The following is a list of our policies on a range of issues affecting wildlife and landscapes in Herefordshire. If you have any additional questions on our policies, please get in touch through our Contact Us page.
Ash Dieback (Chalara fraxinea)
‘Ash dieback’ is a serious disease of ash trees, caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea. It has already devastated ash woodlands in other parts of northern Europe and has now been found in Britain. Ash trees make up around 30% of England’s woodland cover and the thousands of miles of hedgerows which knit our landscapes together. They are a key component of ecologically unique woodlands that support rare species and their loss would have a dramatic negative impact on our natural environment. Wildlife in the UK is already under huge pressure and this issue emphasises the need to do all we can to ensure that nature is more resilient in the future. The Wildlife Trusts believe that any measures to combat the spread of the disease should be based on evidence, take into account the impact on the natural environment and ensure the potential resilience of ash to recover from this disease is not undermined.
The Wildlife Trusts are at the forefront of initiatives exploring the feasibility of reintroducing the Eurasian beaver to Britain. We have played important leading roles in the Scottish Beaver Trial, the study of the unlicensed beaver population on Tayside, and the development of proposals for the reintroduction of beavers in Wales.
In England, a small number of Wildlife Trusts have, under Natural England licence, introduced beavers into fenced reserves to improve wetland habitat and/or have conducted feasibility studies within enclosures to assess the impact of beavers on landscapes and their biodiversity. These trials will build on what we have already learned about the feasibility and practicalities of living with beavers in Britain, and the weight of evidence from Europe suggests that the return of this formerly native mammal would be of overall benefit to British biodiversity. In the long term, the beaver could be a valuable tool for restoring wetland habitats, reducing management intervention requirements and increasing the resilience of ecosystems in the face of threats such as climate change. The Wildlife Trusts therefore support the principle of reintroducing the beaver to Britain.
Bovine TB and Badgers (May 2016)
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust is opposed to the indiscriminate culling of badgers.
As a movement, the Wildlife Trusts are urging the Government to drop culling from its bTB strategy and prioritise badger vaccination, alongside a comprehensive package of cattle measures including improved TB testing and development of a cattle vaccine.
To have a substantial effect on bTB, badger vaccination must be deployed on a larger scale and in conjunction with cattle measures. This will require Government support for the development of a national badger vaccination strategy.
Please click the link below to view Herefordshire Wildlife Trust's policy briefing in full:
With the EU Referendum over, the challenges faced by the UK’s wildlife are as great as they have ever been. Wildlife is under real pressure from intensive land use and sometimes insensitive development on land and at sea. Our lives are becoming separated from the natural world.
It is time to focus on the future of our natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife. To concentrate on what a healthy natural environment can do for us and what we must do for it.
The main thrust of The Wildlife Trusts’ work is to conserve, enhance and restore wildlife habitats and populations of species across the UK. Our charitable objects therefore define our perspective on field sports – and the proposed amendment to the Hunting Act.
In some cases hunting can damage important habitats and cause disturbance to vulnerable populations of wildlife, and for this reason there is a long-standing presumption against field sports on Wildlife Trust nature reserves. Beyond our nature reserves individual Wildlife Trusts may on occasions raise concerns about the impact of a hunt on critical wildlife habitats or vulnerable populations of species. But our long-held position on legal field sports is that we are neither for, nor against, them. We recognise and respect the strong feelings held by people, and many of our members, on this issue.
As with other issues, we advise people to contact their MPs if they feel strongly about this – whatever their view.
Flooding is the net result of many physical processes acting on varied landscapes, which change over time. The answer to reducing flood risk is not simple but requires an holistic approach, working with nature to create integrated systems of water management.
Compacted soils, the loss of water absorbent habitats, drained wetlands, dredged riverbeds, straightened concrete-lined channels, paved gardens and the the large areas of hard surfaces in urban areas, all increase the rate at which water flows through the landscape and into homes and businesses.
To address this we must manage land to function more effectively to absorb and store rainfall. This means creating spaces in the landscape where water can be held back and stored, allowing river channel and floodplain ecosystems to function naturally and making urban areas more resilient to flooding by methods such as reducing areas of hard landscaping.
The extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing presents a number of environmental risks to wildlife and society. In the dash for shale gas, we have particular concerns that this is running ahead of effective regulations to minimise and eliminate the serious risks. The Wildlife Trusts are particularly concerned about the impact on:
- water quality (surface and ground water contamination) and quantity (water stress and availability);
- habitats, species and ecosystems (disturbance, damage, loss and fragmentation)
- Climate Change (through increased greenhouse gas emissions)
In 2014, in partnership with the Angling Trust, the National Trust, RSPB, the Salmon & Trout Association, and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, we published Are We Fit to Frack? The report made ten recommendations to make the regulatory framework for the shale gas industry, fit for purpose.
One recommendation was to ‘avoid sensitive areas for wildlife by creating shale gas extraction exclusion zones’. In January 2015, the UK Government took steps towards this recommendation by committing to ‘an outright ban on fracking in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)’ alongside National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)'. But just eight months later, a major U-turn on this commitment has placed some of the country’s most sensitive and precious wildlife sites at risk by excluding SSSIs from the ban.
The Wildlife Trusts, along with other conservation organisations want to see fracking ruled out from in and around all SSSIs, Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Ramsar (wetland) sites, Local Wildlife Sites and Nature Reserves.
The Wildlife Trusts support calls by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, RSPB and the Sustainable Food Trust for lead ammunition to be phased out by the end of 2017 and replaced with non-toxic alternatives.
Neonicotinoid insecticides (August 2014)
The Wildlife Trusts are calling for an outright ban on the use of all neonicotinoid insecticides. There is a growing body of evidence to show that neonicotinoids have a detrimental effect at sub-lethal doses on pollinators; and that the knock-on effect of neonicotinoids on other species and the wider environment is potentially severe. For these reasons, The Wildlife Trusts believe that the continued use of neonicotinoids in the UK represents an unacceptable risk to pollinator populations and ecosystem health. We urge the Government to retract its opposition to the EU ban, recognise the scale of the risks posed by the continued use of neonicotinoids and place a permanent moratorium on the use of all neonicotinoid insecticides.
National Planning Policy Framework (April 2012)
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the improvements made to the National Planning Policy Framework, they show the Government has accepted the importance of planning positively for the natural environment and recognised Nature Improvement Areas (NIAS) and locally designated sites, including Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs).
Nature Improvement Areas (February 2012)
The Wildlife Trusts welcome the Government’s first tentative steps toward the restoration of the natural environment through the pilot of Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs), but believe more commitment is needed to take the concept forward.
Planning proposals in Herefordshire
When we believe that a local planning proposal may have significant impacts on wildlife we will consider publicly commenting or objecting to an application.
Onshore Wind Farm Policy
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust recognises that climate change poses a major threat to wildlife, and that wind energy may play an important role in combating this. However, the development of windfarms can pose significant threats to wildlife – and especially to birds and bats – through direct killing or injury, and through loss of habitat.
Please note that these documents reflect Herefordshire Wildlife Trust's and The Wildlife Trusts' views at the time of writing.