Country Life Today: Victory for dolphins and whales in battle against underwater noise

How reducing the noise in Britain's seas will help dolphins and whales, the fight to save Winston Churchill's local pub, wildcats returning to England and the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh.

A noisy noise annoys, even if you’re a porpoise

Humans may only notice the cacophony of underwater noise when diving beneath the waves while on holiday, but the racket caused by engines, wind farms, factories and other sources in the waters around Britain is a serious issue for whales and porpoises.

These beautiful animals use sound to communicate in a manner that is incredibly nuanced and in some senses comparable to human speech. With that in mind, the WWF has long been campaigning for something to be done, and they have claimed victory after the government promised action to make some changes.

Considering the number of whales who have foundered around Britain and Ireland recently, this is great news. There is one small matter, of course: a government promise currently holds about as much water as a rusty colander, so let’s hope that whoever ends up running the country in the next few months sticks to this plan.

Original research explaining the problem (WWF)

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On this day

On October 29, 1618, Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded at the Palace of Westminster after having been found guilty of conspiring against James I. It was an inglorious end to an extraordinary life, which had seen Devon-born Raleigh found the colony of Virginia, repeatedly travel to South America in search of El Dorado, help defend England against the Spanish Armada, become one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite, lose and regain her favour and become a member of Parliament.

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