A major reason for a decline in wildlife is the steady reduction in suitable habitat.

Since the second world war, hundreds of miles of hedgerows have been grubbed up to increase areas available for growing food crops. Woodlands have been damaged and farm ponds filled in.

Now, new government proposals named 'biodiversity offsetting', allowing developers access to protected land previously denied them are being introduced. Developers will be allowed to work on nature reserves, meadows, woodland and other precious habitats but have to put money aside, i.e a 'replacement value' dependant upon the number and variety of species present in order to pay a 'broker' to buy nearby land and 'recreate' a replacement habitat! What utter nonsense!

The scheme is quite frankly outrageous. In recent years, where valued species have been involved in 're-locations' where development has been granted, such re-locations have been abject failures.

Habitats take generations or even centuries to become viable. The new scheme is of course cash oriented and developers will finally be allowed to grab land they have coveted for years and develop regardless of the detrimental environmental impact.

Even Defra, an organisation which is supposed to protect our precious environment is planning trials across the country. One such example targets woodland in Kent where nightingales breed.

The wood will be destroyed and a 'replacement' wood planted nearby. Of course, the birds will be lost and never return to the 'new' woodland which will take many years to mature and become habitable.

Shame on you Defra for being part of such a crazy scheme.