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Our four asks

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What's wild and special about Westmorland and Lonsdale

What's wild and special about Westmorland and Lonsdale

Westmorland and Lonsdale is packed full of internationally important habitats and rare species, from the mixed deciduous woodlands of the southern fells to the limestone pavements around Morecambe Bay and the rare fritillary butterflies that inhabit them.

Limestone pavement
Limestone pavement was formed by glacial scouring during the last ice age and Morecambe Bay holds a significant proportion of this globally scarce habitat. A vast array of rare and threatened species such as limestone fern, angular Solomon’s seal, dark red helleborine, juniper and rigid buckler fern can be found here.

Lowland raised bogs
Another internationally important habitat can be found in the South Cumbria Mosses: a composite of three large lowland raised bogs that stretch along the south Cumbria coast. Some of England’s best remaining primary active lowland bogs, they are home to a host of plants, insects and invertebrates, including Sphagnum mosses which range from brilliant green to ochre red and the uncommon large heath butterfly which can be seen in the summer.

Morecambe Bay
Morecambe Bay is the most important estuary in Britain for its seabird and waterfowl populations and has the third largest number of wintering wildfowl in Britain, drawing over 200,000 birds to feed here every year. It contains 5 per cent of the UK’s total area of intertidal salt marsh, which provides an important feeding habitat for birds such as the pink-footed goose.

Morecambe Bay area is the best of the three remaining strongholds in the UK for the endangered high brown fritillary butterfly.

The UK holds 26 per cent of the world’s population of the white-clawed crayfish and the best site in the world is in the River Kent. One of the rarest fish in Britain, the Arctic char, can be found in the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency within the depths of Lake Windermere. We hope that the ospreys will return to Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve in 2015 and succeed in breeding and rearing chicks.

Your Member of Parliament’s response to our four asks:

Liberal Democrats logoResponse from Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats

Thank you very much for your recent letter and information pack with regard to the preservation of our precious natural environment in Cumbria.

I have campaigned for the protection and development of the natural environment throughout my political career and I have enjoyed supporting and promoting a number of Cumbria Wildlife Scheme’s both locally and nationally to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. These schemes have and continue to preserve, restore and sustainably develop our region’s extensive landscapes and wildlife. The amazing and varied landscapes we are fortunate to have here in Cumbria are vitally important to the threatened plants, animals and our unique environment as a whole. This is why I am a supporter of the “Vote for Bob” campaign, which with the support of our local and national community will ensure the protection of our unparalleled landscapes and wildlife.

With the importance of maintaining and developing further our abundant and thriving wildlife in Cumbria clear, it is crucial that we introduce a Nature Bill to set legal targets for: biodiversity, clean air, clean water and access to green space, and establishing new marine and coastal reserves.

One green law is not enough to save our beautiful landscape. This is why the Liberal Democrats have pledged to enact four further green laws, which aim to create a Zero Waste Britain, a Zero Carbon Britain, a Green Transport Britain and a Britain that is efficient and clean in its use of heating and energy.

It is clear that great work is being done by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust to reverse the damage caused by the erosion and drainage of our region’s wetlands and peatlands. I fully support the work that is being done on these crucial natural resources and the target of restoring 2020 hectares of peatland across Cumbria by 2020.

Furthermore, I am pleased to confirm that I have written to the Secretary of State, with regards to the important of our coastal wildlife, stressing the importance of completing the Ecologically Coherent Network of Marine Protected Areas by 2016 at the latest. This would allow us to build upon some of the already highly successful conservation and restoration schemes within the Morecambe Bay area.

Finally I welcome your suggestion that schools should do more to teach their pupils to appreciate our natural environment. We are lucky to have some excellent schools in our area who do this already, but I would be supportive of efforts to expand this work to other parts of the country, particularly within cities.

A vision for the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency

Your Wildlife Trust is developing two specific Living Landscape visions throughout your constituency.

Lakeland Living Landscape
Our Upland Wetlands project has been working in this area to restore degraded peat soils. Working in partnership with farmers, we have designed and delivered management plans for protecting our precious peatlands. Due to the importance and recognised value to society in the efforts to halt climate change, the need to continue with these plans to achieve restoration, stewardship and long-term protection is vital.

Morecambe Bay Limestones Living Landscape
The restoration of Foulshaw Moss, the largest of the lowland raised mires in the Morecambe Bay Mosses is now complete. The Trust has worked for 15 years to reverse past damage by increasing water levels and reinstating peat forming conditions. Ospreys nested here for the first time last year. The Trust has also been working closely with farmers to restore grasslands within the Morecambe Bay Nature Improvement Area (NIA) – one of only 12 NIAs designated nationwide. 

Cumbria Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves in the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency:

Barkbooth Lot Nature Reserve
Brown Robin Nature Reserve
Burns Beck Moss Nature Reserve
Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood Nature Reserve
Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve
Grubbins Wood Nature Reserve
Hale Moss Nature Reserve
Humphrey Head Nature Reserve
Hutton Roof Crags Nature Reserve
Latterbarrow Nature Reserve
Meathop Moss Nature Reserve
Whitbarrow  Hervey Memorial Nature Reserve
Whitbarrow Howe Ridding Wood Nature Reserve