March 5, 2006

"Red squirrels to lose forest home"

From the Daily Post (Wales), March 2:
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 outside 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%."
What is not mentioned in this article is that the red squirrel population in all of England and Wales is next to nothing. Its decline is typically blamed on the introduction of grey squirrels in the late 19th century. But it isn't grey squirrels mowing down forest habitat. In this case, it's wind-mad politicians giving the green light to rapacious developers in the delusion that they're helping the planet.

New packaging for the same old environmental destruction.

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