As we enter late summer, the 'Asian hornet' Vespa velutina reaches its most active time of year, and this is likely to be the year they reach Britain. As part of the 'GB rapid response protocol', Defra's Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) has issued a species alert for V. velutina, including posters and fact sheets. Already widespread in western France, it is anticipated soon in southern England.
Summer usually presents an unpredictable time for CGO Ecology’s business diary. The bulk of season-specific work we do is in the spring, and the nature and volume of work during the rest of the year is more variable.
Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, has reported that England's largest population of freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) has been devastated by lowered water levels.
The UK's statutory nature conservation organisations have announced the commencement of the 6th 'Quinquennial Review' (QQR) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA).
Do reptiles live on floodplains? It is a question I have often asked myself, and usually concluded that the answer is largely 'no.' The obvious exception is the grass snake, a highy mobile species, at home in agricultural and managed landscapes, and a good swimmer.
An open letter to Justin McCracken, Chief Executive of the Health Protection Agency, in response to their press release "County walking? Think snakes..." (23/5/12):
(First published on 18/4/12 on the ARGUK website www.arguk.org)
Recent media attention has highlighted the impact of current drought conditions on natterjack toad breeding success. Natterjack breeding ponds are typically shallow sandy pools which dry up in some years. This is good for keeping predators in check, but with several consecutive dry winters and springs, it poses a serious threat to breeding success.
Britain's freshwater environments are host to many invasive alien species, from amphibians to plants, crayfish to fungus. Today saw the deadline of a Europe-wide consultation on how we should deal with them.
Defra's Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) has announced very worrying news for Britain's trees. An outbreak of the Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), an exotic beetle pest which could have severe consequences for British trees, has been found in Kent the Food and Environment Research Agency confirmed today. This is the first time an outbreak of this pest has been found in the UK and it is being treated extremely seriously.
The UK Government today released its long-awaited National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The document contains 57 pages of guidelines that replace all previous planning guidance, including Planning Policy Statement 9 on biodiversity and geological conservation.