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Interested in local ecology?

25th June 2009 @ 7:07am – by Greville Watts
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The Ecology of the Parish – An Appeal for Help

How much do you value our hedgerows, meadows, streams etc? They have been described in some detail in our Village Design Statement and were also subject to a professional appraisal in the Weaver Valley Park study (Focus Area Proposals for Audlem) last year.

Various wetland areas and stream and river valleys could potentially be Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs). Some hedgerows could be candidates for registration under the Hedgerow Regulations. However we must not take their attractions for granted. All is not as well as it might seem.

Hedgerows – effectively linear nature reserves – often develop gaps which are all too easily filled in with wire, old pallets etc instead of by laying and new planting. Intensive farming and grass monoculture, while in the interests of efficient food production, can be at the expense of biodiversity. Some of our beautiful mature trees are suffering from age, disease and the blight of excessive ivy growth.

Last, but not least, our streams are not as healthy as they should be. According to the Environment Agency website, the best, the River Duckow, is only rated "moderate" for ecological quality, while the Weaver is "poor" and Audlem Brook "bad" – the worst category. This is hardly something we can be proud of.

There is therefore an urgent need for a small Environment and Ecology Working Group to assess the problems and, with the aid of outside professionals, to come up with a medium term programme to bring about improvements. We particularly need anyone in the local area with a working knowledge of wildflowers, grasses, hedgerow species, insects and freshwater biology.

Would anyone who is interested please contact Greville Watts on greville.watts@btinternet.com">greville.watts@btinternet.com or 01270 812414.


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