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Wednesday 7 March: Pine martens and response to water outages

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On the blog today we look at the impact of pine martens on red squirrel populations and Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey's address to the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday 6 March) following the disruption to water supply in the South of England and the Midlands.

Pine martens could help red squirrels

Photo credit: Getty Images

There has been coverage today in the Telegraph and the Guardian of a new study from the University of Aberdeen that shows the impact of pine martens on red squirrel populations.

The government has set out in our 25 year environment plan that there is a commitment to provide opportunities for the reintroduction of former native species, such as pine martens, where there is clear environmental and socio-economic benefits.

The Forestry Commission is in the early stages of considering a potential project in Gloucestershire.

A Forestry Commission spokesperson said:

We are exploring the feasibility of reintroducing pine martens to the Forest of Dean working with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Vincent Wildlife Trust and other partners. We hope to have a final report soon including the ecological suitability and the views of local communities and landowners.

The new insights emerging from this elegant study are very exciting indeed. Landscapes supporting pine martens could reduce the numbers of grey squirrels to the point where the damage they cause is significantly reduced or even stops. As a result forestry using a wider variety of native and other timber tree species would be far more resilient.

Minister Coffey responds to water outages following cold weather

Water running from a tap
Water running from a tap

Yesterday Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey addressed the House of Commons following the disruption to water supply in the South of England and the Midlands.

The Telegraph picked up on her comments that said she expects the regulator Ofwat to conduct a thorough review of the performance of water companies over this period, and the government will “act decisively to address any shortcomings exposed.

The Times also covered the statement mentioning that the Minster made clear that the government will back Ofwat in any action they need to take to ensure the water companies up their game.

The Minister was questioned by MPs about compensation available to customers, and in particular the response of Thames Water.

You can read her oral statement in the House, and see her response to questions from MPs in full on Hansard.

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