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Monday, November 19, 2007


I've found it very helpful in researching this subject to make use of the web site produced by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) which can be seen via this link.

I am trying to get a clearer picture of what local government is legally required to do in this respect. I'll post a summary of my notes in due course but here is a link to the BBOWT page where you will find two documents which give guidance notes.

Click on the BBOWT link to go to their home page.
Click on the Advice heading.
Select Planning Issues.
Scroll down to Planning and Development Sector.
Select the relevant doc.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

I'm posting this report simply because more and more, all considerations of wildlife issues take account of climate change. The Wildlife Trust and the RSPB to name but two organisations which come to mind are framing their future plans on the probable effect on our part of the UK. It has been very much a normal attitude by the public at large to take wildlife for granted and it will be interesting to observe how and when that attitude changes significantly.

Here is a link to a BBC report by Richard Black ( BBC Environment Correspondent) covering the recent issue of the IPCC final assessment on its 2007 report on the state of the environment.

Here are his concluding comments:

This is the IPCC's fourth major assessment of global climate change since its formation nearly 20 years ago.

During the course of its existence, it has become more certain that modern-day climate change is real and principally due to human activities; it has also become firmer about the scale of the impacts.

"If you look at the overall picture of impacts, both those occurring now and those projected for the future, they appear to be both larger and appearing earlier than we thought [in our 2001 report]," Martin Parry, co-chair of the impacts working group, told BBC News.

"Some of the changes that we previously projected for around 2020 or 2030 are occurring now, such as the Arctic melt and shifts in the locations of various species."

There are indications that projected increases in droughts are also happening earlier than expected, he said, though that was less certain.

The IPCC considered about 29,000 pieces of real-world evidence in compiling this report, as well as the projections of computer models.

These include observations showing that dry areas of the world such as the Sahel and southern Africa are receiving less rainfall, while it has increased in northern Europe and parts of the Americas.

The panel suggests societies need to adapt to future impacts, as well as curbing emissions.

Without extra measures, carbon dioxide emissions will continue to rise; they are already growing faster than a decade ago, partly because of increasing use of coal.

The IPCC's economic analyses say that trend can be reversed at reasonable cost. Indeed, it says, there is "much evidence that mitigation actions can result in near-term co-benefits (e.g. improved health due to reduced air pollution)" that may offset costs.

The panel's scientists say the reversal needs to come within a decade or so if the worst effects of global warming are to be avoided.

The findings will feed into the Bali talks on the UN climate convention and the Kyoto Protocol which open on 3 December.

Follow up on my last post.

A Visit to the RSPB WEST Sedgemoor Reserve.

This is the next walk on this reserve.

Guided walk, Somerset

Booking essential


Wednesday 21 November


the RSPB WEST Sedgemoor Reserve, Somerset.


10.00am to Noon


£2 including refreshments.


Telephone: 01749 672749

News update on West Sedgemoor RSPB reserve meeting

Just to start off, here are two photos from a very old friend who manages to get some good pictures of wildlife.

Photos by David Le Clercq taken somewhere in Dorset.

Meanwhile back in Somerset we recently had a most enjoyable evening listening to a talk about the West Sedgemoor RSPB Reserve.
Damon Bridge, Reserve Warden, was able to impart a wealth of facts and figures illustrated with a Powerpoint presentation. Without any notes he explained how this wetland reserve is important on an international scale and the extent of the management techniques that are used to maintain its value for the extensive range of birds which use it for both breeding and wintering.
Major achievements since 1978 have been to halt and reverse declines in populations of wading birds including redshanks, snipe and curlew. Also protecting the area for wintering for Berwick's swan, teal, wigeon, shovler, pintail, lapwing, golden plover and snipe with often over 50,000 birds annually.
My own visits to the site have been memorable for walks in the woods and meadows on the escarpment to the south with displays of orchids and the sight of nesting herons and egrets in the spring.
Here is a link to the RSPB local area page

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Group activity and our future plans

Recently the Somerset Wildlife Trust carried out a thorough review of its aims and objectives and has just published a summary titled "Strategy 2008-20012". By coincidence our group has just had its own mini review.
Last nights committee meeting of the Heart of the Levels Group was probably one of the most productive we had had in our 2 year progress. For some time I have been concerned about how we could recruit more members to become more actively involved so as to share out some of the work we have to cope with in organising meetings etc. For the first time I had invited a member of the Wildlife Trust staff to come along to sit in whilst we discussed ways to deal with my concerns which were shared by others. Her contribution was a great help to us all by telling us about the Trusts plans and how other volunteer groups have been dealing with similar problems.
I feel very pleased with the outcome and our agreed plan for action which is basically :
  • Arrange a follow up committee meeting to give our plan detail in the next week or so. A possible date was agreed.
  • First priority to revisit our 100 or so members who replied to our initial letter 2 years ago to draw up a short list of those who might be able to contribute to our activities. I have kept these in a file.
  • Also to check through lists of members who have attended our events to add to the list.
  • We must also decide more clearly what specific help we need and break down and identify what we do.
  • We must also agree on key information about our activities that might be of interest to members and consider what events are most popular.
  • We must then split our list of members up and each take a share of names to be contacted personally by telephone or in person.
  • We will seek to find activities which can be clearly defined and not involving heavy demands for time or knowledge of wildlife.
  • We must agree a programme which takes account of Christmas holidays etc.
All of this will take time but at least we are thinking about finding a solution to our concerns and I am very confident that we will succeed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fungi Foray Beer Wood 2007

