York meadows gain special status to safeguard tansy beetle

York Press: Flood meadows are the last UK stronghold for the tansy beetle and are confirmed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Flood meadows are the last UK stronghold for the tansy beetle and are confirmed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

ANCIENT flood meadows on York's outskirts have been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest - safeguarding the endangered Tansy beetle.

Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Meadows, to the north of the city, are the last stronghold in the British Isles of the iridescent green beetle, otherwise known as Chrysolina graminis.

Their confirmation yesterday as an SSSI, which followed a four-month consultation period, means the floodplain will be managed appropriately to maintain and enhance its biodiversity, while it is also used to store up to 3.3 million cubic metres of floodwater from the Ouse to help prevent flooding in Rawcliffe and York.

David Shaw, area manager for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire at Natural England, said SSSI status was 'fantastic,' because it would protect a large area of rare habitats and species so close to the thriving city.

Steven Kirman, of the Environment Agency, said: “This is great news for the tansy beetle as well as many other important species of plants, birds, animals and insects.

"SSSI designations are a hugely successful way of helping to conserve natural habitats, and as well as helping wildlife they are of huge benefit to people in many ways.

"The maintenance of Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Meadows is especially important to us because of the role the site plays in flood alleviation in the city of York.”

A Natural England spokesman said the beetle relied almost entirely on the tansy plant Tanacetum vulgare for its entire life cycle in England. "Noted at Clifton Ings since Victorian times, it is thought that a stretch of the River Ouse which runs adjacent to the site near York supports the last known population of this species in the British Isles."

He said lowland grasslands were vulnerable to agricultural improvement and it was estimated there had been a 97 per cent decline in semi-natural grassland in England and Wales in the 50 years to 1984, with losses continuing during the 1980s and 1990s.

"Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Meadows is an unusually large area of intact floodplain grassland that has avoided fragmentation or agricultural improvement."

Comments (16)

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10:55am Fri 30 May 14

purelobo says...

i m sure that i saw a tansy beetle at germany beck.it was in the jaws of a bat that i noticed whilst looking for greater crested newts.
i m sure that i saw a tansy beetle at germany beck.it was in the jaws of a bat that i noticed whilst looking for greater crested newts. purelobo
  • Score: 11

11:02am Fri 30 May 14

Mullarkian says...

It's amazing that these meadows haven't been built on considering they are so close to York.
It's amazing that these meadows haven't been built on considering they are so close to York. Mullarkian
  • Score: 6

11:06am Fri 30 May 14

Rankled says...

If you are interested, look up Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows who have regular work parties looking after the area. Dr Mick would probably love to put an official comment in the story.
If you are interested, look up Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows who have regular work parties looking after the area. Dr Mick would probably love to put an official comment in the story. Rankled
  • Score: 8

11:28am Fri 30 May 14

steve_york says...

I was just about to add the same comment as purelobo above, yes if you walk around Fulford Ings and around Germany Beck and further, you can see these beetles, so not just north of York, so not that protected if they are building around Fulford...
I was just about to add the same comment as purelobo above, yes if you walk around Fulford Ings and around Germany Beck and further, you can see these beetles, so not just north of York, so not that protected if they are building around Fulford... steve_york
  • Score: 11

11:45am Fri 30 May 14

tobefair says...

There are a lot of lowland grasslands around York that sustain hundreds if not thousands of wildlife species. The problem is the Council is hell bent on building on them.
There are a lot of lowland grasslands around York that sustain hundreds if not thousands of wildlife species. The problem is the Council is hell bent on building on them. tobefair
  • Score: 18

11:53am Fri 30 May 14

BL2 says...

SSSI sites are not safe either if enough money is thrown at it :-/ Just look at the massive service station case in Gloucester. There needs to be blocks and legal safeguards to building on any green site.
SSSI sites are not safe either if enough money is thrown at it :-/ Just look at the massive service station case in Gloucester. There needs to be blocks and legal safeguards to building on any green site. BL2
  • Score: -4

12:29pm Fri 30 May 14

MCWM says...

