Lines of de­fence

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES - Matt Jack­son Matt Jack­son is head of con­ser­va­tion strat­egy at the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT).

IF you watch a wildlife TV doc­u­men­tary or use the in­ter­net to iden­tify a flower the chances are you care enough about the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment enough to want to de­fend it.

We have just two weeks to tell the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion how much we care about very spe­cial nat­u­ral places for wildlife here in Buck­ing­hamshire and across Europe.

Awe­some land­scapes such as the Cairn­gorms, the lakes and marshes of the Danube Delta, and an­cient beech forests in Bavaria have been pro­tected by the EU Habi­tats Di­rec­tive since 1992.

The di­rec­tive is pro­tect­ing parts of the Bucks coun­try­side too. The Chilterns Beech­woods and chalk grass­lands are des­ig­nated Spe­cial Ar­eas of Con­ser­va­tion un­der the Habi­tats Di­rec­tive.

This gives them pro­tec­tion for their spe­cial, and in some cases unique, habi­tats that sup­port an­i­mals, birds and plants, which can­not thrive else­where.

Now the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion iss con­duct­ing a Fit­ness Check of the Habi­tats Di­rec­tive and the Birds Di­rec­tive, which cre­ates Spe­cial Pro­tec­tion Ar­eas, to as­sess if they are fit for pur­pose and ful­fill­ing their ob­jec­tives.

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, along with more than 100 na­ture or­gan­i­sa­tions be­lieve that these two Na­ture Di­rec­tives are worth­while. We've al­ready re­sponded to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, now it's time for peo­ple who care about the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment to re­spond too.

If you care about the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, please de­fend na­ture to­day, by re­spond­ing to the EU con­sul­ta­tion be­fore July 24.

It's easy to visit the Wildlife Trusts' web­site www.wildlifetrusts.org/ de­fend­na­ture and com­plete the short ques­tion­naire.

The Birds Di­rec­tive is com­ple­men­tary to the Habi­tats Di­rec­tive and cov­ers species that thrive in the spe­cial habi­tats such as the Thames basin heaths. This is a Spe­cial Pro­tec­tion Area, due to the pop­u­la­tions of wood­lark, night­jar and Dart­ford war­bler, all ground-nest­ing birds that are easily dis­turbed by peo­ple us­ing the heath­lands for recre­ation.

The Birds Di­rec­tive is do­ing its job of pro­tect­ing the Thames Basin Heaths and its wildlife from de­struc­tion, while mak­ing new ar­eas avail­able for peo­ple to en­joy be­ing in the coun­try­side.

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