Just received this list showing the range of fungi found including eight species not previously found in Beer Wood! I started putting common names to the list but it is taking too long so I'll leave to you! A photo of each would be even better!

Agaricus xanthodermus

Amanita rubescens

Armillaria mellea agg

Auricularia auricula-judae

Clitocybe flaccida

Clitocybe geotropa

Clitocybe infundibuliformis

Clitocybe nebularis

Clitocybe phyllophila *

Collybia fusipes *

Coprinus comatus *

Coprinus micaceus

Coriolus versicolor

Daedalea quercina

Daldinia concentrica

Diatrype disciformis

Ganoderma applanatum

Ganoderma australe

Ganoderma lucidum

Hyphoderma setigerum *

Hypholoma fasciculare

Hypholoma sublateritium

Laccaria amethystea

Lactarius quietus

Lepiota rhacodes

Leucopaxillus giganterus *

Lycoperdon pyriforme

Mycena galericulata

Mycena haematopus

Mycena inclinata

Mycena polygramma

Mycena vitilis

Oudemansiella radicata

Phellinus punctatus *

Pleurotus cornucopiae

Pleurotus ostreatus

Pluteus cervinus

Pluteus podospileus *

Pluteus salicinus

Postia stiptica *

Rhodotus palmatus

Stereum rugosum

Tremella mesenterica

Xylaria hypoxylon

Xylaria polymorpha

45 species identified at fungal foray Beer Wood 21.10.07 recorded by Peter Baker

* = new record for reserve

Sunday, November 04, 2007


I'm currently involved with a few other people in an seeking to persuade our local council to use a small area of land as a nature reserve and it will no doubt need us to put together a sound set of arguments to win the support of our community and our council.
I believe a key factor in our proposals appears to be the legal responsibilities of councils for conserving biodiversity.

It was back in 1992 that governments attending the Rio Earth Summit agreed amongst other actions a "Convention on biological biodiversity" and the "Agenda 21". That led the UK Government to encourage local authorities to develop ways to put conservation into their policies. In 1998 our local district council published its own Biodiversity Action Plan ( BAP) which it said would be "a focal point for local action". Soon after, this in turn led to a "Strategy for Nature Conservation", which is undated but clearly produced soon after the BAP. It reads as a very strong declaration of intent to actually meet the clear need. The document can be read online at this link.

Meanwhile the UK Govt has been busy and has created legislation to impose a legal duty on councils to "have regard to the conservation of biodiversity".
In brief these include:

The Countryside and Rights of Way ( CRoW ) Act 2000
The Natural Environment and Rural Communities ( NERC) Act 2006

In an explantory note by the Wildlife Trusts this latter act now clearly defines parish councils as local authorities alongside district and county councils.

The scientific basis for these UK documents is the series of Local BAP's covering England and Wales. More about them can be found at the UK BAP web site. Click here.

Here is an extract from their home page:

"Welcome to the UKBAP website supporting the implementation of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) on behalf of the UK Biodiversity Partnership and the UK Government


  • is the UK Government's response to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed in 1992
  • describes the UK's biological resources
  • commits a detailed plan for the protection of these resources
  • has 391 Species Action Plans, 45 Habitat Action Plans and 162 Local Biodiversity Action Plans with targeted actions
  • major reviews of the Priority Species and Habitats are underway, and the Targets for these priorities are complete."
By using all these resources I hope to be able to support our proposals for the conservation of this relatively small piece of the Councils land.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fungi found locally

Having browsed the UNEP report and read George Monbiot's latest article in the Guardian both on the subject of what we humans are doing to our environment it is good to be able to post a few photographs I've taken in the last few days of wildlife subjects.

By clicking on each photo it should be possible to get a more detailed view of the delicate markings and structure of the plant. The first was damaged when I found it in case you are wondering!

On my own mini fungi foray I found these two specimens the first on a local hill side in the middle of an open field, north facing and grazed by cattle and the other in our garden growing on a dead log.

The first looks like a Chestnut Dapperling (lepiota castanea) , which is described as highly poisonous and the second is possibly Sulphur Tuft ( hypholoma fasciculare) which is also poisonous!
If anyone knows better please email me.