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Report emphasises the importance of Cliffe for the UK`s birds

With timing totally coincidental to the Cliffe airport proposal, further confirmation of just how important the Cliffe area is for birds has come to light in a major new national report. The State of the UK`s Birds 2001 assesses all the latest population trends in wild birds across the country from the best sources available. A recurrent theme in the report is the influence of climate on birds, and one major conclusion is that the estuaries of south-east England and East Anglia are becoming increasingly-important for wading birds, some of the very species that are so threatened by the airport proposals. Chris Corrigan, RSPB Regional Director, said, the report shows that, as winter temperatures have increased by 1.5? C over the last 30 years, so thousands of wading birds such as oystercatchers and ringed plovers have been moving away from the warmer estuaries of south-west England to the generally cooler estuaries of south-east England and East Anglia. We knew that the Cliffe and Thames Estuary area was hugely important for birds, but this shows that it is getting even more important. It is so ironic given the airport threat hanging over the area`s wildlife.In another coincidence, yet another report has been produced, funded by the RSPB and the UK government, which says that the cash return from conserving wild places is far higher than the gains made from developing them. The report, printed in the latest issue of the leading journal Science, estimates that humanity loses about $250bn through the loss of the habitat destroyed in a single year. That loss occurs in the year the destruction happens, and in every subsequent year, they say. They put the benefit-cost ratio at more than 100 to 1 in favour of conservation. The report underlines the broad thinking required if we are to understand what is valuable in our world - the authors explain that the goods and services that make our wild places of economic value are things such as climate regulation, water filtration, soil formation, and plants and animals that can be harvested in a sustainable way. The RSPB`s NoAirport@Cliffe campaign is well underway to both oppose the Cliffe option and to raise the RSPB`s concerns about aviation policy. If you would like to know more about the campaign or to pledge your support, please contact Perry Haines, Campaign Co-ordinator at NoAirportAtCliffe@rspb.org.uk or call RSPB Wildlife Enquiries on 01767 680551.The State of the UK`s Birds 2001 report is published by the RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the forum through which the three country conservation agencies - the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), English Nature and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) ? deliver their statutory responsibilities to Great Britain as a whole and internationally.

4th July 2014