This blog is where you can read about our campaigns to protect the special places that nature needs to survive. It’s been running for five years and covered great successes and some setbacks.
During this period the pressure of economic growth and calls, both in the UK and across the European Union, to deregulate has become louder and the threats to our natural world have increased as a result.
Saving nature’s special places means being active locally and tackling the big issues – the sweep of stories and contributions on this blog have always reflected that and will continue to do so. This will be the place to follow campaigns to save individual special places and to defend and strengthen the laws, policy and planning framework that are vital to their future.
Working with partners, volunteers, local communities and passionate individuals is an essential part of the story behind saving special places - and we'll have contributions from them all.
There will be plenty of chances to get involved – and to comment, add or argue with the points made in these posts.
As I'm a bit pressed for time, please excuse me just bunging out our press reaction to today's die-back summit
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Ash dieback is just the tip of the iceberg' RSPB reacts to Westminster Government summit on Chalara fraxinea
A summit on the tree disease Chalara fraxinea, also known as ash dieback, has taken place in London this afternoon [Wednesday 7 November].The meeting, chaired by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and attended by Government officials, tree experts and conservation NGOs, considered the findings of a nationwide survey carried out by Forestry Commission staff and agreed a course of action.The Government revealed that the Forestry Commission’s survey data indicated the disease is present in 115 sites and a further six counties. Based on the new figures, experts including the RSPB, discussed what steps were now needed to minimise any further impact.The Secretary of State used the meeting to ask for advice, ideas and suggestions which he’ll take to the Cobra meeting on Friday.Nick Phillips, the RSPB’s forestry officer, attended the summit. He said: “As we realise the full extent of ash dieback, hopes of containing it are dwindling. This is devastating news, but the Government must avoid a knee-jerk reaction. It’s time for a carefully considered response to minimise any further collateral damage to our trees and wildlife. “While it’s true that spores of this disease can be airborne, this is not the whole story. Science indicates that human movement of plants and plant material has been a key way this disease has spread across Europe. It’s critical that messages from Government help maintain public vigilance on this and other wildlife diseases. Blaming the wind as the sole disperser will not help.“The introduction of invasive non-native species are a major threat to the UK’s animals and plants. Ash dieback is one example of this effect, but unfortunately it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Government must use this opportunity to develop effective regulation on species trade and movements, and to implement rapid detection and response mechanisms. As a European island nation with strong international trading links, it’s imperative we, and our EU partners, act now.”The RSPB is a major landowner. Over 8,000 of its 140,000 hectares of nature reserves are wooded. The charity is being vigilant on all its sites and closely monitoring for signs of the disease.