Half a million acres in Highlands to be ‘left to nature’

The BBC report a major new project aims to rewild an area of more than 500,000 acres (202,343ha) in the Highlands. Over a period of 30 years, mountains, hills, glens and forests would be left to natural processes. The area could stretch from Loch Ness, across the central Highlands to Kintail on the north west Highlands coast.

Moray-based charity Trees for Life is working with Rewilding Europe, along with 20 landowners and six organisations on the project. The charity said the initiative followed three years of consultation and its work was continuing towards bring more landowners and communities on board. 

Scientists investigate hundreds of guillemot deaths on UK coastline

The Guardian, and The Indepdent report seabird carcasses discovered along Northumberland, North Yorkshire and Scottish shores, with many more found emaciated.

The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), which is investigating the cause of the deaths, said the majority of the birds were guillemots. Puffins and kittiwakes have also been affected, but on a smaller scale than guillemots and razorbills. 

England’s rivers, lakes and streams ‘among worst in Europe’ amid concern over sewage and farm pollution

River Wey photo by Malcolm Oakley under creative commons

The Independent reports every freshwater body in England currently fails chemical standards and only 16 per cent are classed as being “in good ecological health”, compared to 53 per cent on average across the EU, according to the Wildlife and Countryside Link, the largest environment and wildlife coalition in England, made up of 61 organisations. The report warns that the climate crisis is worsening conditions for England’s “already beleaguered waters”. 

For peat’s sake: the race is on to save Britain’s disappearing moorland bogs

The Observer reports tinally recognised for its environmental benefits, the UK’s ‘Cinderella habitat’ is at the heart of a major conservation drive… About 92% of England’s blanket bog is in the north of the country, mostly in Yorkshire. But this vital and delicate part of the ecosystem is disappearing, in many cases having been deliberately drained to graze sheep and shoot grouse, and now the moorland is etched with deep channels through which, each year, hundreds of tonnes of crucially important peat is simply being washed away by the weather. 

Climate change: Dragonflies spread north in warming world

The BBC reports dragonflies are moving northwards across Britain and Ireland as temperatures rise. More than 40% of species have increased their distribution since 1970, while only about 10% have declined, according to a new report.

Experts from the British Dragonfly Society say it’s an indicator of the effects of climate change. There is concern over the loss of populations of insects due to factors such as pollution and habitat loss. 

Rare angelshark filmed in Welsh waters ‘for first time’

Angelshark photo by Philippe Guillaume under creative commons

The BBC reports an endangered shark has been filmed for the first time in Wales, showing they are breeding in UK waters, the Zoological Society of London has said. Footage of a juvenile angelshark, measuring just 30cm (11.8in), was filmed in Cardigan Bay.

Photographer and marine biologist, Jake Davies, said: “I’ve always kept an eye out for angelsharks during dives, having worked to better understand the species for the last four years.