SLIMBRIDGE Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust welcomed Stroud MP Neil Carmichael for a conservation-focused visit.

The Tory MP visited the birdwatching haven on Monday (February, 17) afternoon to speak with staff about the conservation projects taking place on site.

“We first had a look around some of the area, including flood plains that are storing a huge amount of water that would otherwise be flooding,” said Mr Carmichael. “I then saw a range of birds and learnt how their flight patterns have changed with the warmer and wetter winter.”

The Slimbridge site is popular with visitors thanks to its impressive away of wildlife, but the wetlands also serve important environmental purposes.

As well as storing water and irrigating land, wetlands act as an important buffer against extreme conditions like floods, high tides and waves.

Mr Carmichael also spoke to staff about projects in line with his work as a member of the Environmental Audit Committee, discussing conservation issues from the Water Bill through to how the Severn Estuary may be managed in the future.

He told the Gazette he also saw some of the site’s famed Bewick’s swans.

“They were absolutely beautiful,” he said. “I can see why bird watching is so popular.”

Veronica Chrisp, general manager, at WWT Slimbridge, said: “It was a great opportunity to show Neil the work we do to create wetlands that work for wildlife and people.

"He was very keen to get his wellies on and get a good view of the thousands of winter waders for whom the Severn Vale is so important.

"Visits like this are important for us, both as a local visitor attraction in Neil’s constituency, and also as a national environmental organisation.”