Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Amphibious vehicles are a danger to wildlife

High speed amphibious vehicles: a threat to British wildlife and the traditional tranquillity of our lovely waterways 

Serious concerns for the safety of wildlife and the natural waterside environment have recently been highlighted after a video of a high-speed amphibious vehicle was shared on Facebook. 

Countryside Awareness expresses deep reservations concerning the suitability of these vehicles on our inland waters

The vehicle in the video was is a powerful jet ski/motorbike manufactured by a company called Gibbs Amphibians. In the clip the gentlemen riding the vehicle enters the water and drives it at high speeds through a winding waterway. It instantly resonated with us at Countryside Awareness the potential danger this will present to our precious wildlife by the water.

There is a diverse plethora of animals that call our inland waterways home. Mammals, amphibians and birds alike would all be in danger of being injured or killed by these vehicles. A bird with young crossing a canal or river wouldn’t stand a chance if someone came tearing around a bend on one of these amphibian vehicles.

We have endangered animals in our countryside that are protected. Water voles, the British adder/viper Great Crested Newt to mention a few are all protected and would be greatly affected by this type of high-speed and totally inappropriate transportation on our canals, rivers and lakes.

If this kind of vehicle started to become common place it wouldn’t just affect the wildlife. There are many people that find green therapy in our wild areas via going for nice walk down a river, enjoying nature and some peace and quiet. Would we really want that ruined by someone motoring up and down our water networks disturbing our peace?

Major disruption would be caused for the angling community too. Fishermen and angling clubs already have to deal with irresponsible people canoeing and boating in areas they shouldn’t be in. 

There has been a steady increase in complaints from anglers regarding canoe trespassing. Having these amphibian machines on the water will no doubt cause more issues for the fishing community and an increase in complaints. Increased pollution is also a concern to many. 

Anglers launch legal challenge against canoeing National Governing Bodies

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: “We are taking action to stop the canoeing governing bodies publishing inaccurate information and to protect the rights of our member angling clubs and riparian owners.  This may now include court proceedings. Our members have often tried to make agreements with canoeing clubs for greater access, with reasonable conditions to protect the water environment and avoid interference with fishing.  However, these offers are repeatedly rejected, because the canoeing governing bodies insist that such agreements must allow unlimited access, or that permission is not needed.”

He added: “We hope that this legal action, if it proves necessary, will settle beyond any doubt the issue of rights to navigate on rivers.  We need the canoeing governing bodies to recognise that the law is clear and that permission is required.  If this occurs, then we will be happy to work closely with them and our members to develop access agreements which make it possible for more people to go canoeing more often, without breaking the law or unreasonably interfering with angling.”


Unfortunately, some place hedonistic fun above our precious eco-system! We really do need to take care of our wild areas and appreciate their beauty and the green therapy they offer!  Bringing this type of transport onto our inland waters would cause distress and damage to our wildlife and disrupt our peace!

Countryside Awareness Founder Scott Williams-Collier

Countryside Awareness 

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Who's Killing Swans at Pennington Flash?

Mute swan and her young at Pennington Flash. 

Beginning of the week it was reported that a swan has been found dead and blooded at Pennington Flash Nature Reserve. It is not clear what caused the birds death at the moment but the swan looks like it has been hit around the head or shot with an air rifle. This is the second swan in a week to be found dead at the nature reserve.

A member of a Facebook group (Leigh Wildlife and Nature) alerted everyone to this tragedy on Monday 21st November. The member posted a photo of a dead swan with blood around its eye and confirmed this was the second swan in as many days he had found at Pennington Flash.

Leigh Wildlife and Nature: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Leighwildlife/

Photo of the Swan here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=617101748474455&set=gm.897546777012635&type=3&theater

Pennington Flash is a beautiful place and is home to a variety of wildlife. An extensive nature reserve with several bird hides and a network of tracks and footpaths, where people can come to enjoy the wildlife that dwells there. The reserve is nationally renowned for its birdlife and people travel from all over the country to bird watch.

It is absolutely sickening to think that we possibly have someone going around the reserve killing swans (a protected species). Hunting at Pennington Flash is strictly prohibited and all the animals there are protected!

