Wildlife and biodiversity, or mineral extraction on Upton Heath?

Not a choice any of us thought we would need to make in 2021, so close to home, in the year of COP26.

Upton Heath, much loved and respected by us all, SSSI, a noted Ramsar site, has been carefully managed and protected for over 20 years by Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) and is now a key part of the Great Dorset Heath project. Heathland is rare and protected and an integral part of our bio diversity, many rare and endangered species live on heathland.

Managed by DWT, it is not all owned by DWT, much of it is owned by a variety of people and organisations and leased to DWT. A substantial area in the south of the Heath is owned by the Rothschild organisation, who have disclosed plans to terminate their lease with less than 6 months’ notice, in February 2022 in order to apply for permission to extract minerals. In addition, it will require access for heavy vehicles.

Upton Heath Nature Reserve is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Area (SPA) and is one of the ten largest remaining blocks of heathland in Dorset. Sites such as Upton Heath Nature Reserve also play a key role in capturing and locking up carbon, vital in addressing the climate crisis.

We must all help DWT to take action at once to protect this particularly rare and important habitat which is on our doorstep. This will desecrate our heathland and public access will be restricted. For many years it has been a much loved and very tranquil place and this means that we will lose precious biodiversity and a wonderful area to enjoy and walk in peaceful harmony.

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