Environment: Ports put birds to flight

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The Independent Online
Britain's ports were urged yesterday to adopt new working practices to reduce the threat to hundreds of thousands of wading birds which feed on nearby mudflats.

At least 77 ports, including London, Southampton and Liverpool, are robbing coastal wildlife of vital feeding grounds. Each year almost two million waders, such as knot, dunlin and bar-tailed godwit, descend on Britain to feed, rest and shelter.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds argues in a report that rather than encroaching on habitats, ports should make more use of new freight-handling technology to boost throughput, co-operate to avoid duplication of facilities, and use smaller ships and canals to reduce transhipment. Port Development and Nature Conservation, available from the RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Beds. SG19 2DL, pounds 20 plus pounds 2.50 p&p