Environment minister pledges laws to cut dumping of sewage in English rivers

The Guardian, and The Times report the environment minister, Rebecca Pow, has promised to bring in legislation to reduce discharge of raw sewage into rivers.

Pow said that she would be placing a legal duty on government to come up with a plan to cut dumping by water companies by September 2022. Pressure has been growing on water companies and ministers as evidence grows of the scale of the issue and amid increasing evidence of the poor state of rivers.

Tree-planting drive takes root as National Trust record first 60,000 saplings in bid for 20million more

The Daily Mail reports The National Trust has planted 60,000 saplings in the first part of its drive to plant 20million trees by 2030. The charity has received nearly £500,000 in public donations for its ten-year campaign and has been identifying sites to boost nature, fight climate change and protect landscapes.

More locations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been earmarked for the next tranche of 1.5million trees set to be planted within a couple of years.

Litter warning as people head to the countryside after lockdown eases

iNEWS reports green campaigners are warning of potential disaster for wildlife and a costly clean ups by hard-pressed council crews unless people venturing outdoors with friends after months in lockdown take home their litter this weekend.

Cleaning teams were swamped with an unprecedented amount of rubbish when coronavirus restrictions were lifted last summer – with 33 tonnes of waste cleaned up along the Dorset coast and Lake District rangers discovering a tent and a full suitcase abandoned by a tarn.

A good year for UK butterflies but third of species still in decline

Red Admiral Butterfly

The Guardian, and Daily Mail report last year was the third good summer in a row for butterflies and the 10th best since records began, but one-third of Britain’s species are still in long-term decline.

Conservation scientists warned against overstating the butterfly boom, saying perceptions of a “good” year have lowered in the light of plummeting insect numbers. “Perhaps because of the sunny spring weather last year and the fact that more people were enjoying nature as part of their day-to-day activities, butterflies seemed more numerous,” said Richard Fox, of Butterfly Conservation.

£22m fund launched to restore peatlands that could help climate fight

The Independent reports the Scottish government is encouraging farmers and landowners to apply for grants from a £22m fund for restoring its peatlands, which can help capture carbon. Up to a quarter of Scotland, about 1.7 million hectares, is covered in peat soil which could capture and store up to 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon – the equivalent of up to 140 years of the country’s emissions. 

An orchestra of animals waking us up from winter’: readers’ photos of their local wildlife

The Guardian reports living with the coronavirus pandemic has meant many can’t travel far, with one benefit being more time to take notice of the natural world closer to home. From seals to bees, readers have been sharing pictures and stories of their local animals, flora and fauna. 

Remember you can contribute to the FNW Lockdown Nature Photo Gallery by emailing your photos to fnwildlife@gmail.com.

River Severn: Is a new law needed to help salmon?

The BBC reports a new salmon law is being proposed that could ban anglers from taking their catch home. The Environment Agency proposed the measure and said it was needed to protect salmon stocks that are in decline. Consultations are under way.

If the by-law was introduced it would apply to salmon fishing along the length of the River Severn. The Severn Fisheries Group, which represents 30,000 anglers, said that might encourage more poaching.

Badger-watching teen shares love for new hobby during pandemic

Badger photo by Sally Langstaff under creative commons

The BBC reports when the pandemic hit last year, Thomas wanted to find a way to get outdoors and learn more about wildlife. Fast forward a year and the 14-year-old from Hampshire has discovered a love for watching badgers. Thomas observes the animals at his local woodland and has written a self-published book about his discoveries. Now he wants to share his love of wildlife with others.