Friday 26 Feb 2016
Rare butterfly gets new railway home
- London North Western
A team of Network Rail’s orange army have volunteered their time to help create a new habitat for one of the UK’s rarest butterfly at a new site next to a Buckinghamshire railway line to ensure their survival.
On Thursday 25 February 2016 24 volunteers from the EWR Alliance joined the Upper Thames Branch of wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation (BC) to create new habitat for the Duke of Burgundy colony on a patch of land adjacent to the London to Birmingham line.
The colony – one of just three found in the county – currently sits on private land near Princes Risborough, just north of High Wycombe, but the site has recently gone up for sale.
BC hopes that creating new habitat nearby will encourage the butterflies to expand their range, so whatever happens to their current site, they face a more secure future.
Lucie Anderton, environment manager for Network Rail said: “It’s great to help support Butterfly Conservation. The habitat site is by the railway line which we will be upgrading as part of East West Rail and confirms our commitment to engage with local conservation groups to help preserve and protect the environment.”
Upper Thames Branch Chairman, Nick Bowles said: “The status of this butterfly has been improving in other parts of the UK, but it has been completely lost from Oxfordshire and is in danger of disappearing from Buckinghamshire too.
“We are thrilled that Network Rail not only allowed us to work on this site, a former breeding ground for the butterfly, but also that so many of their staff volunteered to help. This is all part of our efforts to strengthen the Duke's population and increase the number of colonies in Buckinghamshire.”
A recent report released by BC and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) found that the Duke of Burgundy has recovered from catastrophic declines over the last ten years.
This turn around in fortune can be linked directly to targeted conservation work, so BC is hopeful this current project will help the Duke to recover in Buckinghamshire.
Wildlife lovers are invited to help BC’s Upper Thames Branch with upcoming conservation events. Visit www.butterfly-conservation.org/UTevents for more information.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.