From the conservation office

Conservation news

This is my first newsletter as Senior Conservation Officer, a role I took on as from 1st July 1996. My remit is to manage and develop all activities in the conservation section. I'm looking forward to identifying new priorities as well as making sure we fulfil all our existing obligations.

The exciting developments with the Cornwall Local Biodiversity Initiative, which the Trust is leading, will have an important influence on our work.

With all the political support for "biodiversity action'; there has never been a more opportune time to make Cornwall a better place for wildlife, and I'm looking forward to working with Trust staff branches and volunteers to implement more conservation action on land and sea!

Regional Biodiversity Initiative

The Regional Biodiversity Audit has been reissued with amendments. It was produced by a partnership of the seven Wildlife Trusts in the region, together with the Regional Planning Conference. It lists all the important mammals, birds, reptiles amphibians, fish, insects and plants in the official South West region, and the counties in which they occur . It identifies II species which are found nowhere else in the world - of these, 10 occur in Cornwall. The report also lists 25 globally threatened species, 10 of which occur in Cornwall. There are also descriptions of all the major wildlife habitats and their distribution across the seven counties.

Copies of the audit are available from the RSPB office at 10 Richmond Road, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4JA - (01392) 432691 - for £15.00 each including p&p. Cheques payable to RSPB.

Twenty regional biodiversity action plans are now being drawn up by the partnership, which has been expanded to include MAFF, English Nature, the Forestry Commission, Plantlife and Butterfly Conservation. Plans are being produced for species such as the marsh fritillary butterfly, early gentian, great crested newt, sand lizard and nightjar, and habitats such as lowland heathland, species-rich hedgerows, reedbeds and sea-grass beds. These regional plans will provide valuable inputs to the local biodiversity plan process as well as allowing agencies that act at a regional level - such as MAFF and the Forestry Commission - to take regional action.


Wildlife Trusts' Conservation Policy and Technical Advisory Group

The second meeting of the Conservation PTAG took place on 27th and 28th June. Many agenda items were discussed, including: national policies and positions for the Wildlife Trusts; a national marine programme; national spokespersons for the Trusts; and a review of the work of the national sub- groups covering squirrels, otters, local biodiversity plan guidance, national plan for The Wildlife Trusts, local records centres (Millennium bid) and agriculture. The aim of the PTAG and the sub-groups is to refine and form national policy and action for The Wildlife Trusts as a whole.


Cornwall Biodiversity Initiative

The first meeting of the Cornwall Riodiversity Initiative took place at New County Hall on 2nd June 1996. Over 50 organisations or individuals took part, with the meeting being chaired by the Chief Executive of the County Council.

The meeting asked the Wildlife Trust to lead the biodiversity planning process in Cornwall, and a small working group was set up. Members include English Nature, CBRU, the Environment Agency, ECC International and Cornwall County Council. The secretariat is provided by North Cornwall District Council. Any representations about issues, actions, habitats or species that people feel should be included in action plans for Cornwall, or information about the group and its membership, may be made to either Chris Howe at the Cornwall Wildlife Trust or David Brown at North Cornwall District Council, Higher Trenant Road, Wadebridge, Cornwall, PL27 6TW.

The aim of the initiative is to establish the biodiversity planning process in Cornwall, which means auditing the resource, identifying priorities - which can be habitats, species, issues or actions - and producing action plans for those priorities, and then monitoring the implementation of those plans.


Countryside advice

The Trust is currently providing advice to landowners around Cornish heath and Dorset heath sites as part of a European Commission LIFE-funded project with the RSPB. We also respond to requests for assistance with Countryside Stewardship applications.

This area of work is a priority for the Trust and will be developed in the near future if funding can be secured. An application has been made for European funding under the ~5b" banner, and we are still awaiting a decision.

Angela Howard
The newest member of the Trust's professional conservation staff is former BTCV organiser Angela Howard. Photo: Paul Horak

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