Sunday, January 11, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 8th January 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: It seems a very sad state of affairs when we find that one in ten of England’s wildlife havens have been damaged or lost during the last five years.

Local Wildlife Sites (LWS)are not like national reserves and sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs)which are protected by law; they only have limited protection under planning rules but provide homes for a wide selection of wildlife ranging from frog orchids and marsh gentians to grass snakes, harvest mice and water voles.

These sites are vitally important for both people and wildlife. Local communities find benefits for health, well-being and education by having access to nature in their local area and a network of corridors connects wild spaces.

Many of these sites are quiet, unnoticed wild places where nature thrives but a study of nearly 7,000 of these places found that around 700 of them had been lost between 2009 and 2013.

It is not surprising that these habitats are being threatened when local authorities are under pressure to build more and more houses. There are many brownfield sites around the country that could successfully be used to build new homes near to town and village centres but builders do not want to invest in the clean-up of once industrial sites and prefer the ease of building on ‘new’ land. There is no denying that new homes are needed but permission is being granted for building without proper consideration for all the effects that ensue and much more care is needed.

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