Mullarkian wrote:
It's amazing that these meadows haven't been built on considering they are so close to York.
Really? I'd be amazed if they were built on considering the area is a key part of York's flood defences and is 6ft underwater several times a year. Oh hang on...
[quote][p][bold]Mullarkian[/bold] wrote: It's amazing that these meadows haven't been built on considering they are so close to York.[/p][/quote]Really? I'd be amazed if they were built on considering the area is a key part of York's flood defences and is 6ft underwater several times a year. Oh hang on... MCWM
  • Score: 10

12:48pm Fri 30 May 14

acomblass says...

I seem to recall Cllr Hyman as Lord Mayor dedicating a site near to the Designer Outlet which also hosts the tansy beetle - there is a meadow with a plaque there to this effect. It was arranged by the Carstairs Countryside Trust in conjunction with Wheldrake Ings.
I seem to recall Cllr Hyman as Lord Mayor dedicating a site near to the Designer Outlet which also hosts the tansy beetle - there is a meadow with a plaque there to this effect. It was arranged by the Carstairs Countryside Trust in conjunction with Wheldrake Ings. acomblass
  • Score: 7

12:56pm Fri 30 May 14

/kev/null says...

Last summer I met a bloke who was out counting tansy beetles down by clifton bridge, and he told me that the habitat stretched from Rawcliffe to Bishopthorpe.

He had a clipboard and a modest beard.
Last summer I met a bloke who was out counting tansy beetles down by clifton bridge, and he told me that the habitat stretched from Rawcliffe to Bishopthorpe. He had a clipboard and a modest beard. /kev/null
  • Score: 10

3:13pm Fri 30 May 14

Jalymo says...

Askham Bog SSI at the South of Moor Lane is under threat of having a massive housing estate built on its buffer land if the Council gets it's way. They are so hypocritical! Full of it when they can grandstand about conserving wildlife, whilst actively seeking to put a nationally important SSI with hundreds of different species in jeopardy near Woodthorpe.
Askham Bog SSI at the South of Moor Lane is under threat of having a massive housing estate built on its buffer land if the Council gets it's way. They are so hypocritical! Full of it when they can grandstand about conserving wildlife, whilst actively seeking to put a nationally important SSI with hundreds of different species in jeopardy near Woodthorpe. Jalymo
  • Score: 12

3:27pm Fri 30 May 14

pedalling paul says...

tobefair wrote:
There are a lot of lowland grasslands around York that sustain hundreds if not thousands of wildlife species. The problem is the Council is hell bent on building on them.
No, the problem is that the human race is hell bent on procreating at an increasing and unsustainable rate, hence the insatiable demand for more houses etc. This has been abetted by advances in medical knowledge, which help us shuffle of this mortal coil later rather than sooner. Maybe World War 3 will sort us out for several generations.......
[quote][p][bold]tobefair[/bold] wrote: There are a lot of lowland grasslands around York that sustain hundreds if not thousands of wildlife species. The problem is the Council is hell bent on building on them.[/p][/quote]No, the problem is that the human race is hell bent on procreating at an increasing and unsustainable rate, hence the insatiable demand for more houses etc. This has been abetted by advances in medical knowledge, which help us shuffle of this mortal coil later rather than sooner. Maybe World War 3 will sort us out for several generations....... pedalling paul
  • Score: 25

4:38pm Fri 30 May 14

MarkyMarkMark says...

pedalling paul wrote:
tobefair wrote:
There are a lot of lowland grasslands around York that sustain hundreds if not thousands of wildlife species. The problem is the Council is hell bent on building on them.
No, the problem is that the human race is hell bent on procreating at an increasing and unsustainable rate, hence the insatiable demand for more houses etc. This has been abetted by advances in medical knowledge, which help us shuffle of this mortal coil later rather than sooner. Maybe World War 3 will sort us out for several generations.......
Presumably the mortal coil isn't such a good contraceptive as the normal one?
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tobefair[/bold] wrote: There are a lot of lowland grasslands around York that sustain hundreds if not thousands of wildlife species. The problem is the Council is hell bent on building on them.[/p][/quote]No, the problem is that the human race is hell bent on procreating at an increasing and unsustainable rate, hence the insatiable demand for more houses etc. This has been abetted by advances in medical knowledge, which help us shuffle of this mortal coil later rather than sooner. Maybe World War 3 will sort us out for several generations.......[/p][/quote]Presumably the mortal coil isn't such a good contraceptive as the normal one? MarkyMarkMark
  • Score: 9

5:04pm Fri 30 May 14

nottoooldtocare says...

