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WALES: Recovering bird population not flying yet - Bates

January 15, 2004 12:00 AM

Mick Bates AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat countryside spokesperson today commented on RSPB Cymru statistics showing the current number of wild farmland birds have begun to stabilise after a period decline.

He said: 'These modest increases in bird populations, like the tree sparrow, are a great encouragement to those of us who have long advocated agri-environmental farming, such as Tir Gofal; it is now up to the Labour Government to recognise the benefits a broad and shallow, rather than elitist, Tir Gofal could give the Welsh countryside'.

The wild bird population is an important indicator to use when measuring the effects of sustainable development, which is a priority of the Assembly. After over two decades of decline, these farmland birds have begun to stabilise and repopulate, including species like the robin and blackbird. While there have been some modest increases, there is still a ways to go

before there is full recovery in sight.

"Despite the increasing numbers of farmland birds, their range is actually getting smaller", said Mr Bates, "Government cuts in the last budget don't bode well for agri-environmental farming - nor does the UK governments hesitation over the GM decision"