Surrey wildfires highlight risks UK faces during heatwave

The Financial Times reports firefighters in Surrey had brought a large blaze on heathland in Surrey under control by Saturday morning marking the latest wildfire in the UK in a year that was already on course to become the worst on record.

Homes were evacuated around Chobham Common in Surrey, on the south-western fringes of London, after the grass fire broke out on Friday. The flames engulfed more than 60 hectares of land — an area the size of 75 football pitches, and spread to the nearby Wentworth golf course forcing organisers to suspend a tournament. 

Chobham Common photo by Ben Robinson under creative commons.

Beaver families win legal ‘right to remain’

BBC report fifteen families of beavers have been given the permanent “right to remain” on the River Otter in East Devon. The decision was made by the government following a five-year study by the Devon Wildlife Trust into beavers’ impact on the local environment. The Trust called it “the most ground-breaking government decision for England’s wildlife for a generation”. It’s the first time an extinct native mammal has been given government backing to be reintroduced in England. 

Photo by Pat Gaines under Creative Commons.

Hedgehogs in Surrey and across UK at risk of extinction

Surrey Comet reports hedgehogs in Surrey and across the UK are now at imminent risk of extinction according to a new study that highlighted what scientists have called the Sixth Mass Extinction. The survey was carried out by the Mammal Society and concluded that a staggering number of the UK’s native mammal species — one in four — are now endangered and it “imminent” risk of extinction. 

Vodafone teams up with Defra for digital tree monitoring trial

Business Green reports telecoms giant to provide Internet of Things sensors to aid research into tree growth and their potential for carbon for CO2 storage. The government is teaming up with Vodafone to carry out a three-month tree study using specialist sensors to monitor growth and the impacts of environmental change on the UK’s forests, the telecoms giant announced. 

Make nature part of ‘build build build’ policy, green watchdog says

The Guardian reports politicians and developers must incorporate green thinking into the design of new infrastructure, according to the chair of the government’s conservation watchdog.

Natural England’s Tony Juniper called on the government and planners to change their thinking to ensure environmental considerations were designed into new housing estates, as well as road and rail projects, at the beginning, rather than being a hasty “add-on” or “mitigation” at the end.