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Why is Hoylake beach recognised as SSSI



If you look at the above photograph which is Wirral Borough Council’s own signage found at Hoylake beach, titled.


“Please help protect wild birds on Hoylake beach”


"This beach is part of the internationally important North Wirral Foreshore Site of Special Scientific interest (SSSI) because of the thousands of wading birds that visit every winter.

At high water, birds are forced to roost close to this promenade, but disturbance can cause them to use up valuable energy reserves.


So, what brings these waders to Hoylake Beach?


The only reason that 1000's of birds appear on Hoylake beach is primarily down to one thing, it’s the spring tides that forces them here!

Approximately every fortnight during the spring tide period (2 daily high tides over 3-4 days) the sea does eventually come in on to Hoylake beach, as it floods in from the Meols direction towards Hoylake.



So, as the tide covers the waders’ feeding areas on Meols foreshore, the advancing tide herds them along the foreshore to the only small stretch of exposed beach area on the entire North Wirral coastline which lies between the Hoylake promenade and the hightide mark.


Whilst these birds rest up and wait for the ebb tide to uncover their feeding areas again, it brings them very close to the promenade which makes it a very popular position for birdwatching.

Wirral Coastal Rangers promote Hoylake Beach as “one of the best coastal birdwatching sites in the northwest”.


This is the true gem in Hoylake's crown, this natural spectacle on Hoylake beach with 1000s of waders of multiple species is a amazing sight, and only yards off the promenade which is enjoyed by so many people of all ages.



This unique area is under serious threat as vegetation increases in a waders roosting area (& feeding areas) do not mix. It will have serious implications regarding changes in their pre-established habitats.


It is vital that these birds have unheeded access to this roosting area which helps them to conserve their body reserves during the lean winter months, because they can’t simply fly around for an hour or two until the tide drops off.


What were the key reasons and benefits of beach maintenance towards Hoylake wildlife?


In the Wirral Borough Council 2010 “Hoylake Beach, Site Management Agreement” you will find the following references to Hoylake Beach, and the benefits towards Hoylake's wildlife by maintaining it.




“The north Wirral foreshore is attracting an increasing number of overwintering waders and summer gulls and terns. This may be due to regular disturbance of roost sites in the adjacent Dee and Mersey Estuaries, but may also be due to the areas of open intertidal mud and sand, free from vegetation and rich in invertebrates, attracting certain species such as the Bar-tailed Godwit that prefer unvegetated intertidal sand and mud as feeding grounds. Allowing the natural succession of all areas of foreshore into saltmarsh could therefore result in a loss of important feeding and roost sites and a reduction in the internationally important numbers of wading birds for which the site is a proposed Ramsar Site”


______________________________________________________________

Common Cord Grass often produces extensive monoculture swards of much less intrinsic value to wildlife, and in many areas is considered to be a threat to bird feeding grounds on mudflats.


UK Biodiversity Action Plan – Habitat Action Plan for Coastal Saltmarsh


____________________________________________________________


“It is unlikely that the current area of Spartina growth has any effect on the other existing flora and fauna communities, however uncontrolled spread of the species may result in a loss of open habitat for the overwintering waders and for which the site is designated as a ‘Wetland of International Importance’.



So why are WBC ignoring their own advice by allowing a Natural Succession to destroy this habitat and knowing full well the consequences of this reckless act will have on Hoylake’s wildlife”


Does this council really care about Hoylake’s nature?


So, now that the Royal Haskoning survey has confirmed the loss of the Waders roosting area due to Dense vegetation growth.


And, at a previous Full Council meeting where Hoylake’s ward councillors tried to bring up the issue of Spartina and its likely impact on the Meols/Hoylake wildlife, the motion was voted down without any debate by Labour and Green councillors.


Natural England have informed me that they had noted to Wirral Borough Council to include Meols foreshore (because of the wildlife) in the Royal Haskoning survey, however Wirral Borough Council declined to do so!


Wirral residents already know what little compassion WBC have shown towards their health and wellbeing, which appears to count for nothing.

Wirral residents should remember all this come election time.


This is a new low level to ignore their own advice, and a red flag warning regarding Hoylake’s wildlife, to actively encourage vegetation to grow in the waders sensitive areas..


Please look at link below where the RSPB are pro-actively trying to reverse a similar situation, which WBC are championing here on Hoylake/Meols foreshores.


https://scotlandsnature.blog/2021/05/26/dingwall-bay-spartina-control/


What WBC have completely overlooked here is, through their earlier Beach maintenance plans, they were securing a perfect habitat for Hoylake’s wildlife.


The plan was protecting and preserving this unique habitat for this thriving wildlife, which was one of the Wirral’s greatest assets.


So, it really begs the question what or who changed Wirral Borough Council's attitude towards this wonderful wildlife?


Who will pay the ultimate price of them getting this wrong? That’s what’s at stake here!


Nature does not need to be green to exist!


Remember there have always been 10's of 1000's of waders on Hoylake and Meols shores, of multiple species, and that's the best barometer to say this habitat is perfect for them, they would not be here if it was so wrong.


Chris Packham recently spoke on the BBC 'Winter Watch' programme regarding UK bird numbers being in serious decline due to “loss of habitat” and mostly through human interference.


Some local people with misconceptions need to be very mindful of the above, and careful what they wish for going forward into the consultation period!



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Thank you!


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