Natural England produced the under mentioned report, clearly highlighting on page 25 that ragwort was a particular problem following scrub clearance but have dismally failed to ensure that action would be taken to control the spread; seed remains viable in the soil for up to 20 years.
The Conservation and management of Sea Buckthorn
(Hippophaë rhamnoides) in the UK
Report of the workshop held at SaltfleetbyTheddlethorpe Dunes and Gibraltar Point SAC on 17- 18 September 2009
Page 25 extract
“ Following clearance there were concerns about the presence of ruderal vegetation including ragwort, rosebay willowherb and Himalayan balsam Impatiens glanulifera. The ragwort was seen as a particular problem. The study by Richards and Burningham (2011) shows that clearance alone is not enough to recover dune plant communities; the exposed bare sandy soils encourage the spread of ruderal species creating a secondary problem. The authors recommend that different clearance methods should be evaluated, both in terms of their effectiveness of scrub control and in reducing the secondary problem of invasion by ruderal species ”
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust apparently still maintain a watching brief over this protected area, have they been watching the ragwort grow or just failed to visit the site on a regular basis? What advice have they given to their close partners East Lindsey District Council?
It is very disappointing that all three parties (Natural England, East Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust) involved in the destruction of the buckthorn habitats on Seacroft Marsh seem totally disinterested in monitoring or developing favourable conditions for dune plant communities to thrive.
Unless such action is undertaken their wanton destruction of the buckthorn was totally pointless and represents a complete waste of over £40,000 of public money.
August 2016 - the following photos are fairly representative of ragwort levels across most of the cleared areas at Seacroft as there has been no attempt to control the spread of ruderal species following clearance.
Central dune looking east from Seacroft lagoon eastern ridge.
Edge of west dunes
Shardeloes to Drake Road
Saltmarsh looking north from Shardeloes Road
Outer dunes Seacroft Esplanade
Dune slack, upper Seacroft lagoon looking north west