Bats, otters, water voles and barn owls at heart of pioneering project launched in Fenland
By ADAM LAZZARI BATS, otters, water voles and barn owls are among the animals that will benefit from a major wildlife project that was launched today. A document, containing a five-year plan for conservation for an area covering the majority of the Fens,
By ADAM LAZZARI
BATS, otters, water voles and barn owls are among the animals that will benefit from a major wildlife project that was launched today.
A document, containing a five-year plan for conservation for an area covering the majority of the Fens, was released at an event at Oliver Cromwell Hotel, March, Cambridgeshire.
The Biodiversity Action Plan has been prepared for the Middle Level Commission by the Wildlife Trust for Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough.
The trust has worked with Cliff Carson, environmental officer for the Middle Level Commissioners.
He said: "This is a really positive step for biodiversity in the Middle Level.
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Drainage boards and commissioners have been quietly getting on with water management for centuries but their contribution to maintaining habitats for wildlife has gone largely unrecognised.
"This plan sets out the existing biodiversity interest in the 700 miles of ditches, drains and waterways managed by Internal Drainage Boards in the Middle Level and identifies contributions they can make that will produce significant gains for wildlife over the next five years."
The plan includes carefully selecting sites for planting black poplars, the UK's rarest native hardwood trees.
More than 70 bat boxes will be placed at sites near drains which are important feeding areas for them.
More than 50 barn owl boxes will be put up and potential nest sites for kingfishers will be created by drilling holes in suitable positions in the steel sheet pipes of pumping stations or bridge abutments.
The Biodiversity Action Plan is comprised of a main document that applies to all boards plus 36 appendices, one for each board, which summarises the key habitats, species, aims and targets for their specific district.
Chairman of the Middle Level Commissioners Duncan Boughton said: "Commissioners all over the country are obliged by law to put a biodiversity action plan together by April, but we've gone much further than what we've been obliged to do.