Monday, 12 September 2016

Dormouse numbers halve over last 20 years...

... and are "vulnerable to extinction in Britain" according to "the first definitive report on the state of the species"; a study which looked at more than 100,000 records gathered from across the UK over the last 25 years, and "thought to be the longest-running small terrestrial mammal survey in the world".

The wildlife charity, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, found that the number of hazel dormice counted at nest boxes in England and Wales has fallen by 38% since the year 2000, and by 55% since the mid-1990s; alarming numbers when you consider that conservationists regard the dormouse as an important indicator of biodiversity - a canary in a coal mine.
The state of Britain’s dormice remains precarious: the population decline apparent at monitored sites continues and a changing climate makes their future uncertain.
This European Protected Species is found in the ancient hedgerows of Straitgate Farm - the same 2km of ancient hedgerows that Aggregate Industries wants to destroy.

Dormice "depend on well-managed woodlands and healthy, connected hedgerows for their survival". The PTES dormouse officer said:
“We can’t do much about the climate, so the only thing in our armoury is getting our woodlands managed properly and linking our landscape up through hedgerows.”
AI couldn't care. It wants to start earthworks at Straitgate Farm in the Spring/Summer of next year with, incredibly, virtually no appropriate mitigation planting yet in place.

Last year, in response to AI’s aborted application, Natural England reminded DCC that:
We are also aware that tree and hedgerow planting proposed as mitigation for both landscape purposes and replacement habitat for the dormouse population may not yet be in place in the quantity identified throughout the documentation supporting this application...
We are also aware that changes identified in the Reg 22 response in relation to the tree and hedgerow planting proposed as mitigation for both landscaping purposes and replacement habitat for the dormouse population may affect the quality and quantity of planting that will be in place. Your Authority will need to be satisfied that the mitigation plan proposed by the Applicant is deliverable in the quantity and to the quality required and within the appropriate timescales to provide the necessary replacement habitat.
Even if AI did start to plant some trees in the right place: