Monday, July 27, 2020


From the Friends of Betteshanger Group

Betteshanger is the former coal mining pit in East Kent that closed in the 1980s. It comprises of two areas - the former spoil heap now a Country Park and the Pit head itself . Both sites have been purchased by a property developer following the collapse of  Hadlow College. Nature has recovered at both....

Quinn Estates have submitted a new Ecological Appraisal of the Betteshanger site to Dover District Council as part of their planning application to build over 200 houses there. Surveys have been done and they show that the site is full of wildlife. It also makes their intentions clear - plans will not be changed to accommodate the wildlife or its habitats, no matter how rare or protected. If they are in the way they will be removed. For example:

An area of priority woodland, where they want to build 6 housing units is in the way. They could choose not to build here but, no, the woodland will be removed.

There's a badger sett in this woodland. It's in the way so it too will be 'closed'. A metal barrier will be used to prevent access for the badgers and then the sett will be dug out. Badgers are protected by law. 

There are turtle dove territories on the site. They too are in the way and will be destroyed. Turtle doves are a Red listed species and in danger of becoming extinct.

Then there is the priority Open Mosaic habitat that is found on areas proposed for housing.

Even though it contains a suite of rare and protected plants it too will be destroyed.

There are 6 different bat species using the site. Some have made a roost in the old biomass boiler building. This is in the way so both building and bat roost will go. Bats are protected by law.

Great crested newts have been detected in one of the ponds on site. Planned works might result in their disappearance. They are protected by law.

Then there are smooth newts, slow worms, common lizards, over 180 birds using the site, over 100 flower species. Habitat for hares, hedgehogs, harvest mice and unknown numbers of insects and invertebrates. What will be their fate ?

How can this be allowed to happen ?

Developers will claim , 'Ah, yes, but its OK because we will 'mitigate'. Quinn Estates propose to change an area of Betteshanger Park, which is habitat in its own right.

But mitigation doesn't stop the destruction and it doesn't stop a green, wildlife rich space becoming a massive housing estate.

This kind of ecological vandalism must be challenged, especially at this time of unprecedented declines in biodiversity all round the planet. It can be stopped but only if enough people object to the planning application and only if the planning committee at Dover District Council reject the application.

Please help. Send in objections to Dover District Council, planning application number 20/00419. Time is short. A decision on this proposal will be made within a few weeks.

For further details email

Find them too on Facebook.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Walmer Castle Beach Clean 26th July 2020

Thank you to all our 43 volunteers on our socially distanced Walmer Castle Beach Clean who collected 40 kilos of rubbish this morning. 

Big thanks to Charles, Vicky, Sonja, John and Steve for organising.

We had effectively 7 mini cleans of 6 people each every 15min, each with a different area on 2km of beach to clean. all kit disinfected before and after use.

The new booking, check-in and pickup system worked well but would welcome feedback from any attendees

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Deal With It - July 2020 update

Our first community beach clean since feb will be on the beach in front of walmer castle on Sunday 26th July.
Please note we are restricting numbers with multiple mini-starts which must be booked in advance at:
If you have a bubble group of 6 people you want to pick with please contact us at
We will have 2m markers at the start area, all pickers will be disinfected before and after the clean and we will have hand cleanser but if you have your own gloves or hand cleaner please bring it.
Full details of clean will be sent to those registered and we ask people not just to turn up on the day.

We have also managed to keep our Gleans going with colleagues from Hythe Environmental Community Group and the Kent Gleaning Network – in fact we have nearly bought 1.5 tons of food back into the district and collectively over 15 tons going to east kent and regional food charities.
We have had to restrict numbers at these but think we can safety have a few more on during the fruit season gleans from the end of this month. These are at short notice and can be hard work! If you want to be added to the Gleaning list please email us at

Our work at the community gardens at the Landmark, Deal Station Garden and Captains Garden has continued during the lockdown and new volunteers are always welcome.
The Captain’s Garden has now about 4-6 sessions each week and is looking at options for an bookable open days in August.