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Natural England - Document On Spartina Anglica

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

Spartina doesn't recognise boundaries.

It didn't stay put where originally placed , it didn't stop at Parkgate, or Heswall, or at any point in the Dee Estuary. It is now turning the corner and is marching through West Kirby, Hoylake, Meols and continuing towards Moreton, Leasowe and ultimately New Brighton and beyond.

Hoylake Beach Community have been led to believe by both Wirral Council and the local representative of Nature England that the unchecked spread of the invasive cord grass Spartina is to be accepted and indeed embraced as natural progression.

This is so wrong in many ways, but probably most worrying as it seems to be at odds with the latest publication by Nature England on Spartina ecology, management and control.

This document is over 100 pages long (click here).

For the sake of simplicity only the front page and executive summary are included below, together with a flowchart. Also included in this document, for the recommended ways to react to, and deal with, Spartina growth and spread.

The main thrust of the summary is that original work on Spartina defines this plant as a rapidly invasive species that colonises and destroys existing ecosystems, and needs strict control. The authors then go on to say that more research is needed in order to possibly confirm or challenge these previous conclusions. The authors also suggest that until this future research is concluded, Spartina management should remain a viable option.

Indeed, the flow chart below was included in the publication to help decision makers on how to deal with Spartina spread.

Analysis of this flowchart would suggest that the management and control of Spartina on all of the north Wirral foreshore (including Hoylake and Meols) should be seriously considered before the loss of many diverse and sensitive ecosystems becomes inevitable.


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