Wildlife charter

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The Independent Online
Twenty-two of Britain's nature organisations yesterday called for new wildlife legislation to save precious species and habitats which are being lost.

The Wildlife Trusts, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Friends of the Earth and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) were among those who called on the Government to live up to its election manifesto commitment for tougher action.

They published a wildlife charter to show what should be done, including legal muscle to protect sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), hundreds of which are damaged every year. It wants lists of protected species to be updated to include creatures such as the water vole, the fastest-declining native mammal, and calls for the introduction of special areas for important marine wildlife, which currently receives hardly any protection at all.