The deaths of thousands of seabirds off the coast of the West Country during the recent storms is being declared a tragedy. More than a thousand have been found dead on our beaches.
But many thousands more have been killed by starvation and exhaustion at sea, washing ashore in France and Ireland. The RSPB warns it could threaten populations. Our environment correspondent Duncan Sleightholme reports.
The RSPB says urgent action is needed to prevent a repeat of the pollution that harmed thousands of seabirds in our region earlier this year.
It welcomes the news that the Maritime and Coastguard Agency is to ask the governing body, the International Maritime Organization, to reclassify the substance, PIB, making it illegal to dump it at sea.
But, if it does so, it will take time for the reclassification to become international law and the charity says something needs to be done now.
Some of the seabirds washed up on the Dorset coast will be released back into the wild today. They were found covered in an oli-type substance last month and have been looked after at West Hatch RSPCA wildlife centre since. They're be released from a clifftop on Portland just after 8am.
Plans to turn parts of the Clyst valley near Exeter into a new habitat for wading birds are under fire from locals. The Environment Agency and the RSPB say there's no threat from the scheme, and rising sea levels make it a useful plan for residents and wildlife.
Scientists investigating mass pollution which injured and killed hundreds of sea birds along the south coast say the source of the contamination may never be known.
Around 300 birds, mostly guillemots, were treated at the RSPCA West Hatch centre near Taunton following the spill. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said that it had been unable to trace the source of the spill and confirmed it has closed the investigation.
After tests were carried out on a sample of the product, it was identified as polyisobutene, or polyisobutyliene. This is a fairly common chemical carried aboard ships and it is produced in a large number of countries.Despite further tests, we have been unable to identify specific components of the product that may have helped us find the source. Unless we receive any new information, our investigation is now closed.
Experts have identified the chemical which has caused a pollution incident off the South West coast. It's an oil additive, known as polyisobutene. Meanwhile the RSPCA Wildlife Centre in West Hatch is continuing to deal with birds caught up in the spill. Watch Caron Bell's report.