Above: Long-eared owls (Asio otus) are among owl species that have been observed at Misson Carr

AS IT BRITISH owls don’t have enough to deal with as the breeding season approaches, those living on a Nottinghamshire nature reserve will  have to contend this spring  with drilling just 120m (130 yards) away.

Misson Carr, near Doncaster, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust campaigned alongside locals to block drilling by IGas, which already has 100 oil and gas operations across the UK.

The Trust’s head of conservation Janice Bradley  explained: “We have been fighting to protect the wildlife of Misson Carr for more than 30 years and will do everything we can to o ensure it remains a haven for birds and other wildlife.” Its long campaign for Misson Carr, which contains the county’s largest remaining fragment of fenland, paid off when it became a nature reserve in 2001.

Now home to an array of bird species, it is one of the county’s most important sites for owl species.

Mrs Bradley continued: “SSSIs are supposed to carry a high degree of protection in the planning system. But sadly, permission was granted despite us putting forward an extremely strong case highlighting the potential impacts on sensitive wildlife and the delicate wetland ecology.”

The Wildlife Trusts, made up of independent local charities, are asking people to meet their MP in person about the Environment Bill that is going through Parliament to stress the need for adequate safeguards for wildlife.

Mrs Bradley added: “The planning system isn’t working. We must now rely on the additional conditions imposed as a result of our campaign and will continue to review the monitoring data for noise and other impacts.

“Many people simply can’t understand how this type of activity can be allowed just a stone’s throw from a protected nature reserve.”

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