Hopefully this is just an isolated incident. We can't overlook the fact that it could possibly be the result of a fox attack. However there was an incident in the summer where ducks had been shot and killed at Firs Park not far from Pennington Flash. Is this the same person or just an act of nature?

If this is related to human interference it is sickening. How anyone can kill such a majestic creature that can live up to 20 years in age for a cheap laugh beggars belief. If this is the result of humans it is a travesty and crime against nature and the culprit/culprits need to be stopped and brought to justice.

Mute Swan at Pennington Flash

Mute Swan taken at Pennington Flash

It is so vitally important that we do all we can to protect all the wildlife in our green spaces.

The graceful birds belong to the Crown under an ancient charter and are also protected by the Wildlife And Countryside Act. Swans are the property of The Queen and anyone who harms one may be prosecuted for criminal damage. Killing or injuring a swan carries a £5,000 fine or six months in jail.

I would request that all visitors to the nature reserve and park should be vigilant. Please record and take photos of any suspicious behaviour and report it to the police immediately. We cannot tolerate this type of mindless violence to our precious birdlife at Pennington Flash.

Contact Greater Manchester Police on the link below: 
In an non-emergency: dial 101
Use this number to report a non-emergency incident or make a general enquiry. 

Alternatively you can report any useful information on this subject to us at Countryside Awareness by sending a private message on the link below.

Countryside Awareness Founder Scott Williams-Collier


Friday, 11 November 2016

Save the woods at George Drive in Ainsdale - Cath Regan explains the situation

Campaigner Cath Regan
Fight to save George Drive Woodland

Local campaigners Cath and Pat Regan have been working hard alongside the residents of George Drive in Ainsdale. They are fighting to save a beautiful bit of woodland which One Vision Housing (OVH) want to rip down. OVH are planing on destroying this area enjoyed by the locals to build more homes that are neither needed or wanted!

Cath Regan did a video recently to explain the situation which I  found very touching! The video pretty much summed up how the local community feel about this area! This woodland is so important to the locals of George Drive and the wildlife that dwells there. We really do need more green spaces and its so refreshing to see people getting together and showing true grit and passion to stand up to these senseless crimes against nature!

Please see Cath's video talking about the Precious George Drive Woodland
Video Filmed by Pat Regan

Its a sad fact that the British countryside is slowly starting to disappear. With the government giving the green light for more land development this can only be bad for nature! We cannot continue to consider our precious countryside and green spaces as a limitless resource for land developments. If we don't take a stand against these greedy land developers we wont have any green spaces left eventually!

These urban eco systems are so important for local communities. They provide a respite for locals, the wider community and a chance to relax and enjoy nature. The children of George Drive play in this area too and have done for generations. OVH have no right taking this away and replacing it with unwanted homes that will create more gridlock in the area.

A plethora of animals call this woodland home including a variety of birds, small mammals, amphibians and insects. There are also bats (a legally protected species) that use the woodland. There are bat boxes in the wood too and it is illegal to move them!

We ALL need to understand we are a part of the physical world and nature collectively. Destroying nature will have serious ramifications in the future for all humans if we don't stand up to this senseless destruction of our precious green spaces and countryside! Do we seriously think its OK to rip trees down and replace them with bricks and mortar? Trees are the lungs of our communities without them and plants we would cease to be. Leaving them at the mercy of the bulldozer is lunacy!

More Information here:


More articles here by Pat Regan on OTS News


Please stand with us and the residents of George Drive and help to make a difference! simply signing the petition and sharing this blog and Cath's you tube video is a great help and will drum up more support for our cause. Say NO to the bulldozer and the greedy land developers that drive them!

Please click on the link below to sign the petition

Countryside Awareness Founder Scott Williams-Collier

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Ainsdale Woodland Still in Danger!

Photos taken by Pat Regan

Propose destruction of George Drive Woodland By One Vision Housing

It has been brought to my attention last week One Vision Housing were at George drive drilling the ground. There have been some concerns raised that this type of drilling can damage other houses close by but OVH went ahead regardless! There was also 2 men inspecting the woodland and a tree felling service van parked up the road.

One Vision housing WILL be fully aware that they face opposition to the proposed housing developments! This has been reported on numerous media sites including OTS News by my good friend, Southport campaigner and author Pat Regan. Pat has also reported all of this on his personal blogs too.

