Under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, decision-makers such as public bodies, including regional authorities and Parish Councils are to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in England, when carrying out their normal functions.
The S41 list is used to guide decision-makers such as public bodies.
There are 943 species of principal importance included on the S41 list. These are the species found in England which were identified as requiring action under the UK BAP and which continue to be regarded as conservation priorities under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
On the Weekend of 9-10 June 2018 a butterfly of obvious beauty and significance was photographed.
This was, some months later identified as the Cinnabar Moth by project volunteer and resident Rosie Youd.
The Cinnabar Moth is listed as a species of principal importance under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). It has been recorded as having declined by 83% over 35 years; it is suggested under the action plan to Ensure moths are adequately covered by agrienvironment schemes and by other wider countryside policies, e.g. forestry, brownfields.
The key pressures are: agricultural intensification; habitat fragmentation; inappropriate and inconsistent management, i.e. excessive tidying such as hedge flailing, use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers, climate change. One reason for this decline is thought to be attempts to eradicate ragwort, the caterpillars main foodplant.
35 insect species totally rely on Common ragwort for food including 7 moth and 7 beetle species; — Another 83 species are recorded as using Common ragwort often as a significant food source, with a further estimated 50 species of parasite in turn feeding on those; In addition to these 133 species, Common ragwort is a significant source of nectar for others including bee species that specialise in feeding on yellow Asteraceae (daisies) and many species of butterfly. Government research shows that of over 7,000 plant species in Britain Common ragwort is the 7th most important nectar-producing plant.
The Jubilee Field, in its current state hosts many Ragwort plants. Cheshire Wildlife Trust recently reported that 56% of all wildlife has declined in the last 50 years.
Today, 25% of birds are at risk and 20% of mammals are threatened.
In Cheshire, 99% of our meadows have disappeared since the 60s.
Nationally and Globally it is known that insects are under significant threats.
It is my hope that the Parish Council are able to consider this and retain the current borders of the Dog Park and Jubilee Field. Both schemes have merit and long term benefits, however Elton Parish Council could set a county precedent by ensuring a guaranteed natural habitat preservation for enjoyment of all residents with the obvious benefits that could bring.
Dog owners will benefit from having the current area, whilst dog walkers and residents of all abilities would have the benefit of enjoying a natural environment that would be fully accessible within the current boundary held by the Jubilee Field.