By Barry Yates
Reserve Manager at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
This is a troubling time for me privately and as the manager of Britain’s favourite nature reserve (find out more here). Our politicians are squabbling over the next General Election and not mentioning our ENVIRONMENT.
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve has benefitted from EU Environmental Legislation. It is designated as a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive and a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive. This international level of protection has guided most of the improvements we have been able to make here during the last twenty years:
- the reedbed creation at Castle Water which is now home to booming bitterns, pinging beaded tits, squealing water rail and the majestic marsh harriers! This was part funded by an EU LIFE Nature project.
- the saltmarsh recreation as part of the Environment Agency’s sea defence improvements which is now home to more than 60 pairs of nesting avocet! This project was driven by the EU Habitats Directive.
About a third of the Nature Reserve’s annual running cost comes from agricultural payments and the future of these is uncertain outside of the EU. We are only just beginning to realise the magnitude of possible changes.
Above all of this there is the almost inevitable threat of Climate Change to our way of life. We need a forward thinking, inspirational government to change individual, organisational and governmental behaviours and attitudes.
To me, our Environment matters more than anything else, we all need water and food and a healthy space to live in… but are your prospective parliamentary candidates saying anything about this?
The decisions our government makes on funding, policy and priorities, affects our environment and our everyday lives. Please make sure that the people looking for your support know how much the environment means to you.