Friday 25 February 2011

Save England's Forests

Whilst welcoming Government intentions to abandon plans for disposal of public forests, the campaign to protect and restore England's ancient forests must go on, warns the Woodland Trust.

"We welcome the opportunity for a more considered approach to the future of our much loved woodlands but our campaign continues. Whilst we welcome the removal of threats to public access, there is still an acute need for better protection of Ancient Woodland, our equivalent of the rainforests, and restoration of ancient woods planted with conifers. Even if there are no sales of publicly owned forests, the worst of all worlds would be for there to be no change to the loopholes that have allowed 850 ancient woods to be threatened by built development over the past decade. Ministers have made strong commitments over the past few weeks to increase protection for ancient woods, and we will be holding them to these commitments.

As I write, there is a proposal to water down protection for ancient woodland in the planning system. We need your help to defeat this proposal by 28th February.

What's it all about:

Take action now:

We must not let public passion and support for our woods and forests die down and now that ownership is no longer an issue, we must not lose sight of the need to increase protection for ancient forests and restore those planted with conifers, a once in a lifetime opportunity for woodland conservation.

Our campaign will continue and we urge everyone to continue to sign our petition and transfer their passion about who owns England's public woods to ensuring that all of England’s woods survive in the future".

Thank you,
Sue Holden,
Chief Executive Woodland Trust

Thursday 17 February 2011

Good news and bad news

An otter has been found in Wirral!

Unfortunately the animal was electrocuted on the railway line not far from Meols Meadow SSSI. Its body was recovered by Duncan Bevell, a Biodiversity Officer from the Environment agency who was alerted to it by a train driver.

Monday 14 February 2011

Brightening up Bidston

Wirral Tree Wardens and the 8th Tranmere Brownies did their bit to help Wirral's environment last Saturday, with help from the Forestry Commission and Wirral Wildlife. 100 trees and shrubs were planted on the edge of an old landfill site at Bidston, on the northwest side of the M53 J1 roundabout. Trees were supplied by Wirral Countryside Volunteers, Wirral Tree Wardens, the Brownies and the Forestry Commission, with some grown from local seed. They included oak, hazel, dogwood, guelder rose, cherry, elder, purging buckthorn and hawthorn. This is part of the land, a former tip, which the Forestry Commission leased in 2006 and has been developing as community woodland. The 1970s landfill concerned was cleared and planted with trees and wild flower grassland. However, it became obvious that some extra trees and shrubs were needed to make an informal tree line near the road edge, to make sure the barn owls which feed in the area fly up over the traffic and do not get hit by vehicles. The weather was perfect and an enjoyable if muddy time was had by all planting the trees. Do look out for them when going past (but not if you're driving!)

The future for the Bidston complex, like all the Forestry Commission lands, is in doubt under Government proposals to sell off woodland or pass such areas to other organisations such as charities. Funding for those organisations which might take the woodlands on is doubtful, especially in the long term. Please make your voice known against these plans. See the DEFRA website for proposals and to make your views known, or sign the petition at

Hilary Ash,
Hon. Conservation Officer

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Garden Moth Scheme

Have you heard of the Garden Moth Scheme? The purpose of the Scheme is to try and find out what’s happening to our common garden moths. What do you need to do to take part? You just need to count the numbers of common moths you see, for one night every week from March to November. The list of moths consists of about 200 species, common in your area and those that are difficult to identify are intentionally left out.

As well as sending results to your county's recorder you can also get involved in a nationwide scheme to get standardised data, which can then be used to study the effects of climate change, and changes in habitats, to act as a biodiversity indicator and to plot against garden features such as distance from nearest wood, greenspace etc or presence of pond, log pile etc in garden.

Further details can be found at
Contact the local NW co-ordinator, Steve Orridge, by email or, the National co-ordinator, Dave Grundy, by email or telephone on 0121 446 5446.