Please see the links below to Pat Regans blogs concerning proposed housing developments at George drive.


More articles here by Pat Regan on OTS News


I also contacted OVH last week and made a complaint regarding the planned destruction of the woodland. I left my mobile number and email. It doesn't surprise me that I am still awaiting a response. Its a clear indication of not giving a damn in my book! 

Residents of George drive have been fighting hard on this and letters of complaint have been sent off to the council, along with a petition available to sign online. 


Here are just a few of the residents and campaigners opposing OVH plans

This woodland is so important to the local community and the local wildlife. There are many different types of birds, mammals, insects and amphibians that call this woodland home. The local children play here and have done for many years. Its also a beautiful piece of green space where locals and the wider community can have a nice walk and enjoy nature! We need more places like this not less. If we don't stand up to this evil and senseless destruction of nature, we wont have any left eventually.  

Photos taken by Pat Regan

There are also bats (protected species) that use this area. There are Bat boxes in the woodland and it is illegal to move them!

cllr Lynne Thompson who is hoped to be the person who will present the petition to the council.

There are things in favour of the locals here but now this needs to be pushed more and people need to start being more proactive. If not then we will loose this beautiful part of nature for good and it will be replaced with bricks and mortar.

The current houses by the woods that are already there may not be capable of tolerating developments and additional ground movement! Will OVH be compensating residents if and when their houses are damaged or worse? Plus this tiny drive cannot stand more gridlock which more houses will deffintely bring! 

People can still help a great deal by signing the petition and spreading the word by sharing this blog! Please stand with us against this crime against nature!

Countryside Awareness founder Scott Williams-Collier

Saturday, 23 July 2016

A Crime Against Nature!

 George Drive woodland. Photo taken by Pat Regan.

It has recently been brought to my attention that Sefton Council and One Vision Housing are planning on destroying a beautiful Ainsdale woodland at George Drive. If this plan to bulldoze this area and build homes on this site goes ahead, it will be a travesty and crime against nature!

This well established woodland is home to a variety of  wildlife including many species of birds, insects, bats and water voles (both protected species), frogs, toads and the occasional red and grey squirrel use the woodland too. There are also many wild flowers in the woodland like blue bells and mature elm trees. How anyone can consider ripping this down is beyond me! We must stand up and fight to stop this senseless destruction nature.

Bats and the Law

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

This means you will be committing a criminal offence if you:

  1. Deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat
  2. Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats
  3. Damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time)
  4. Possess or advertise/sell/exchange a bat (dead or alive) or any part of a bat
  5. Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost
Click on the link below for more information on Bats and the Law 

Water Voles and the Law

The water vole received limited legal protection in April 1998 through its inclusion in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This protection was extended in April 2008, so that Water Voles were fully protected under Section 9 (offences under Section 9 carry a maximum penalty of a fine not exceeding Level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000), imprisonment for up to six months, or both. In addition, the courts may order the forfeiture of any vehicle or other thing that was used to commit the offence).

Legal protection makes it an offence to:
  • intentionally kill, injure or take (capture) a water vole
  • possess or control a live or dead water vole, or any part of a water vole
  • intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place which water voles use for shelter or protection or disturb water voles while they are using such a place
  • sell, offer for sale or advertise for sale live or dead water voles.
Click on the link below for Water Voles and the Law

My friend, local Southport author and campaigner Pat Regan reported on this earlier this week on the OTS News website. Please click on the link below to see Pat's story on the George Drive woodland.


The local residents are understandably very upset by the planned land development! This woodland has been providing a place for their children to play and families to enjoy for generations. We need more green spaces like this not less! It's outrageous that anyone could contemplate taking this site away from the local residents.

If people don't stand up to these greedy land developers there will be no green spaces left eventually! Who wants to live in a land covered in concrete, tarmac, bricks and mortar? Not me!

Below is a link for a petition to save Ainsdale George Drive woodland. PLEASE take a few seconds to sign the petition!


This is an unpardonable on-going ‘crime against nature’ and the authorities have apparently given the green light to this eco-destruction everywhere without a genuine thought for the environment. But people can make a difference! Stand up and be counted and say no to greedy land developers destroying our green spaces! People power does work!

Countryside Awareness