If memory serves me well there was a field at Collingham that "supported" the Tansy beetle, when the NRA(?) built some flood banks and a wall, cost thousands to get around it. I think that's the river Wharfe, so maybe this isn't as rare as other would have you believe.
As for hoping it is in Fulford, it shouldn't make too much difference if it was. The plans for where the houses are being built isn't actually in the flood plain (yes the site might well show part of it is in the flood area, but this is the surface water storage area). The reality is the GB development should help keep the A19 open in the bigger floods reducing some of the chaos, they have consulted widely over many years and tried to address everyone's concerns to some degree.
If memory serves me well there was a field at Collingham that "supported" the Tansy beetle, when the NRA(?) built some flood banks and a wall, cost thousands to get around it. I think that's the river Wharfe, so maybe this isn't as rare as other would have you believe. As for hoping it is in Fulford, it shouldn't make too much difference if it was. The plans for where the houses are being built isn't actually in the flood plain (yes the site might well show part of it is in the flood area, but this is the surface water storage area). The reality is the GB development should help keep the A19 open in the bigger floods reducing some of the chaos, they have consulted widely over many years and tried to address everyone's concerns to some degree. nottoooldtocare
  • Score: 12

7:49pm Fri 30 May 14

petethefeet says...

How about you start one of these rush-hour mass-cycling protests as seen in London & Oxford? That should start something similar to WW3!
How about you start one of these rush-hour mass-cycling protests as seen in London & Oxford? That should start something similar to WW3! petethefeet
  • Score: 25

8:35am Sat 31 May 14

pedalling paul says...

petethefeet wrote:
How about you start one of these rush-hour mass-cycling protests as seen in London & Oxford? That should start something similar to WW3!
Oh ha bl**dy ha.......!!
[quote][p][bold]petethefeet[/bold] wrote: How about you start one of these rush-hour mass-cycling protests as seen in London & Oxford? That should start something similar to WW3![/p][/quote]Oh ha bl**dy ha.......!! pedalling paul
  • Score: 13

2:23am Sun 1 Jun 14

Magicman! says...

acomblass wrote:
I seem to recall Cllr Hyman as Lord Mayor dedicating a site near to the Designer Outlet which also hosts the tansy beetle - there is a meadow with a plaque there to this effect. It was arranged by the Carstairs Countryside Trust in conjunction with Wheldrake Ings.
I recall this too.

It's also worth noting that sometimes if you go along the riverside route from Landing Lane (Skelton) heading north, you will sometimes see iridescent beetles which have tiny number stickers on their backs. I've seen a few when doing the odd bike ride.

With Rawcliffe and Clifton Ings, I think the key is to sustain the environment as it currently stands... allowing it to flood as and when the river rises, and in the 3 main summer months allowing cows on to perform a bit of 'natural pruning' here and there. As the beetles have been living on this ecosystem indefinitely up until now, it shows that allowing those processes to occur sustains the environment the beetles thrive on.
[quote][p][bold]acomblass[/bold] wrote: I seem to recall Cllr Hyman as Lord Mayor dedicating a site near to the Designer Outlet which also hosts the tansy beetle - there is a meadow with a plaque there to this effect. It was arranged by the Carstairs Countryside Trust in conjunction with Wheldrake Ings.[/p][/quote]I recall this too. It's also worth noting that sometimes if you go along the riverside route from Landing Lane (Skelton) heading north, you will sometimes see iridescent beetles which have tiny number stickers on their backs. I've seen a few when doing the odd bike ride. With Rawcliffe and Clifton Ings, I think the key is to sustain the environment as it currently stands... allowing it to flood as and when the river rises, and in the 3 main summer months allowing cows on to perform a bit of 'natural pruning' here and there. As the beetles have been living on this ecosystem indefinitely up until now, it shows that allowing those processes to occur sustains the environment the beetles thrive on. Magicman!
  • Score: 2

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