February 2008

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | UK Bird News | Bird News for United Kingdom 2008 |  February 2008

Funding success for North Kent Marshes

Funding success for North Kent Marshes

The vision of an acclaimed visitor destination on the wildlife-rich North Kent Marshes has moved a huge step closer after the RSPB announced it has secured more than £1.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with help from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).
SEEDA has been helping the RSPB get the project off the ground during the past year and is funding a full time Project Manager for three years to develop the RSPB's plans for the site, seek further funding and undertake initial site investigations and studies.
The HLF funding is a major boost towards securing all the money needed to transform the RSPB's Cliffe Pools nature reserve into a site that is great for wildlife, a delight for visitors and a boost for local communities.
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant - called a Stage 1 pass - allows the next stage of planning to progress. Further SEEDA funding is also being made available for remediation and site infrastructure works, including the first phase car park. This funding clearly signals the importance and merit of the project.
RSPB Cliffe Pools Project Manager, Sarah Cooper, said: 'Cliffe Pools will be the gateway to the North Kent Marshes and its distinctive natural, historic and cultural heritage. Having this flagship green space in the Thames Gateway, Europe's largest regeneration project, will be essential to give people who live and work here a quality, life-enhancing environment.
'We still need to fundraise over £4 million to achieve our plans, but such significant cash injections mean we are that much nearer making Cliffe Pools one of the Thames Gateway's greatest assets.'
HLF helped the RSPB to acquire Cliffe Pools with a grant of £272,400 in 2001. Sheena Vick, Heritage Lottery Fund Manager for the South East, said: 'Cliffe Pools is a real gem in the South East's natural heritage. Today's news will enable the RSPB to develop existing and create new habitats for the many species that make the site their home and generate a wealth of opportunities for people to enjoy this unique environment and find out more about the wildlife on their doorstep.
'The project is a fantastic addition to the other schemes we have funded in the Thames Gateway, empowering local communities to put heritage at the heart of plans for the future of the area.'
SEEDA Development Director Peter Cusdin said: 'SEEDA is delighted to support this important environmental project in the Thames Gateway. Cliffe Pools will contribute a valuable natural resource and provide measurable improvements in the quality, biodiversity and accessibility of public space, and in turn contribute to the future economic success of the Thames Gateway.'

Bitterns and snipe get £150,000 boost at Oxfordshire site

The RSPB has received almost £150,000 to fund improvements at Otmoor nature reserve in Oxfordshire. The site is potentially one of the most important wetland restoration sites in the UK and is already a haven for many scarce species of birds.
The money, given to the RSPB from Viridor Credits through the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment, will be used to further enhance the natural wetland habitat at the site. This will involve installing special equipment to make sure water levels stay at the correct levels needed by different birds. This is already seeing two scarce species – snipe and bitterns – make an appearance.
The reserve, which adjoins the River Ray, a tributary of the Thames, provides wading birds with rich feeding areas. Species finding the new conditions there just to their liking include lapwings, golden plovers, little ringed plovers, redshanks and curlew.
Other notable species coming to the site include hobbies, little egrets, skylarks, tufted ducks and wigeon. It is hoped that rare corncrakes and bitterns will stay to breed long term. The corncrakes have already started this process and the RSPB hopes the bitterns will breed one day soon.

Neil Lambert, RSPB site manager at Otmoor, says: 'Before we bought the land on Otmoor in 1997, it had for many years been pretty much arable farmland. The almost total loss of the wetland habitat had resulted in a dramatic decline in wildlife at the site. Funding from Viridor Credits means we can press on with restoring the site as quickly as possible to prevent birds such as bitterns becoming just a memory in this country.'
Patrick Capper, chief executive of Viridor Credits, says: 'To be able to help a nationally important site such as this is genuinely very rewarding indeed. Some of the birds are so incredibly rare and need such specific conditions if they are to breed, that this was a chance we simply could not pass up.'

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | UK Bird News | Bird News for United Kingdom 2008 |  February 2008

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