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Avocet On April - 29 - 2014

Drakes Island is again under threat from the hotel development. In spite of serious concerns by Natural England, English Heritage, RSPB, Cornwall and Devon Wildlife Trusts and Cornwall Bird Watching and Preservation Society, the developers are still pressing for planning permission from Plymouth City Council.

Drakes Island is the only nesting site of Little Egret in the Tamar Valley. It also supports a winter and high tide roost of almost all the egrets that use the Tamar Valley ie 70-80 birds. Little Egret is one of only two species listed (the other being Avocet) in the Tamar Valley Special Protection Area designation. ThisĀ  falls within the European Birds Directive 1979 (79/409/EEC) which is the oldest nature conservation legislation in Europe and establishes a comprehensive scheme of protection for all wild birds. Spoonbills also use the roost on occasions and there are several other species of breeding seabirds.

The directive bans activities that directly threaten birds, such as the deliberate killing or capture of birds, the destruction of their nests and taking of their eggs, and associated activities such as trading in live or dead birds.

Whilst the developers have submitted mitigation measures, conservation bodies considered these were insufficient to prevent disturbance to the roost and nesting colony. The latest planning application is listed here :

They have added further information (listed under ‘Covering email’ in the Application section) but the bird report is weak to say the least. In my opinion, Plymouth City council must therefore refuse the application or risk contravening the Birds Directive. We have until 6th May 2014 to comment on the application.

If you enjoy watching Little Egrets in the Tamar Valley please support the conservation organisations and object to this application. This link will take you to the comments page:


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