3 April 2000
Boost for coastal wildlife

INTERNATIONALLY important wildlife areas around Englands coasts are to be saved from the sea under a new government scheme.

Under a plan drawn up by the Ministry of Agriculture, English Nature, the Environment Agency and the Department of the Environment, experts will decide whether to improve coastal defences.

If this is impractical, important marshland habitats will be created further inland and the sea will be allowed to flood original sites.

Money will come from an extra 23 million already allocated for flood defences over the next three years, reports The Daily Telegraph.

Threatened sites support birds including avocets, terns, duck, geese, plants and other wildlife.

Meanwhile, a study by the World Conservation Centre in Cambridge warns that climate change could halve the number of Arctic birds which winter in Britain.

Forest could encroach on up to 57% of tundra habitats, meaning up to 5 million geese and 7.5 million wading birds could lose their breeding grounds, the survey estimates.