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Allerthorpe

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 11:02am
It is all down to cost Keith. Far cheaper to bring in plant machinery and clear the entire area in a day or two than pay people to fell individual trees and manage sympathetically for wildlife.

The entire process is cost and funding driven. The attitude to wildlife legislation is that if they did the work in accordance to the legislation they would get nothing done. The answer to the why is that these people get funding for these schemes. I find the whole practice of heathland management using plant machinery quite remarkable in a day in age where we are all supposed to be more environmentally aware. The 'conservation organisations' are the ones destroying the existing habitat of many species, not just herps, in the name of conservation and getting paid to do it.
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Chris d View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 7:58pm
Hi,
I've just visited the common again this afternoon after finishing work to take a more rational look at it. Nope I'm still seething !! I spoke to the guys doing the clearing and explained my concerns and basically told me that they had been contracted in to do the work. I was told that an "Adder" guy had been consulted (I didn't get his name, damn!) before the work had gone ahead and he wasn't happy, but accepted it. The contracters weren't very sympathetic and were ther just doing a job.  They were in another area bordering which is a little known adder hotspot where I had observed 4/5 Adders basking last year. It took me years to find it and now there is a real possibility that it will be erased. I explained to the contractors but recieved little sympathy from them. Maybe it will be still there tommorrow but I won't hold my breath as it only a small area. I had a good look around while I was there and there was nothing out anywhere. They have left a few small islands but only in some areas, other areas have been completely cleared. The birch has also been cleared by hand along the pathways too but has then been thrown/piled onto of the heather with no thought. It is quite a mess ! When I can work it out I will submit some pics. Thanks again fro everyones advice and concern.  
 
The good news is that after writing a letter to the local paper they are going to cover a story regarding it ! Fame at last !! And after advice from this forum, next I'm going to write a letter to my local MP.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sussexecology Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 9:32pm
That's good to know that you are doing something positive by talking to the contractors Chris and highlighting important issues. Sounds to me like they are just "general contractors", and not "ecological contractors".
 
If the conservation organisation were really taking wildlife into account, i reckon they would have used ecological contractors to do the work. The benefit of using ecological contractors is that they know about the needs of wildlife, including herps. And their rates are pretty good too so wouldn't have cost them more than just general contractors.
 
If they had spoken to the "adder expert", he would have known that it was an inappropriate time of year and should not have encouraged it. If he wasn't happy, then why did he let this go ahead. If I was in that position, I would say "no, it's not an appropriate time of year and it will result in the killing and injury of protected species." That's what I am finding hard to understand. Unless he did say that, but they went ahead anyway - in which case, that is really not good news at all.
 
Let us know how you get on though. Glad that the local press are taking an interest. Really highlights the importance of the needs of reptiles, the value of managing reptile habitat properly, and the fact that widespread reptile habitat isn't as protected as the rarer reptiles. And the fact that conservation organisations are damaging habitats when they should really be saving them.
 
I'll get that "text" for you too Chris, and PM you with it, so that you can use it.


Edited by sussexecology - 12 Mar 2012 at 9:34pm
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Chris d View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 9:44pm
Hi Here's some pics of allerthorpe, you have to imagine the area before the work started, mainly heather dotted with birch. The last pic is of the area where I had just found 30 to 40 common lizards the year before. Imagine a pathway meandering with high heather on both sides, now just erased.
  
 
 
 


Edited by Chris d - 12 Mar 2012 at 9:57pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris d Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 9:56pm
Sorry, this is the lizard area. Directly in front would have been the small path leading through the heather to the other side, full of lizards, now there is nothing.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 12:00am
Sadly Chris many of us can post pictures almost identical to yours, but scattered from across the country. My brother knows of a colony of sand lizards wiped out some years ago by the NT building a car park, and a GCN pond ruined by their digging it out and damaging the natural clay lining so that it never held water again.
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 6:50am
good grief Chris looks identical to my postings on the damage the rspb did on Hyde heath Dorset the other year they must have a set agenda for all opps to have the same template effect where ever they let loose the Cat D8s & D9s in the guise of heath restoration. keith

Edited by AGILIS - 13 Mar 2012 at 6:53am
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arvensis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 12:30pm
In my opinion, what has happened there is no different to an arsonist destroying part of a heathland! 

The 'work' has been done with the full backing of Natural England you say? Considering they issue licences for the fully protected species, it makes me wonder if they are a suitable body for doing so, if they fully back habitiat destruction such as this.

Edited by arvensis - 13 Mar 2012 at 12:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 6:28pm
Thanks for posting the pictures Chris, as others have said, identical to what I have seen elsewhere on many occasions.

When I look at it I see the same pattern. An open area, highly suitable for reptiles completely destroyed. Areas of more mature woodland left entirely untouched. Surely clearing some of that pine plantation would have been a better use of the money.

Most of these organisations will employ exactly the same contractors that would work on a building site (they'll simply go with the lowest bid for the work and 'divert' the rest of the funds they obtained for 'heathland management' elsewhere) so no surprise to me what the result is. That of course is another 'dodge' when they get flak from the public... oh it was the contractors fault... in fact the contractors are the least guilty as they are simply doing what they have been told to do.

I am really sorry Chris you have had to witness this sort of conservation (read as wholesale habitat destruction) at a site you obviously previously enjoyed, but if it helps a little I know all too well how it feels.



Edited by GemmaJF - 13 Mar 2012 at 6:29pm
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sussexecology View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sussexecology Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 11:36pm
Thanks for the pics Chris. Just makes me feel sick really. But just like everyone else has already said, the scene in the picture is all too familiar.
 
I agree with Gemma comments though on the contractors, totally. They are just instructed on what to do, and really it should be the person instructing them who should be held responsible. Agreed that most contractors brought on sites are just general building contractors, not ecological contractors.
 
We here at SE always use ecological contractors.  Ecological contractors have the expertise and understanding of the needs for wildlife, and I can certainly recommend a few companies to the relevant organisations if needed as we have a coupl of firms who do regular work for us, and what's more they do a fine job too.
 
The fact is that the adder expert should have been on site supervising the contractors to make sure that reptiles were not harmed during the process. This is what we always do, even with ecological contractors, because this is regarded as what NE woudl call a "reasonable measure" and it makes sure that reptiles are safetly moved out of the way beforehand. It's a simple search - just like you do when you put in a reptile exclusion fence. Trouble is, the wildlife trust probably didn't want to pay for somebody to do this.
 
If it was me, I would have told the staff at the WT to wait until an appropriate itme of year when reptiles would not have been that active, or disturb hibernation sites,
 
Personally, I think the supervision factor should be made standard practice amongst wildlife trusts and other organisations alike - because this is what we do as consultants when putting in fence lines, or doing destructive searches etc.
 
If NT were allowed to do destroy/damage a GCN pond and sand lizards, then why hasn't NE done something about it? They should know that european protected species habitats are protected against destruction or disturbance.  It is probably down to resources, sadly, because there have been a lot of cut-backs in NE in recent years.
 
bye for now as it's late
 


Edited by sussexecology - 13 Mar 2012 at 11:44pm
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