Subject: Bypass threat' to otter recove
Wed, 2 Oct 96 12:03:00 GMT

Bypass threat' to otter recovery

  By Elisa Crawford, PA News
   Environmental campaigners today claimed that otters have returned to two
rivers near Newbury for the first time in about 20 years - but are now at risk
from the controversial new bypass.
   The Wildlife Trust claimed otter droppings have been found at Rack Marsh
nature reserve, which is on the proposed route of the new road.
   Sightings of the animals have been made on the River Kennet and River
   The trust has been working for the return of the otter nationwide after its
population dwindled in the 1970s due to increased river pollution, habitat
disruption and otter hunts.
   Campaigners claimed today's discovery again highlighted the inadequacy of
Government's environmental assessment of the impact of the road.
   Friends of the Earth deputy campaigns director Tony Juniper said: "It is an
explicit aim of Government policy to repopulate parts of the country where the
otter has disappeared, but putting a motorway through this area is not the best
way of going about it.
   "This shows the Government's environmental assessment of the road has been
entirely misconceived. Rare snails, badgers, doormice and otters have now been
discovered on the route, but the Government does not care."
   The Wildlife Trust is calling for otter underpasses and fencing to be
constructed to prevent the animals being killed on the new road.
   Trust president David Bellamy said the Government must "learn the lesson of
Newbury". He called for detailed environmental assessments of all new roads in
the future.