Badgers & Bovine TB

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust recognises that bovine TB is a serious and complex issue. However, we oppose the cull and believe that it is unlikely to contribute positively or cost-effectively to the control of TB in cattle in Britain.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) recognises that bovine TB is a serious and complex issue which has a significant, economic, environmental and social impact for farmers and land managers, conservation organisations and the general public. 

We feel that badger culling is unlikely to contribute positively or cost-effectively to the control of TB in cattle in Britain. We, therefore, do not support the culling of badgers. We believe that instead all efforts should be focussed on finding a deliverable and cost-effective solution.

We believe that controlling transmission of the disease from and between badgers, and to and from cattle, must be part of a long-term co-ordinated scientific strategy of effective testing, vaccination, cattle movement controls and stringent bio-security measures.  This needs to be delivered by a wide range of stakeholders including landowners, farmers, voluntary organisations and government agencies.

We recognise that government policy may determine that a licence to cull Badgers could be issued within Wiltshire. In the event of a future cull zone being implemented in an area which includes Trust owned land, the Trust will abide by the law but will not allow culling of Badgers on its own property. 

Read our statement in full

Read The Wildlife Trusts position on bovine TB

See the Wildlife Trusts Infographic explaining why the government’s bovine TB policy needs to change


Government Fracking Consultation

Fracking

Habitat Regulations Assessment 14th Onshore and Gas Licensing Round Consultation Question 2


Q. Do you have any comments on the assessments carried out for individual licence Blocks? (You may wish to comment on more than one Block.) Please provide the reference for the Block you are commenting on (e.g. SD26a ).


Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Habitat Regulations Assessment carried out for the 14th onshore oil and gas licensing round, with specific reference to fracking. Wiltshire Wildlife Trust has specific comments to make with respect to the following individual licence blocks; ST84, ST85, ST94 and ST95. We welcome and agree with the assessment in all cases that Stage B, C and D activities will be prohibited at or near the surface within the boundaries of all European sites in these licence blocks. With reference to each block, we have the additional comments.

ST84. We do not agree that it can be concluded that Stage A, B, C and D activities are undertaken at depth are not considered likely to result in adverse effect on integrity (AEOI), with respect to the River Avon SAC. Any sub-surface activity which threatens the integrity of the underground aquifer which provides fresh water to the chalk streams of the River Avon SAC must be considered to be a threat to the favourable condition of the site. It has been shown directly in recent years that the chalk streams are vulnerable to climate change impacts, with low flows and in stream temperature increases recorded as having an impact on wildlife. This vulnerable ecosystem cannot tolerate the additional water resource requirement to service fracking activity. We are also concerned about the potential impacts of pollution, both to the river and the aquifer through drilling activity, and also through surface water run-off localised to drilling sites.

ST85. For the same reasons we do not agree that it can be concluded that Stage A, B, C and D activities are undertaken at depth are not considered likely to result in no adverse effect on integrity (AEOI), with respect to the River Avon SAC within this licence block.

In addition, it cannot necessarily be concluded that Stage A, B, C and D activities have no AEOI on the Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Bats SAC. It has been proven in recent years that the population of the European protected species Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteini) linked to the Bath and Bradford-on-Avon Bats SAC is active, resident and breeding within ancient woodlands within this licence block. In particular at Green Lane and Biss Woods Nature Reserves owned by the Trust.

ST94. We have the same views for ST94 as indicated above for ST84. It appears from the map Figure 1 ST94, that approximately 75% of this licence block comprises Salisbury Plain SPA and SAC and the River Avon SAC. Once again to be contemplating drilling activities in this block would appear to directly impact on the integrity of the freshwater resource held within the chalk aquifer. We raise concerns here about the impact on the wildlife of the designated River Avon SAC, alongside the potential contamination of the water supply used for human consumption.

ST95. Once again we do not agree that it can be concluded that Stage A, B, C and D activities are undertaken at depth are not considered likely to result in no adverse impact on integrity (AEOI), with respect to the River Avon SAC.

The United Kingdom holds 85% of the world’s chalk stream habitat, which translates to 161 chalk rivers found across England. The River Avon is the richest most biodiverse of these rivers in the United Kingdom, and clearly by virtue of the global scarcity of such habitats must be considered be too precious to put at risk from the activities associated with fracking.

In addition to the above, the Trust takes the view that investment in renewable energy sources is a far more appropriate mechanism for meeting our long-term energy needs. The Trust supports moves towards reducing the demand for fossil fuels for meeting our energy needs due to the established detrimental climate change impacts of continuing to burn fossil fuels.

For more information see:

www.wildlifetrusts.org/Fracking

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/habitats-regulations-assessments-of-14th-onshore-oil-and-gas-licensing-round


TWT Nature Network report

The UK stands on the brink of big changes. Around 80% of our environmental regulations are affected by Brexit, and, as a result, the UK is writing its first farming policy for decades and new environmental legislation will be required before the UK leaves the EU next year.

Within our report ‘Towards a Wilder Britain’ The Wildlife Trusts have outlined how a ‘Nature Recovery Network’ could help bring wildlife back across our towns and countryside. The Network would be part of a new environmental policy designed to achieve Government targets for helping species and habitats to recover and increase. Maps, created locally and linked to these targets, would identify existing important places for wildlife as well as key areas where habitats should be restored. 

There is widespread agreement that we need to do more to reverse the decline of wildlife and here we set out some ideas for how we could take the first step on that journey.

Read the full report


State of Nature 2016 - Report