A new shared Conservation Steward has been appointed to work across Exeter, East Devon and Teignbridge council areas.
A new Habitat Mitigation Officer has been appointed to give information, advice and guidance to the public across the Exe Estuary, Dawlish Warren and East Devon Pebblebed Heaths.
Amelia Davies joins Sama Euridge who has been working since October 2016 to provide safe areas for people to enjoy and protect the important species these areas support.
The pair are employed by East Devon District Council on behalf of the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Executive Committee made up of Teignbridge, Exeter and East Devon Councils. The partnership was set up last year to protect important conservation sites for future generations to enjoy by mitigating the effects of new developments and population growth.
Amelia and Sama spend time on each of the three sites, talking to people to encourage them to appreciate and care for the sites, as well as helping to prevent disturbance or damage. Especially following the recent fire on the Pebblebed Heaths which covered an area of around 50 hectares or 124 acres, they will be asking the public to be vigilant, to dispose of cigarettes responsibly and not light fires or barbeques.
The two officers provide helpful information on the special nature of these internationally important areas and how small changes in behaviour can have huge benefits for our wild birds and habitats. They help to run activities for residents, visitors, local schools and businesses. They also monitor and gather evidence on existing activities, the effects on wildlife and the success of mitigation measures, while working closely with partners including Clinton Devon Estates, the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, Devon Wildlife Trust and RSPB.
As a last resort, they have powers of enforcement to caution any persistent offenders and take legal action.
The officers will also be out and about in their boat on the Estuary during winter, meeting users and helping them make the most of the water. Both business and personal watercraft users, such as kitesurfers, windsurfers, and canoeists can learn more about the codes of conduct and areas set out for different activities, which the Exe Estuary Management Partnership have recently consulted on www.exe-estuary.org/national-and-local-consultations .
Funding for the posts comes from developer contributions on new residential housing across the three areas.
Habitat Mitigation Officer, Amelia Davies said:
I’m thrilled to work with Sama, helping people understand how to get the best from these amazing conservation sites by being considerate of other people and wildlife. These are very special places. It’s great to meet people who share our passion and want to preserve them for many years to come.
If you want to find out more about what we’re doing or to report any issues of disturbance, please email Sama or myself on email@example.com.
East Devon District Council’s Chief Executive, Mark Williams, said:
Amelia’s and Sama’s work help all different users understand how important it is to behave responsibly on these special conservation sites. Their work will make sure that these areas maintain their beauty and attraction for residents and visitors alike, for the future.
This is a great example of how Councils can work in partnership more effectively, protecting our beautiful coast and countryside.