Local concern for wildlife at key Nature Reserve is evidence that a new approach is need to secure nature’s recovery.

Long-eared owl cpt Darin Smith

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that the strength of feeling within the local community over the threat of disturbance to wildlife, including a number of species of owl, posed by exploratory drilling immediately adjacent to its Misson Carr Nature Reserve, in the parish of Haxey near Bawtry, highlights that a new approach to protecting wildlife areas is long overdue.

Exploratory drilling linked to fracking is taking place just 120m from the edge of the charity’s Misson Carr Nature Reserve and campaigners from the local area and beyond have been venting their frustrations that such activities can be allowed so close to a nationally designated wildlife area.  

The reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and throughout the consultations prior to planning permission being granted for an exploratory drilling rig at Misson Springs, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust argued that due to the risk of disturbance to wildlife and other issues such as possible impacts on water quality, permission should be refused.

Speaking on behalf of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Head of Communications Erin McDaid said:  

"As Misson Carr is a SSSI as well as being a nature reserve we’ve fought long and hard to protect, we argued that a precautionary approach should be taken. The current suite of wildlife legislation was put in place to protect what we’ve got, but the fact that wildlife is in decline across the UK and that sites such as Misson can be put at risk is evidence that the system isn’t working.”
Erin McDaid
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trusts and other environmental groups have long called for new wildlife legislation to redress the balance and in December the Government published a Draft Environment Bill. Speaking about the Bill Erin added:

“We welcome the Draft Bill and it is clear that a lot of work has gone into it, but there are gaps and weaknesses that need to be addressed.  We can’t go on allowing existing wildlife areas to be eroded and degraded. If wildlife is to stand a chance of recovering, we need to be protecting, joining up and enhancing the fragments of nature that remain for the sake of both people and wildlife.”
Erin McDaid
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trusts are calling for the creation of a new system of Nature Recovery Networks to put space for nature at the heart of our planning and farming systems and to bring nature into our cities, towns and villages.

Local campaigners have vented their frustration at the continued threat to the nature reserve’s wildlife by creating an online petition calling on Environment Secretary Michael Gove to protect Misson Carr and other sites like it from the threat of fracking.  

Reacting to the local campaign Erin said:

“The strength of local feeling about the need to protect the wildlife of Misson Carr is plain to see and we need people to tell politicians that nature is important in their lives. We welcome the efforts of Frack Free Misson in continuing to raise awareness of these issues.”
Erin McDaid
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has recently met with four of the County’s MPs to highlight weaknesses in the Draft Environment Bill and is asking people to meet with their MP to tell them why nature matters.

Misson Carr contains a range of habitat including nationally rare wet woodland and the County’s largest remaining fragment of a fenland system that once covered much of the local landscape. The site was saved by the Wildlife Trust after a long campaign and became a nature reserve in 2001.