Friday, 18 April 2014

A Mountain moved - Action at Last!!!!!

I have today received an e-mail from the Moving Mountains Network which gives a synopsis of the response to the issues raised in relation to the deterioration of the Marsh. Although it is not appropriate to give a detailed overview, I am happy to give you the following main points.
-
Vehicles. The damage caused by vehicles belonging to the Riding Stables should not have happened. The only time there should be any vehicles active on the site is in an emergency (Ambulance, Fire Engine etc.). The stables are now aware of this. If anyone observes vehicles on the site in future, please take the registration and the time and date and pass the details on. Initially you can send them to me but eventually this needs to be notified to Natural England.
-
Horses are not permitted to graze on the S.S.S.I. although the stables can still use the paths to walk and ride horses. An alternative grazing strategy is being put into place to address the excessive growth of the last few seasons.
-
The dumping of Horse bedding and droppings. - An assurance has been obtained that this will not happen again.
-
New Zealand Stonecrop - AT LAST! The process of removing this invasive species is to commence this year (Sorry but, if it had been done when originally planned four years ago they would have about a quarter of the job that they now face).
-
The activities that are taking place beyond the perimeter of the S.S.S.I. are being looked at to ensure that they do not cause detriment to the protected areas.
-
If I may, I will include Chris Millward's summing up which should put things into perspective for anyone reading this:
-
I feel that NE have taken the points raised in my submission on-board, and it is to their credit, that there was no air of defensiveness in their reply. They have also immediately contacted the landowner, in order to safeguard the SSSI. 
-
I do not feel the need, at this stage to fully contest the classified condition of the SSSI. This is because the assurances received give me no cause to suspect that the Higher Level Stewardship Agreement will not be followed during the coming months. This allows me to place trust in the fact that the SSSI condition will indeed improve soon.
-
Firstly I think we all owe a huge vote of thanks to Chris Millward and the Moving Mountains Network who have demonstrated what can be achieved by organisations acting together for the good of the environment but I know just how much effort Chris has invested personally in this and we should remember that when hopefully things start to improve.
-
I don't intend to be churlish about this but I would like to have one last word. I hope that Natural England now understand the consequences of taking their eye of the ball. Had the site been treated to more than an occasional cursory visit and more importantly, been visited over the years by the same person (to whom the deterioration would have then been obvious) this situation would never have arisen. Individuals and organisations should not be involved in battles to put things right that should not have been allowed to happen in the first place.
-
I have previously commented on (what was then) English Nature infamously giving the Riding Stables permission to drain the small swag pool without even investigating the potential consequences. At the time we were just aware that they had permitted the draining of the pool where our rarest dragonfly had been ovipositing. What subsequently followed was the release of the contained New Zealand Water Stonecrop to invade the rest of the site. Also as an incidental effect of this activity, the digger used to drain the pool also destroyed the area where the Early Marsh Orchids flowered, and they have never been seen since. This is what happens when you do your job without current local knowledge.
-
I hope that this posting means that we can now draw a line under these issues, lets now see that these activities are undertaken - Chaz

Good Friday Update

--
The Dam is still holding, with little change this morning. I did manage to see my first House Martins for the year as birds came over from Ryders Hayes but only one Swallow flew through the Marsh today. Still Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap singing but no sign of Whitethroat or Ring Ouzel (Ray reminded me yesterday that it is a year today since the last one arrived).
-
Today was really a butterfly day. We might all have had a moan about last winter but my goodness, it has done wonders for our declining butterflies. In the last few springs I have struggled to see Small Tortoiseshell but today I must have seen fifteen plus. Peacock are everywhere and there has already been emergence by Green Veined White, Small White, Orange Tip and Speckled Wood.
-
One belated piece of news from last Monday, Anita has contacted me to say that there was a reliable report of a Red Kite over the woods at Engine Lane.
-
Enjoy your day off all - Chaz