Fylde MP quizzes Minister over support for Ribble estuary bird population

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Fylde MP Mark Menzies asked the Environment Minister how the Government is supporting the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the Ribble estuary, during a session in the House of Commons.

The Member of Parliament believes it is vital that the next generation are aware of Fylde’s unique bird population, so the estuary is protected for the future.

He took the opportunity to raise the issue with the Minister during Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Questions in Parliament, to ensure the matter was receiving proper Government attention.

Mr Menzies said: “The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has a very important visitor centre at Fairhaven Lake in my constituency. The Ribble estuary, one of the most important estuaries anywhere in the UK, attracts about 270,000 birds per year.

“What are the Government doing to ensure that local children are engaging with the RSPB and gaining bird knowledge?”

Rory Stewart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, replied: “That is a fantastic result – 270,000 birds. The Environment Agency and Natural England are working very closely with the RSPB in the Ribble estuary.

“Connecting children to nature is absolutely essential. If we are to protect nature for the future, people need to love it. The key is to ensure that children not only access nature, but understand it and respond to it.”
Following the session, Mr Menzies said it was clear the Minister, who serves as Member of Parliament for Penrith and the Border in Cumbria, had a keen grasp on the issue.

He added: “As a member with close links to the countryside, Rory Stewart is obviously well aware of the need to engage with young people to ensure our ‘green and pleasant land’ is protected for the future.

“Fylde is world-famous for its bird population. The Ribble estuary is the most important wildfowl site in the UK, supports over a quarter of a million waders and wildfowl each winter and is an internationally important site for 20 species of birds.

“It is vital that this site is protected and that young people are aware of the importance of this area within the network of wetland sites in western Europe.”

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