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Friday 8 December: Beavers in Forest of Dean, China waste restrictions and Storm Caroline

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Environment Secretary backs release of Beavers in Forest of Dean

An image of a beaver in the wild
Beaver in the wild (copyright: Thinkstock)

There is positive coverage running in today’s Daily Mail, Express, BBC online, Guardian, Times and Gloucestershire Live about the government’s announcement that plans to release beavers in the Forest of Dean have been given the green light, with further pick up expected throughout the day.

The Forestry Commission plans to release four beavers next year in a scheme approved by Natural England.

Proposals for further reintroductions are backed by the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, and this could be the first of many such schemes. Government guidance published today sets out a new framework for assessing applications for further trial releases across England.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:

The beaver has a special place in English heritage and the Forest of Dean proposal is a fantastic opportunity to help bring this iconic species back to the countryside 400 years after it was driven to extinction. The community of Lydbrook has shown tremendous support for this proposal and the beavers are widely believed to be a welcome addition to local wildlife.

The project is an example of the wider approach we are taking to enhance biodiversity, become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state for future generations and deliver on our plans for a Green Brexit.

Timeline of events:

• Beavers were driven from England 400 years ago
• They were reintroduced in Devon in 2015 for trial
• The FC sought SoS approval for further trial in Forest of Dean, this was granted on 22nd September
• The FC submitted an application to Natural England on 23rd October
• The beavers will be released in spring 2018

China waste restrictions and recycling materials

An image of crushed aluminium food and drinks cans
Crushed aluminium recyclate (copyright: Thinkstock)

We have seen wide-ranging coverage today on the upcoming global restrictions on waste imports into China.

This was covered in the Daily Mail, Telegraph and the Times raising concerns that this these restrictions could affect the amount of waste the UK exports for recycling.

A Defra spokesperson said:

We are continuing to work with the waste industry and the Environment Agency to understand the impact across the sector of the Chinese government’s proposed restrictions on waste imports.

We are also looking at ways to process more of our recycling at home as part of our resources and waste strategy.

Storm Caroline

Image of Flood Defences in Newcastle
Flood defences in Newcastle

The third named storm of the season, Storm Caroline, is expected to bring strong winds and large waves to the east coast of the country through the weekend. The Environment Agency has been warning people to be aware of the potential for minor flooding impacts – and has been taking precautions such as closing tidal gates and issuing flood alerts and warnings where needed.

The Northern Echo, The Sunderland Echo and the Northumberland Gazette have all reported that Environment Agency teams last night erected 250 metres of temporary flood barriers at the Newcastle Quayside to prepare, and BBC Newcastle carried out a live interview from the site.

Jamie Fletcher, from the Environment Agency in the north east, said: “Storm Caroline will result in some large waves and higher sea levels on the north east coast.

These conditions bring the risk of localised flooding around high tide times. As a precaution we are putting up some temporary barriers at Newcastle quayside. The Quayside remains open for business as usual throughout.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and will issue flood alerts and warnings if necessary. Communities should check their flood risk and stay up to date with the latest situation.

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