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CEMEX supporting rare moth monitoring scheme

Sussex Emerald month

Sussex Emerald moth being supported by five well-known organizations including CEMEX UK

THE Sussex Emerald may not be a particularly well-known moth, but a project to monitor this rare species is being supported by five well-known organizations: EDF Energy, Butterfly Conservation, Natural England, Magnox and CEMEX UK.

The moth is currently found in only one area – Dungeness in Kent, where it was discovered in 1950. The Sussex Emerald is an endangered species and lives in the vegetated shingle found around the Dungeness power stations.

The five organizations are working with others, including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), to support a monitoring programme for the moth and to expand and protect the areas of supporting habitat, in the hope of ensuring its continued survival.

The monitoring programme was introduced by the wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation (BC) in 2000 and has been carried out annually since then.

BC has found that a decline in the population of the moth is in line with a decline in the availability and quality of wild carrot, the food plant of the Sussex Emerald’s caterpillar.

Other factors such as increased rabbit grazing and prolonged cold-weather conditions have also had an impact on the survival rate of the species.

Butterfly Conservation’s head of moth conservation, Mark Parsons, said: ‘This delicate species gained a foothold in this country at Dungeness, in Kent, in the early 1950s. However, it faces challenges, as there have been subtle changes to its habitat in recent years.

‘Dungeness is an extremely important site for a wide range of very scarce species, and the Sussex Emerald is a key feature of this species assemblage.’

He added: ‘Butterfly Conservation is extremely grateful for the support of CEMEX and all the other organizations involved that are working together to try to ensure the long-term survival of this moth in this country.’

Andy Scott, CEMEX UK’s southern estates and development manager, said: ‘The Sussex Emerald moth may not be well known, but like all the thousands of other species on this planet, it enriches our environment and our world.

‘CEMEX UK have quarrying operations locally and are delighted to be instrumental in helping the moths’ survival through the monitoring programme.’

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