Cash to help rare butterfly

PUBLISHED: 16:10 22 November 2010

THE proceeds of landfill tax will pay for conservation work on a rare breed of butterfly at Exmouth's Bystock Nature Reserve.

THE proceeds of landfill tax will pay for conservation work on a rare breed of butterfly at Exmouth’s Bystock Nature Reserve.

The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) has been awarded £9,000 by Pennon Environment Fund to help fund conservation work at two lowland heathland nature reserves.

Pennon distributes funds to environmental projects that their subsidiary company Viridor would otherwise pay in landfill tax.

The cash will go towards two projects, the first at Exmouth to enhance the habitat at Bystock nature reserve to boost the population of silver studded blue butterflies.

The rest of the money will go towards wider restoration work and scrub clearance at five of DWT’s other lowland heaths at Bovey Heathfield, Chudleigh Knighton, Hawkswood, Ashculm Turbary and Lickham Common.

The work at the reserve in Exmouth follows last year’s news that the silver studded blues had been seen for the first time in twenty years at Bystock, a significant milestone for the Trust who, with the help of local volunteers, have been managing the site to try and make conditions right for the butterfly.

Silver studded blues rely on the help from ants which tend the butterfly’s larva and the ants need open scrapes of bare ground to build their nests. It is this habitat that the project is looking to create.

Matt Boydell, DWT’s Land Management Manager said: “This is a significant boost for us and will help in delivering specific habitat improvements on these important Devon reserves. Managing nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife is an expensive business. We welcome this new funding which will allow us to conduct some significant work this winter to help rare species that thrive on the remaining lowland heathland that exists in the county.”

The funding will also benefit the Trust with some of the money helping to replace two chainsaws and purchase a new trailer to help with the day to day conservation on the sites.

For more information about these nature reserves visit www.devonwildlifetrust.org

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