Press Release on a New Site in the UK


[This is a reprint of the press release issued by the UK Department of the Environment on 31 January. The sites mentioned in this file will be added to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance as soon as the necessary paperwork has been completed. ]

Department of the Environment
Eland House
Bressenden Place
London SW1E 5DU, UK

News Release, 31 January 1997

Extra Protection Announced for Internationally Important Wetlands in the Midlands/North Wales

The designation of the Midland Meres and Mosses as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention was announced today jointly by Environment Minister, James Clappison, and the Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon William Hague, MP.

Mr Clappison said, "I am pleased to announce this latest designation, which brings the UK total of Ramsar sites to 111 covering over 459,968 hectares. The listing of this site – which coincides with World Wetland Day on Sunday, 2 February – demonstrates the Government’s commitment to recognizing the international importance of these wetland features.

"The site, which covers 1740.87 hectares, consists of a series of open water bodies known as meres and peatland areas or mires known as mosses, ranging from less than one hectare to 70 hectares in size. The site supports a number of rare species of plants and invertebrates, including nationally scarce plants such as the cowbane, elongated sedge, and bog rosemary.

"The Government has demonstrated its commitment to the importance of sustainable use of wetlands by also giving £10,000 to the Ramsar Bureau for research purposes. It has agreed the money should go towards a cooperative project to produce guidelines on involving local people in the management of Ramsar wetlands."

Two sites in Scotland will also be designated today, namely River Spey-Insh Marshes and Moray and Nairn Coast.

Notes to Editors

1. The UK is a signatory to and an active participant in the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the Ramsar Convention, named after the town in Iran where the first conference was held in 1971). The broad objectives of the Convention are to stem the progressive encroachment on, and loss of, wetlands, and to promote their wise use. There are now 98 countries working together as Parties to the Convention which plays an important role in safeguarding the world’s biodiversity.

2. No site is designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention unless it has first been notified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under Section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Such notification protects the site by law from activities likely to damage the nature conservation interest. The Ramsar listing gives public recognition to the international importance of the site and is a factor taken into account in land use planning and other matters.

3. 111 UK Ramsar sites have now been listed, covering over 459,968 hectares.

4. The Medland Meres and Mosses site consists of 18 sites of Special Scientific Interest in England and Wales. These are: Hanmer Mere (Wrexham); Llyn Bedydd (Wrexham); Vicarage Moss (Wrexham); Abbots Moss (Cheshire); Chapel Mere (Cheshire); Linmer Moss (Cheshire); Brownheath Moss (Shropshire); Cole Mere (Shropshire); Fenn’s, Whixhall, Bettisfield, Wem and Cadney Mosses (Wrexham and Shropshire); Hencott Pool (Shropshire); Morton Pool and Pasture (Shropshire); Oss Mere (Shropshire); Sweat Mere and Crose Mere (Shropshire); Aqualate Mere (Staffordshire); Black Firs and Cranberry Bog (Staffordshire); and Cop Mere (Staffordshire).

5. World Wetland Day is being celebrated internationally by those countries which have signed up to the Ramsar Convention. The date chosen, 2 February, is the 26th Anniversary of the day the Ramsar Convention was signed in 1971.

Media Enquiries: 0171 890 3041, Public Enquiries Unit: 0171 890 3333

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