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Press release from Partnership for South Hampshire, the group responsible for overseeing Bird Aware Solent

Groundbreaking Solent wildlife preservation is a model for others to follow

Work to preserve bird habitats in the Solent area has been hailed as groundbreaking and a model for other areas to follow.

The emphatic praise came from independent environmental experts as part of a report on Bird Aware Solent’s work over the last five years.

The report was endorsed by members of the joint committee of Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH), which brings local councils and other partners together with a focus on sustainable growth in the area, and is responsible for funding arrangements and overseeing Bird Aware Solent’s work.

Cllr Seán Woodward, chairman of PfSH, said: “It is good to see that Bird Aware Solent is putting our funding to great use and leading the way in the preservation of wildlife and habitats.  This work is an exemplar for coastlines across the country and we can be rightly proud of the projects being delivered.

“There are considerable psychological and physical benefits from spending time with nature and Bird Aware’s work helps the public enjoy the outdoors in a wildlife-friendly way so that we can ensure our beautiful coastline and its abundant wildlife thrives for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Every year up to 125,000 migrate to the Solent coast from as far as the Arctic to take advantage of the abundance of food living in the coastal mudflats. This makes the Solent coast of worldwide importance for wildlife.

Protected birds which spend the winter on the Solent coast include 10 percent of the global population of dark-bellied brent geese which fly from Arctic Siberia, as well as dunlins and sanderlings which also travel extraordinary distances to the unique wildlife habitats of South Hampshire.

In addition to Bird Aware’s drive to encourage people to look out for coastal birds and give them the space they need, the initiative also sets aside £400,000 each year for location-specific projects to help birds thrive. These schemes may involve protecting bird habitats, upgrading recreational space away from wildlife-sensitive areas, as well as public engagement and education initiatives.

This year Bird Aware received funding applications for projects in areas throughout southern Hampshire including: Weston Shore in Southampton, the Oyster Beds on Hayling Island, the Lymington Keyhaven Nature Reserve, Milton Locks in Portsmouth, and Hamble Common.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

 About the Partnership for South Hampshire (PfSH)

PfSH is a partnership of twelve local authorities around the Solent that aim to improve the environmental, cultural and economic performance of the South Hampshire area.

It works with partners to dissolve the boundaries of individual local authorities – to successfully meet challenges together – and to make the most of the opportunities that can be shared across the wider south Hampshire area.

Partners include Eastleigh Borough Council, East Hampshire District Council, Fareham Borough Council, Gosport Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Havant Borough Council, New Forest District Council, New Forest National Park, Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council, Test Valley Borough Council, Winchester City Council, the Solent LEP, other government agencies, infrastructure bodies and many others.

For more information about PfSH please visit the PfSH website at www.push.gov.uk

Hill Head beach