Monday, 15 March 2010

UN International Year of Biodiversity - Fire Raising on Chorlton Ees

As well as the authorities doing their very best to destroy our remaining scraps of biodiversity, in what is supposed to be an important and significant year, members of the public are getting in on the act now.
In the last few days several large areas of Chorlton Ees have been deliberately set on fire. This will have killed millions of insects and other invertebrates and killed or endangered many ground nesting birds and small mammals. In addition the vegetation seldom recovers from such fires and what should be species rich grassland will tend to be replaced by a virtual monoculture of Rosebay Willowherb (which is why it's sometimes called "Fireweed").

There have been other such fires, in previous years, usually in March. A picture is building up of the main culprit - but he hasn't been caught yet.

He appears to be in his late 40s to early 50s (hence old enough to know better!). He dresses in "outdoor" clothing and wears a baseball cap. He also carries a black rucksack and brown oil/gas cylinder (which appears to be part of his fire-raising equipment).

We do not know whether this grossly irresponsible and anti-social idiot is dangerous or not, but, to be on the safe side, it's best not to approach him. Nevertheless, if you do get close enough to see any further details of his appearance, without any risk to yourself, please make a note and pass it on to the Police on 0161 872 5050 and/or to the Mersey Valley Wardens on 0161 881 5639 (Chorlton Water Park) or 0161 905 1100 (Sale Water Park).

I had hoped that 2010 would really be a special year in which we would begin to turn the corner and start to value the remaining wildlife in South Manchester. Instead, it's shaping up to be one of the worst years on record with lots of 'officially sanctioned' destruction ongoing and even more in the pipeline. No wonder people like the 'Chorlton Ees firebug' have no respect for the environment!

Dave Bishop, March 2010

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