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East Anglia Future 50

Catch up on the big environment stories in Suffolk and north Essex from March

PUBLISHED: 17:12 31 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:43 01 April 2019

Marsh harrier at RSPB Minsmere  Picture: Paul Chapman

Marsh harrier at RSPB Minsmere Picture: Paul Chapman

(c) copyright citizenside.com

March saw beavers reintroduced, plans for a Nature Summit announced and a landmark decision by Suffolk County Council.

Demonstrators gather outside Suffolk County Council calling for a climate emergency to be declared   Picture: Neil PerryDemonstrators gather outside Suffolk County Council calling for a climate emergency to be declared Picture: Neil Perry

There’s been no shortage of major environment stories this month.

Climate emergency

On March 21st Suffolk county councillors voted to ‘declare a climate emergency’.

The landmark decision came following a discussion of the issue at a meeting of the full council yesterday. The motion had originally been tabled by Green Party councillors Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw and Robert Lindsay, who agreed some amendments before the session. Putting aside party political differences, 60 councillors voted in favour with a single vote against and one abstention.

Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, Green councillor for Beccles, speaks at demonstration outside Suffolk County Council offices  Picture: Neil PerryElfrede Brambley-Crawshaw, Green councillor for Beccles, speaks at demonstration outside Suffolk County Council offices Picture: Neil Perry

The move means councillors are obliged to form a cross-party panel tasked with coming up with policy ideas to help the authority cut emissions with a view to the council becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Beavers are back

Earlier in the month a pair of beavers were released into a fenced off area on the outskirts of Finchingfield in north Essex.

It is the first time beavers have been in the wild in the county for more than 400 years.

A pair of beavers were released into the Essex countryside Picture: Russell SavoryA pair of beavers were released into the Essex countryside Picture: Russell Savory

The semi-aquatic rodents are now living on the Spains Hall Estate – home to estate manager Archie Ruggles-Brise who agreed to host the beavers in the hope that their dam building activities will help slow flood waters running into the village in times of heavy downpours.

Archie said: “We are delighted to welcome beavers back to the estate, and to East Anglia, for the first time in almost half a millennium.

“It’s especially exciting to be able to utilise their unique skills to deliver flood risk reduction and biodiversity benefits locally.

Minsmere concerns

A Bittern at RSPB Minsmere Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERTA Bittern at RSPB Minsmere Picture: CHARLES CUTHBERT

Meanwhile, the RSPB has been vocal on its concerns about the proposed Sizewell C nuclear plant and how its construction may impact the nearby world famous Minsmere nature reserve.

This month the charity revealed that the renewal of Minsmere’s European Diploma for Protected Areas has been approved in draft on the condition that “the construction of the new reactor will not be at the detriment of the Minsmere Reserve.”

Nature Summit

Alongside these happenings there have been a number of environmental events announced.

The new chairman of Natural England, Tony Juniper, is due to speak at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Nature Summit later this month.  Picture: Ruth LeachThe new chairman of Natural England, Tony Juniper, is due to speak at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Nature Summit later this month. Picture: Ruth Leach

Suffolk Wildlife Trust announced it intends to hold the county’s first Nature Summit on June 7.

The evening event will be held at DanceEast in Ipswich and is free to attend

The Trust’s campaigns manager Kerry Stranix said: “We hope the Nature Summit will be the start of a conversation about what we can all do to create a wilder Suffolk, and that people will leave feeling part of something bigger - and inspired to act.”

Green Oscars

Creating the Greenest County Awards 2015 held at Snape Maltings 
Glyn Lee and Jackie Brown from the East of England Coop - winners of the Greenest Business with sponsor Vimmi Hayes from Invest in Suffolk and Chris Packham. Picture: Andy AbbottCreating the Greenest County Awards 2015 held at Snape Maltings Glyn Lee and Jackie Brown from the East of England Coop - winners of the Greenest Business with sponsor Vimmi Hayes from Invest in Suffolk and Chris Packham. Picture: Andy Abbott

Also announced this month was the return of the Suffolk’s Creating the Greenest County Awards for the first time in three years.

Known affectionately as Suffolk’s Green Oscars, the awards seek to recognise individuals, businesses, communities, schools and voluntary organisations for the work they do to combat climate change, or simply for improving the area where they live.

Nominations are now open with an awards ceremony planned for July 17.

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