News and Events


Essex Biodiversity News and Events

This page shows a  selection of News Items taken from the wider world wide web that relate to biodiversity conservation and environmental protection. 

For News about the Project's own work read the Co-ordinator's Blog page

If you have any events that you want publicised contact Mark Iley

A more detailed list of events run by Essex Wildlife trust can be seen at


23 February 2017 - Biodiversity Net Gain – Principles and Guidance for UK Construction and Developments

he Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) In partnership with both CIRIA and IEMA has published new guidance to help professionals and UK industry address the challenge of achieving ‘Net Gain’ targets for biodiversity.

Biodiversity Net Gain is development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before.

An important part of delivering good practice in Biodiversity Net Gain is to know what it looks like. Accordingly, a project group of professionals from each member organisation has worked to develop good practice principles to guide developers. The initial draft principles were refined following consultation with various stakeholders including government, NGOs and industry and also from testing through workshops and webinars with over 450 professionals. The principles for achieving Biodiversity Net Gain are now published and can be downloaded from this link .

Essex Biodiversity Project has its own much more detailed advice on how to incorparate biodiversity into development in its guiance "Integrating Biodiversity into Development - realising the benefits" which is available on our page HERE.  See our Planning and Development section too.

Still, it's nice to see another organisation trying to educate the development industry - pity they are not listening though.

19 FEBRUARY 2017 -Smarter Flood Risk management in England

The Green Alliance published a report in November 2016 looking at investing in resilient catchments. Severe flooding has occurred in 13 of the 16 years since 2000, with the worst floods in the north of England in 2015 costing the economy over £5 billion. Since the year 2000, over 12 billion pounds have been spent on clearing up the devastation caused by floods, and hundreds of thousands of people (as well as a lot of wildlife) have been affected. the report reveals that twice as much money is spent on dealing with the after effects of flooding than is spent on preventing flooding in the first place. Nearly four times as much money is spent on land management that ignores or increases flood risk than on land management that helps to prevent flooding. This makes a farce out of our current flood policies and signifies the need for a complete re-think of current knee jerk reactions to flooding. The report recommends much more investment in activities which prevent flooding coming from upstream.

The Investing in resilient catchments approach makes three clear recommendations :-

  1.     1.  That we should use the Common Agricultural Policy or its replacement to reward land management that helps to prevent flooding.
  2.     2.  Establish a dedicated fund for natural flood management and
  3.     3.  Set up regional Catchment Management Boards to create an integrated system of managing floods.

You can find the document at;

15 FEBRUARY 2017 - Rare Mammal thriving in parts of the Essex & Suffok countryside

A report on ITV news HERE features the Dormouse with a bout 35 known colonies along the A12 corridor in areas of remaining natural habitat, often quite close to housing.  Darren Tansley of Essex Wildlife Trust explained that,  "What we've really got to do is be aware of our open spaces and allow some of them to remain wild. Don't demand that everything has to be mown flat to look like a bowling green. Because these are the areas that are vital for wildlife"

4 JANUARY 2017 - Ash tree genome aids fight against disease

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have successfully decoded the genetic sequence of the ash tree, to help the fight against the fungal disease, ash dieback.   See the story source at    

Tens of millions of ash trees across Europe are dying from the Hymenoscyphus fraxinea fungus - the most visible signs that a tree is infected with ash dieback fungus are cankers on the bark and dying leaves.

Project leader Dr Richard Buggs from QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said: “This ash tree genome sequence lays the foundations for accelerated breeding of ash trees with resistance to ash dieback.”

A small percentage of ash trees in Denmark show some resistance to the fungus and the reference genome is the first step towards identifying the genes that confer this resistance.

The ash tree genome also contains some surprises. Up to quarter of its genes are unique to ash. Known as orphan genes, they were not found in ten other plants whose genomes have been sequenced.    

Dr Buggs added: “Orphan genes present a fascinating evolutionary conundrum as we have no idea how they evolved.

This research was published 26 December 2016 in the journal Nature. It involved a collaboration between scientists at: QMUL, the Earlham Institute, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, University of York, University of Exeter, University of Warwick, Earth Trust, University of Oxford, Forest Research, Teagasc, John Innes Centre, and National Institute of Agricultural Botany.

The reference genome from QMUL was used by scientists at University of York who discovered genes that are associated with greater resistance to ash dieback. They have used these to predict the occurrence of more resistant trees in parts of the UK not yet affected by the disease, which is spreading rapidly.

The genome sequence will also help efforts to combat the beetle Emerald Ash Borer, which has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.

Ash trees have a huge significance in culture and society – they are one of the most common trees in Britain and over 1,000 species, from wildflowers to butterflies, rely on its ecosystem for shelter or sustenance. Ash timber has been used for years for making tools and sport handles, for example hammers and hockey sticks, and is used often for furniture.   

The work was funded by NERC, BBSRC, Defra, ESRC, the Forestry Commission, the Scottish Government, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, Teagasc - the Agriculture and Food Development Authority.
More information:

    ‘Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees’ by E. Sollars et al is published in the journal Nature