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Funding boost is welcome news for water voles in west London

Tuesday 11th October 2016

Water vole by Tom MarshallWater vole by Tom Marshall

The endangered water vole, Britain’s fastest disappearing mammal, is getting a helping hand at Frays Farm Meadows in North Uxbridge.

these precious habitats are now extremely rare in Greater London and are worthy of protection...

A £25,000 grant from Veolia Environment Trust will allow London Wildlife Trust, which manages this nationally important nature reserve, to carry out important access and conservation work that will benefit water vole and other wildlife in the Meadows.

Frays Farm Meadows is one of the finest examples of rare wet grazing meadows in Greater London, providing a home for a range of wildlife species including; snipe, water vole, harvest mouse, dragonflies and even glow worms.

The grant will allow the Trust to clear encroaching scrub and bring Sussex cattle onto previously inaccessible parts of the reserve, where they will chomp away on the more dominant plant species. This will allow rarer plants and wild flowers to become established, such as marsh forget-me-not, ragged robin and kingcup.

The Sussex cattle, mainly red in colour with an off-white tail switch, are well known for their excellent temperament and placid nature and are already being used in other areas of Frays Farm Meadows.

Alongside the grazing cattle, the Trust will be clearing scrub from the freshwater ditches that wind across the reserve. The ditches provide a perfect home for water vole, which live in burrows in the banks of the ditches and the nearby Fray’s River and the River Colne, feeding on grasses and other plants that grow nearby.

Work is scheduled to start in November, with the support of specialist contractors as well as local volunteers, who help the Trust look after the Meadows and other nature reserves in the area. Access to the nature reserve remains free to the public.

Tom Hayward, Reserves Manager with London Wildlife Trust said: “Wet grazing meadows such as Frays Farm Meadows are hugely important for wildlife conservation, but these precious habitats are now extremely rare in Greater London and are worthy of protection. The Trust is grateful for the support of to The Voila Environmental Trust in helping to fund our ongoing conservation work here, and at other sites across London.”

Paul Taylor, Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, added: “London Wildlife Trust needs to be congratulated on securing this grant in a very competitive environment. It is clear that this project will make a real difference to the site and the people who enjoy it and I look forward to hearing about the work starting.”

More Information

London Wildlife Trust is the foremost charity working to protect the wildlife and natural environment of the capital. The Trust is a registered charity formed in 1981, in response to a growing number of people keen to do more to protect London's natural heritage.

The Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) is an innovative tax credit scheme enabling Landfill Operators (LOs) to contribute money to organisations enrolled with ENTRUST as Environmental Bodies (EBs). EBs use this funding for a wide range of community and environmental projects in the vicinity of landfill sites. LOs are able to claim a credit (currently 4.2%) against their landfill tax liability for 90% of the contributions they make. Since its inception in 1996, over £1.3bn billion has been spent on more than 51,000 projects across the UK. For further information, please visit www.entrust.org.uk or see HMRC’s general guide to Landfill Tax.

The Veolia Environmental Trust has been supporting community and environmental projects through the Landfill Communities Fund for 19 years. Since we were established in 1997, Veolia has supported us by contributions of over £68 million, enabling us to award 2095 grants to projects.

The Veolia Environmental Trust has helped fund a diverse range of projects, including the repair of woodland footpaths, the renovation of community halls and the installation of playgrounds and play areas. For more information, or to find out how to apply for funding, visit www.veoliatrust.org 

Water vole image © Tom Marshall