PEOPLE in Hartlepool are being urged to demonstrate their commitment to the environment by supporting efforts to promote and protect a local wildlife haven.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, and it is hoped there will be enough interest shown to form a friends' group to champion the cause of the Spion Kop Cemetery, on the Headland.

The cemetery dates back to the 1800s and burials now occur there only rarely, but it has become home to a diverse range of wildlife, flowers and plants.

Recent changes to the way the grass is cut are also helping to create an environment in which the various species can continue to thrive.

Helen Beaman, Hartlepool Borough Council's environment co-ordinator, said: "When the grass was closely mown, we did not get the natural diversity that is now occurring since we decided to let the grass grow a little in places."

Wildlife spotted on the site includes skylarks and partridges, both of which are under increasing threat, while it has also been colonised by coastal grassland flowers and orchids.

The meeting on Wednesday will be held at the Heronspool Community Centre, on Central Estate, at 5pm.