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New body to protect Yorkshire wildlife

[Tuesday 27 January 2009]

THE formation of a new, county-wide strategy to protect the natural environment and its wildlife in Yorkshire and the Humber was announced today (January 27). It aims to bring industry, local government and conservation bodies together in a united effort to prevent future damage to the countryside and coastline.

although there have been some major advances in the protection and management of wildlife in the past few years, our biodiversity is still under threat

Peter Nottage - Natural England

It comes into being after a series of meetings between English Nature, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trusts, the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly and charities like the RSPB to formally recognise that a healthy environment has important knock-on effects on the region’s social and economic life.

The regional biodiversity project will “be vital in safeguarding our wildlife and the places they live on the land and in the sea from mounting land use pressures and help it adapt to a changing climate” said Natural England's regional director Peter Nottage.

Among areas singled out for special conservation measures are the limestone areas of the Yorkshire Dales and their unique plant life, the heather moorlands of the North York Moors, and the Humber Estuary.

Mr Nottage went on: The importance of our region’s rich and diverse wildlife and its habitats came under the spotlight today as Natural England, the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly met with other organisations to launch a visionary new plan.

“The loss and damage to our region’s wildlife and habitat is well known and although there have been some major advances in the protection and management of wildlife in the past few years, our biodiversity is still under threat.

“Jobs and therefore our regional economy also depend directly on a rich environment; new businesses and employees are more attracted to working in an area with a healthy and attractive natural environment.

“Our countryside, coastline and the wildlife found there also attracts millions of visitors from both the UK and around the world, bringing much needed income into the local economy.

Speaking at today’s launch at Potteric Carr nature reserve Dr Rob Stoneman Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust added: ““The launch of the Regional Biodiversity Strategy represents an important moment for the conservation of Yorkshire and the Humber’s wildlife resource. For the first time, at a regional level, wildlife conservation has been seen as a challenge for all of society.

“Ghetto-ing nature conservation to organisations like Natural England and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is not enough. This is a challenge that must be taken up by all sectors – health, transport, the minerals industry, and housing.”

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