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Consultation ‘last chance’ to keep Minsmere safe
The Marsh harrier, one of the UK's rarest birds, is particularly sensitive to artificial light and noise.

RSPB calls on developer EDF to protect important wildlife site

The third and final public consultation on plans for a new nuclear power plant in Sizewell, Suffolk, launched on Friday (4 January) and will continue for 12 weeks.

In this consultation, the RSPB is calling on developer EDF to make a clear commitment to protecting Minsmere nature reserve, which lies adjacent to the proposed Sizewell C site.

It says the proposals have the potential to significantly impact the reserve’s wildlife as well as the experience of visitors.

“Minsmere is a very special and important place for wildlife, loved by the tens of thousands of people who visit the reserve each year from around the UK and abroad,” explained RSPB’s Suffolk Area manager Adam Rowlands.   

“After raising concerns about the potential impact EDF’s Sizewell C proposals could have on the reserve in two previous rounds of public consultation, we feel the time is right to ask EDF to demonstrate that they are taking our concerns seriously, by seeking a public commitment from EDF to protect Minsmere and to publish plans for how their proposals will do this.

“This is the final round of public consultation before EDF submit their proposals, and as such, it is the last chance to ask them to keep Minsmere safe.”

Minsmere is one of the most important wildlife sites in Europe and, with more than 5,000 different species, it is also one of the most wildlife-rich nature reserves in the UK.

Among the concerns raised by the RSPB about the new site is the impact of noise and artificial light on rare wildlife. The Marsh harrier, one of the UK's rarest birds, is particularly sensitive to such disturbance.

The RSPB has also stressed concern over the impact on its ability to manage water levels on the reserve - which is vital for managing reedbeds and other freshwater habitats - and the potential erosion of Minsmere's coastline. 

Image (C) WIkimedia Commons/AshishTripuwar

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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."

 

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New shearing guidance for farmers and contractors

Industry bodies have produced guidance for farmers and contractors on how to handle sheep during shearing to avoid stress and injury.

The guidance includes every step - from the presentation of sheep and facilities for shearing, through to using a contractor and shearers - and aims to ensure shearing is carried out safely, efficiently and with high standards of animal welfare.

Guide co-author Jill Hewitt from the NAAC said: “Shearing is a professional job that takes significant skill. Shearers take their responsibility to protect animal welfare very seriously and it will be a positive step to remind everyone of the importance of working together.’