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Bisons are returning to the UK for the first time in 6,000 years

This is amazing news!

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A small heard of wild bison is set to be released in Kent in spring 2022 to help revive the species. 

Wild bison have not been in the UK for 6,000 years, but with this £1m project that will reintroduce the animals, a future for the species can be secured. 

The first phase of release will see one male and three females set free in a woodland. The bison will also naturally regenerate a former pine wood plantation by killing off trees, creating a healthy mix of woodland, scrub and glades that will boost insect, bird and plant life.

The bison will come from the Netherlands or Poland, where previous releases have been safe and successful.

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Since 1970, the population of most of the UK’s important wildlife have plummeted by an average of 60%, making Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world.

Paul Hadaway, from Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “The Wilder Blean project will prove that a wilder, nature-based solution is the right one to tackle the climate and nature crisis we now face. Using missing keystone species like bison to restore natural processes to habitats is the key to creating bio-abundance in our landscape.”

Trees are killed by bison eating the bark or rubbing against them to remove their thick winter fur. 

This dead wood is a feast for insects and birds. It also creates a sunny clearing where native plans can survive.

The trust believe nightingales and turtle doves will benefit from the bison’s ‘ecosystem engineering’. 

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Steppe Bison are thought to have roamed the UK until about 6,000 years ago but went globally extinct due to hunting and changes in habitat. 

The European bison that will be released in Kent is a descendant of the species and the closest living relative. 

The European bison is the continent’s largest land mammal with bulls weighing up to a tonne. Stan Smith of Kent Wildlife Trust said: “They’re enormous but what is amazing is how they blend into their background and they’re quite docile really.”

The project will cover 500 hectares with the bison first placed in a 150-hectare area, giving them enough space even as the herd grows. Normal cattle fencing will stop them wandering further afield. 

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The public will be able to visit the bison with rangers and watch them from viewing platforms one they are settled. 

Paul Whitfield, of Wildwood Trust said: “The partners in the Kent project have long dreamed of restoring the true wild woodlands that have been missing from England for too long.

“People will be able to experience nature in a way they haven’t before, connecting them back to the natural world around them in a deeper way.”

The bison will be kept ‘as wild as possible’ in order for the project to succeed which means they will not be given food or artificial shelter.

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“This initiative could be good news for Britain’s battered biodiversity,” said Rebecca Wrigley, of Rewilding Britain. “It’s increasingly clear that bold and imaginative rewilding is urgently needed to tackle the country’s worrying loss of wildlife.”

She added that far more needed to be done across the UK to reintroduce large herbivores and “unleash their biodiversity-boosting rewilding magic”.

Smith said: “Sometimes in the rewilding debate people think that it’s a look back to the past, but that’s not what we’re about. We’re about trying to find the right natural solution for the modern world.”

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Meat Loaf has died aged 74

The singer’s agent confirmed the tragic news this morning

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Iconic singer and actor Meat Loaf has died at the age of seventy-four, his agent confirmed this morning.

A cause of death is yet to be announced.

The American musician – real name Marvin Lee Aday – reportedly died on January 20th with his wife Deborah by his side.

His family said in a statement: “Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight surrounded by his wife Deborah, daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends.

“His amazing career spanned 6 decades that saw him sell over 100 Million albums worldwide and star in over 65 movies, including Fight Club, Focus, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Wayne’s World.

The statement, which was posted today on his official Facebook page, also said: “Bat Out of Hell remains one of the top 10 selling albums of all time.

“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man.

“We thank you for your understanding of our need for privacy at this time.

“From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”

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Drivers and passengers face £1,000 fines for opening their door incorrectly under new Highway Code rule

Here’s everything you need to know…

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Drivers and passengers across the UK have been warned about a new Highway Code rule change that could land them with a hefty fine.

The new rule, which has been put in place to protect cyclists, will fine drivers and passengers as much as £1,000 if they open their car door incorrectly.

Instead of just opening the door, motorists will now need to adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ technique, which involves you using the hand furthest from the door to open it – if you’re the one behind the wheel, you’d use your left hand, on the passenger side, you would use your right, just to clear it up a bit.

This technique has been proven to be safer because opening the door with the hand furthest away prompts a driver to turn their body towards the door, therefore giving them a look over their shoulder as they go to exit their vehicle.

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This way, they will clock any cyclists or pedestrians approaching or passing by their car that they may have otherwise missed if they hadn’t have checked.

The new section under rule 239 will read: “Where you are able to do so, you should open the door using your hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening; for example, use your left hand to open a door on your right-hand side.

“This will make you turn your head to look over your shoulder. You are then more likely to avoid causing injury to cyclists or motor cyclists passing you on the road, or to people on the pavement.”

If someone injures a cyclist or pedestrian by opening their door without checking, they could face a fine of up to £1,000, though no penalty points can be added to the offender’s licence.

This comes as the Highway Code undergoes a number of rule changes in favour of pedestrians and cyclists; a new section under rule 186 states that road users will now be forced to give priority to cyclists on roundabouts.

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The rule, expected to come into force from January 29th, states: “You should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic.

“Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.”

The rule change will also require motorists to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at junctions, pedestrians waiting to cross the road into which or from they are turning, as well as pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

The new rule has been introduced in an attempt to ensure that road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others.

You can read the new rules in full here.

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People who test positive for Covid in England won’t have to self-isolate soon

‘The self-isolation regulations expire on March 24th, at which point I very much expect not to renew them’

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The legal requirement to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid will by dropped ‘by March’, Boris Johnson has announced this week.

The Prime Minister told MPs during yesterday’s PMQs that the rule will be allowed to be lapsed when all Covid regulations expire on March 24th, adding that this date could even be brought forward to a closer date if a vote is passed.

Johnson told MPs: “As we return to Plan A, the House will know that some measures still remain, including those on self-isolation.

“On Monday we reduced the isolation period to five full days with two negative tests, and there will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether, just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.

“As Covid becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.

“The self-isolation regulations expire on March 24th, at which point I very much expect not to renew them.”

Under the current guidance, those who test positive for Covid have to quarantine for at least five full days, so long as they test negative on a lateral flow test on days five and six.

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Also at yesterday’s PMQs, the Prime Minister announced that restrictions on visits to care homes will be eased further, with Health Secretary Sajid Javid to begin setting out plans ‘in the coming days’. 

It was also confirmed that from Thursday January 27th, mandatory Covid passes will no longer be needed and people will not be asked to work from home where possible.

Johnson added that face masks will not be mandatory anywhere from this date, prompting loud cheers and shouts from the Tory back benches.

And from today, face masks are no longer required to be worn by students in classrooms. 

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