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Nature reserve awarded over £20,000 to save rare bird

Avocet feeding in water Credit: RSPB

A nature reserve has been awarded £21,400 to help protect a bird once declared extinct in the UK.

The Washington Wetland Centre, which is home to the avocet, has been awarded the money by Biffa. The money will be spent on improving the bird’s habitat at the centre in the hope of encouraging breeding.

Reserve manager John Gowland said: “Both avocet and common tern are amber-listed birds of conservation concern and our site is home to some key breeding colonies, with the terns peaking at about 100 pairs and avocets increasing from the first pair in 2006 to a site record of 23 adults in summer 2015.

“Thanks to this funding we’re now able to double the area of suitable breeding habitat by adding a new island along with a loafing spit, which will be ideal for smaller species such as little ringed plover."

Perseid Meteor Shower: Peaking tonight

Tonight we expect the Perseid Meteor Shower to peak.

The Annual event should be particularly spectacular tonight with perfect conditions in the north of England and south of Scotland.

Between 11pm and 4am we can expect between 50-100 meteors an hour.

Credit: Lizzie Watson

What are the Perseids?

The meteors are pieces of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Every Summer, at around this time, the Earth passes through a cloud of this debris.

It is the small particles entering the Earth's atmosphere that causes the famous streaks across the night sky.

And tonight we are forecast clear skies and light breezes - a perfect night for meteor watching.

Credit: Met Office

How to see tonight's show:

  • Find somewhere dark away from streetlights and town centres
  • Wrap up warm - clear skies=chilly temperatures
  • Lie down - a blanket on the ground or a deckchair will work
  • Keep your fingers crossed - seeing the best meteors is always down to luck.

Staithes' beach at risk of being de-classified

A seaside village near Whitby, which has the most polluted swimming water in England, may lose its designation as a beach.

Staithes could be de-classified as a bathing spot, because it has persistently failed to reach the European Union standards for water quality.

  • Runoff from farmers fields, slurry, cow-waste, runs down into the beck, which in turn runs into the harbour and onto the beach, polluting the bathing water.

The Government now wants views about whether pollution tests at the beach should be stopped altogether.

After considering evidence on the number of bathers at Staithes, we are consulting on whether or not we continue to monitor water quality at these sites.

We would like to hear from all interested parties and encourage everyone to take part and tell us their views."

– Defra spokesperson

“We applied to Defra to de-designate the bathing water on the basis of low bathing numbers, a lack of infrastructure to support bathing and the fact that the beach is not promoted as a bathing beach. The decision to apply followed a public consultation that we carried out last summer and an independent beach user survey conducted in summer 2013. Defra’s consultation runs until 30 September this year and we encourage people who wish to participate, to do so.

“Unfortunately Staithes has a history of poor water quality and despite the best efforts of ourselves and our partners in the Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership to mitigate the sources of pollution using a range of measures over the last few years, we have been unable to identify a solution that would offer a significant enough improvement in bathing water quality for it to reliably achieve the minimum standard of ‘Sufficient’ under the revised Bathing Water Directive.

– Scarborough Borough Council

Do you think Staithes' beach should keep or lose its bathing status? Tell us on Facebook or email pamandian@itv.com

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Morrisons launch more expensive "Milk for Farmers"

Supermarket Morrisons is to launch a new brand, "Morrisons Milk for Farmers" which will sell at 10p a litre more than usual, with the extra money being passed on to the crisis-hit dairy industry.

The Bradford-based chain has been one of the main targets for protesters from the farming industry who have stripped milk from the shelves before dumping the produce or giving it away for free.

Industry leaders met Morrisons bosses to try to tackle falling milk prices which, the National Farmers Union (NFU) says, will lead to dairy farmers being forced to leave the industry in the next few weeks as they struggle to pay bills and face rising debts.

"We will be launching a milk brand that allows customers to pay a little more if they want to support British farmers. Called Morrisons Milk for Farmers, this product will sell at a 10p per litre premium to the standard Morrisons milk price.

"All of that premium will go directly back to the farmers that supply our processor Arla. It will go into stores in the autumn and is aimed at shoppers who want to directly support dairy farmers ." "Consumers can choose whether they want to pay more to support British dairy.

– Morrisons Corporate Services Director, Martyn Jones

New patrol boat St Aidan to conserve region’s fisheries and marine life

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A new fisheries patrol vessel named after one of Northumberland’s most famous residents is set to become a familiar sight on the region’s coastline.

St Aidan in action Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

St Aidan, the new £700,000 vessel will patrol the shore and sea from North Tyneside up to Berwick and monitor fishing levels and marine life in the region.

The boat belongs to the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) replaces the 14-year-old St Oswald.

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