Fears for Merseyside Wildlife as Conservation Rules at Risk; WILDLIFE

Article excerpt

MERSEYSIDE wildlife charities have reacted angrily to government proposals to weaken some of the UK and Europe's highest-level wildlife protection laws.

Chancellor George Osborne has spoken of a need to slacken the "gold-plated" regulations which he says are affecting the ability of the UK to progress with key infrastructure and construction projects.

This follows a Government announcement of a 12-month delay in the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), following a pounds 9m public consultation.

Large areas of the Mersey estuary are designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the rules, which have been in place for 17 years. The news could also impact the Dee Estuary, Abbots Moss and Holcroft Moss. Thee Trust's Director of Conservation, Charlotte Harris, said: "It appears the self-titled 'greenness' of this coalition Gover nment is being washed away with every new announcement they make on our environment.

"Their positive approaches with the National Ecosystem Assessment and Natural Environment White Paper for Nature were a massive step in the right direction. However, it now appears that they are giving with one hand and taking away with the other. …