Did officials do the right sort of research? Did their systems even allow them to take the right approach?
Any licence posing a potential risk to our finest wildlife sites should be subject to intense scrutiny using the best available science. At Catfield Fen, new independent research shows that the acidification caused by a change in the water balance between rainwater and groundwater is the best explanation of the harmful changes to this unique habitat.
Independent research by Drs Barendregt/Pyne (Utrecht University) and the RSPB strongly supports acidification caused by a change in water balance between rainwater and groundwater as the probable cause of the remarkable vegetation change now acknowledged on the Fen.
The Catfield case raises major concerns about how the Environment Agency and Natural England assess the effect of abstraction on wetlands.
• Has the Environment Agency failed to follow international best practice?
• Has there been adequate fieldwork commissioned?
• Is the Environment Agency’s modelling approach scientifically valid?
• Is Natural England’s condition assessment reporting adequate for monitoring abstraction in wetlands?
Save Catfield Fen believes that changes need to be made which will be for the good of all of the UK’s wetland nature reserves, not just Catfield Fen.