The week-to-week world of conservation is always punctuated by a series of highs and low. This week has been no different.
Yesterday, we launched our new report on biomass expressing concern about the impacts of a huge increase in imported wood for wildlife and the climate. We released our report, in time, to help government fix the problem. They also have time to sort out their planning proposals which continue to cause a storm (see Newsnight for the latest gloves off battle between the National Trust and planning minister Greg Clarke). We have argued that new planning proposals must reflect the fact that our long term economic growth relies on protecting and enhancing the environmental resources that underpin it and paying due regard to social needs. If you agree, you can join our campaign.
But there was also some good news this week.
Along with Natural England, we announced that the bittern population has now broken the 100 barrier for the number of booming males in Britain. The media has responded warmly to this fantastic news for species conservation, and it’s appropriate to celebrate a record that hasn’t been beaten within living memory.
At the time the RSPB was formed – in 1889 - the bittern was extinct in Britain. We have played a major part in its recovery. Much of this bird’s success relies on managing and protecting wildlife sites: something that we’ve doing for many years. And for the sake of the bittern and all those other threatened species, this is something we’ll be doing for many years to come.
So on that slightly cheerier note, I hope you have a good weekend.
Well done the RSPB for latching onto the problem of imported biomass - and, of course, it gets worse with plans for Palm Oil fired power stations. However, as for domestic & imported biomass its definately a game of two parts - domestic supplies are limited, even if we bring far more of our woodland into management and, thankfully, Government policy supported by the Renewable Heat Incentive is directing resource to small to medium scale local heat - less miles to travel, far more efficient (over 90%) than biomass burnt to produce electicity and the right scale for sensitive management of smaller, native woods.
Big Power is a different matter - one supplier told me they'd been approached for a total of over 17m tonnes - more than GBs entire wood production. Imports risk us yet again experting our environmental problems on a grand scale,
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