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Red squirrels to lose forest home

WALES' largest colony of red squirrels face eviction after their forest home was earmarked for new windfarms.

Clocaenog Forest and the surrounding area lies in a Strategic Search Area (SSA) defined by the Welsh Assembly as suitable for wind turbine development.

Now planning consultants Arup, acting for Conwy and Denbighshire county councils, say the area out-side the forest is less suitable for development, and wind farms should be concentrated in the forest itself.

It means that large sections of Clocaenog Forest could be felled - which would spell disaster for its thriving populations of red squirrels and other wildlife, including dormice.

Adrian Lloyd Jones, conservation officer at North Wales Wildlife Trust, said: "This could end up destroying the whole population of red squirrels in the forest.

"Forestry people I've spoken to suspect up to half the trees may have to go. But the impact on squirrels could be even greater because of the edging effect on their habitats - the usable area for squirrels could be reduced by as much as 75%."

Using the Arup study Conwy and Denbighshire councils have produced draft supplementary planning guidance (SPG) for wind developers. Consultation on the SPG ends tomorrow and opponents of the scheme believe too... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Clocaenog Forest and the surrounding area lies in a Strategic Search Area (SSA) defined by the Welsh Assembly as suitable for wind turbine development.
 
Now planning consultants Arup, acting for Conwy and Denbighshire county councils, say the area out-side the forest is less suitable for development, and wind farms should be concentrated in the forest itself.
 
It means that large sections of Clocaenog Forest could be felled - which would spell disaster for its thriving populations of red squirrels and other wildlife, including dormice.
 
Adrian Lloyd Jones, conservation officer at North Wales Wildlife Trust, said: "This could end up destroying the whole population of red squirrels in the forest.
 
"Forestry people I've spoken to suspect up to half the trees may have to go. But the impact on squirrels could be even greater because of the edging effect on their habitats - the usable area for squirrels could be reduced by as much as 75%."
 
Using the Arup study Conwy and Denbighshire councils have produced draft supplementary planning guidance (SPG) for wind developers. Consultation on the SPG ends tomorrow and opponents of the scheme believe too little time has been set aside for debate.
 
Critics also claim the report concentrates too much on the scheme's visual impact at the expense of considering wildlife effects.
 
Consultants ruled out one of the scheme's 10 zones because of the spoiling effect it could have on the Denbigh Moors.
 
It recommends limiting development to just four zones - Llœn Brenig East (11mW), Alwen Reservoir (40mW), Clocaenog Forest (115mW) and Llœn Brenig North (30mW).
 
This area would have a potential wind turbine capacity of 196mW - comfortably enough to accommodate the Assembly's limit of 140mW for Clocaenog SSA.
 
Researchers from Chester Zoo and the Forestry Commission are currently micro-tagging dormice in neighbouring woodland at Bontuchel, and wildlife experts are concerned that unrecorded populations in Clocaenog may be disturbed by tree felling.
 
Conservationists are now clinging on to the hope that reported sightings of the rare pine marten can now be confirmed.
 
Mr Lloyd Jones said: "There is a distinct possibility that pine-martins are in the forest, and they are a European protected species, unlike the red squirrel.
 
"If their presence were confirmed it could stop the entire windfarm project."



 


Source: http://icnorthwales.icnetwo...

MAR 2 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1543-red-squirrels-to-lose-forest-home
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