6 October 1999
Wildlife site destroyed

STAFF at English Nature, the governments wildlife advisor, are investigating a farmer who ploughed up a key wildlife site in Devon that was home to rare species.

English Nature believes that 80% of the Southmoor Farm Site of Special Scientific Interest has been destroyed.

The damage is likely to increase pressure on the government to include tough new laws to protect such sites in the Queens Speech this autumn.

English Nature said the farmer had levelled and reseeded several fields, fertilised others and cut or deepened drainage ditches.

The farmer would face fines of up to £2000 and be required to restore the damage or meet the bill for the sites restoration, under laws proposed by the government.