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Berkshire Ornithological Club - Volunteers wanted

Can you help monitor Reading Council’s bird conservation measures?
By Giles Sutton, Ecologist, Reading Borough Council

National government guidance for planning authorities given in Planning Policy Statement 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation states that ‘planning decisions should aim to maintain, and enhance, restore or add to biodiversity’. Councils also have a legal duty under the 2006 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity when exercising their functions.

This legislation and planning policy empowers local authorities to request that ecological enhancements be provided within development schemes. In Reading the council asks for ecological enhancements in new development where appropriate including wildlife friendly landscaping, the provision of bird and bat boxes and ecological management plans for entire sites. Recent examples include an ecological management plan for the Reading University redevelopment (in conjunction with Wokingham Borough Council), including swift and sparrow boxes on new buildings, an ecological management plan for the Foudry Brook and adjacent land as part of the Kennet Island development, swift and house martin boxes on The Reading Central One development and bird and bat boxes in a number of residential developments.

Providing nesting sites in new developments is a good start. However in order to ensure that future schemes work it will be necessary to monitor the success of these schemes and there may be scope for some voluntary monitoring of nest boxes in selected developments. If you would like volunteer please contact Renton Righelato (email at renton.righelato@berksoc.org.uk or tel 0787 981 2564).

Note added by Renton for urban members: the Swift Conservation website has plenty of advice on nest boxes that can be fitted on walls and under eaves (http://www.swift-conservation.org/). I have just bought a couple for my house in Reading.

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