Oh dear, I suppose it was inevitable; a few warm, dry sunny days and the pyromaniacs come out in force. Apart from the risk to human life, heath fires cause the destruction of our native, but diminishing wildlife and can be extensive, including but not limited to, the destruction of: * the nests of wild birds which nest on or near the ground, the eggs and young in the nests. Such birds include Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Wren, Dunnock and others. Some of these birds are host to Cuckoos’ eggs. Cuckoo numbers have dropped by 65% since the 1980s. After the heathland is burnt, birds will have lost potential breeding habitat and the means to feed their young. In the UK, all wild birds, their nests and their eggs are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

* lizards, snakes, slowworms, all of which are protected in law by the same Act.

* eggs and larvae of butterflies and moths.

* invertebrates such as spiders and beetles (food for birds and nestlings).

* wildflowers that all sorts of species feed on.

And if you think these creatures don’t matter, they do. They are all part of the delicate and fragile web of diversity in the world which go to make our world the fascinating and beautiful place it is.

Setting fires on heathland will only help to speed these declines.

Parents, teachers, please educate children. If you love Wales, be proud of Wales, don’t light heath fires and don’t drop litter. Respect Wales.

G Cobbold

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