trusts and the RHS are jointly running the Big Wildlife Garden competition which is funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. How gardeners help protect wildlife in their gardens will be one of the considerations taken into account by the judges. Gardeners interested in entering can do so by visiting

– Ends –

For more information contact Eoin Redahan on 020 7821 3044 or or Anna Guthrie on 01636 670075 or

Notes to the Editor:
About the RHS

Nature check: Leading environment groups warn Government over failing nature record

Posted on 14th October 2011

The Government is failing to deliver on its wildlife and landscape promises, according to a report compiled by 29 of the UK’s leading environmental groups.

The study highlights some of the most controversial environmental issues of the year – including the proposed reform of the planning system, a planned cull of badgers and the public debate on the future of UK forestry.

The Nature Check report, published by the umbrella body Wildlife and Countryside Link, assesses the Government’s progress on the 16 commitments it has made to the natural environment using a traffic light rating system.

Just two of the promises have been fully met, and have been given a green seal of approval. Seven have received an amber rating, meaning not enough progress has been made, and a further seven have been given the red card by environmental experts.

The report shows the Government’s commitments to wildlife overseas are being met – with green lights given for new legislation opposing ivory sales and commercial whaling. However with a new proposed planning system placing economic needs above environmental ones, confusion over the future of nationally owned forests, and a badly thought through plan for tackling bovine TB – it is the domestic issues that ministers are falling down on most.

Other failing policy areas include lack of controls to prevent inappropriate development in areas of flood risk and a failure to consider seabirds and other mobile species when creating the new network of Marine Conservation Zones around our coasts.

Neil Sinden, Policy and Campaigns Director for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “The Government’s aspires to be the greenest government ever, but it will not achieve this admirable ambition with a ‘business as usual’ approach to economic growth.