ADD UPDATE, 15 June 2018: Butterfly Conservation, the charity devoted to saving butterflies, moths and their habitats throughout the UK, has added its concern for Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC)’s Local Plan.
Steve Wheatley, Butterfly Conservation’s Senior Regional Officer for South East England, told us: “The land on which EBC plans to build 5,200 houses and a new road [just north of Bishopstoke and Fair Oak] is currently a really lovely area with a nice variety of habitats. 25 different butterfly species have been recorded in this area and several more butterfly species have been recorded nearby.
“A butterfly survey was walked in this area for fifteen years (1994 to 2008) as part of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS). This highlighted the presence of these butterflies, including the White Admiral, a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) species and Species of Principal Importance in the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 (see image). It is important that local authorities take steps to conserve and enhance populations of such priority species.”
Steve Wheatley also noted that “other lovely butterflies already recorded in the threatened area include the Marbled White, Silver-washed Fritillary and Purple Emperor” and suggested that “other UKBAP species could be found, including the Grizzled Skipper and the Dingy Skipper”.
He added: “More searches and surveys for butterflies are encouraged. In addition to being lovely to see, butterfly diversity and abundance are widely accepted as an indicators of a healthy environment and a healthy ecosystem.
Steve concluded: “I hope butterflies can help to inspire support for this threatened landscape. I strongly urge local people to record butterfly sightings using the free (and fun) iRecord Butterflies app. The data collected contributes directly to the national dataset (one of the best insect databases in the world) and provides crucial evidence of the wildlife that is present and could be lost. Indeed, it would also be great if the old transect survey could be revived. This would be one of over 1,000 walked every week around the UK, providing objective methodically collected data that can be compared with other sites and which planning authorities should consider.”
If you would like to take on this weekly survey please contact Steve Wheatley on [email protected] who will connect you with Butterfly Conservation’s Hampshire & Isle of Wight Branch (www.hantsiow-butterflies.org.uk).