West Dorset Constituency

WEST DORSET - View over Lyme Bay from Golden Cap looking west © T BATES

What’s special and valuable about West Dorset’s natural environment?

The world renowned Jurassic coastline provides coastal habitats, stunning landscape, great walking on the South West Coast Path and a key element of Dorset’s tourist economy. It also includes the highest point on the south coast of England at the Golden Cap in West Dorset.

The Lyme Bay marine environment has spectacular reefs and opportunities to experience marine wildlife such as seabirds, seahorses and dolphins.

Some of the finest flower-rich chalk grassland and meadows in Britain provide a habitat for wide range of species including the chalkhill blue and marsh fritillary butterflies, as well as rare orchids and gentians. Superb traditional hay meadows still occur in the vales and coast.

A network of chalk rivers and streams are home to the increasingly scarce white-clawed crayfish, water voles and otters, and provide valuable spawning sites for salmon and brown trout.

Protecting and restoring nature in West Dorset

Adapting to coastal change: We are facing more rapid coastal change due to the rising sea levels and more extreme weather associated with climate change. As we plan for this, wherever possible we should work with natural processes. Making more space for nature on the coast can go hand in hand with better access for people, enhancing the South West’s key natural asset.

Restoring the unique marine environment: Studies in Lyme Bay have shown that excluding the most damaging fishing activities from sensitive areas allows seabed communities to recover and thrive. The pink sea fan coral is recovering in Lyme Bay following restrictions on dredging. The creation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) will spread the benefits more widely.  We need to designate an effective network of these protected areas to restore biodiversity for the benefit of wildlife and all those that rely on the sea’s riches for a living, for enjoyment and for their general well-being.

Wildlife-friendly farming: Modern farming doesn’t have to be bad for wildlife. There will be many farmers who will want to do more for nature, adding wildlife value with environmentally sensitive food production. The context they work in, including the incentives we all provide through our taxes, and the markets we all influence through our buying power needs to be more helpful.

What you can do

Please share the below questions with your local candidates, through social media, email or face to face, and ask other people who care about nature in your constituency, to do the same.  This will give you a basis for keeping the natural environment on their agenda and let them know how important it is to you.  

  1. What will you do to ensure our wildlife is protected and restored after Brexit?
  2. What will you do to ensure that wildlife thrives in our seas once more?
  3. What will you do to ensure we have new farming policies that support nature’s recovery?
  4. What will you do to make sure we move to a low carbon economy?

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