State of Nature report says nature is in trouble in the Vale
12:00pm Friday 18th October 2013 in News
THE Vale of Glamorgan Council chamber was packed with local residents earlier this month, all keen to hear top environmentalists discuss the UK’s first ‘State of Nature’ report.
The report makes grim reading for everyone, especially those who value the countryside and the UK’s plant and wildlife.
Councillor Rob Curtis, the Vale’s Cabinet member for the environment and visible services, who organised the meeting, said: “This is a very important report that pulls no punches and lays out clearly the sad decline of nature across Wales and the UK. It is also a call to action for public bodies, including local councils, and the public themselves. We are the first council in Wales to publicly discuss the report and I was pleased to see such strong interest in the environment from Vale residents.”
Dr Sean Christian, head of conservation for the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), one of the 25 UK conservation and research organisations that worked together to produce the report, told the audience: “Wildlife is at a crisis point in Wales.”
He went on to give a list of worrying statistics, including:
• All of our native reptile and amphibian species in Wales are declining
• 80 per cent of our breeding waders such as curlew, lapwing and golden plover have been lost to Wales
• 63 per cent of Welsh butterflies are declining and a third of all widespread Welsh moths are declining severely
Other speakers included Sarah Kessell, chief executive officer of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and the council’s own ecologist, Erica Dixon, who spoke passionately about the importance of planning the protection of nature at the beginning of any land development project. She also drew the audience’s attention to the great loss of hedgehogs in the UK – down from a population of around 30 million in the 1950s to around one million today.
The speakers, along with Councillor Curtis and Director of Environment and Sustainable Development at the Welsh Government, Mathew Quinn, took many questions from the concerned audience, ranging from hedgerow protection to the fate of plots of land across the Vale and Wales.
The State of Nature Report can be read at www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/science/stateofnature/index.aspx