"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 5 September 2014

RSPB Campaign to Save Important Nightingale Site in Kent

The Nightingale is one of the most treasured and iconic of British birds.

Sadly like many other species it has, according to British Trust for Ornithology data, been declining for many decades. According to Atlas data since the 1960s there has been a contraction of its breeding range and the British population of this species decreased by 57% between 1995 and 2009.

One possible reason for this decline is scarcity of suitable breeding habitat.

Lodge Hill in Kent is one of the most important sites in England for the nightingale and last year the site was given protected area status for this reason.

Sadly, Lodge Hill had already been chosen as a site for a 5000 housing development. The Government's Planning System does include important tests which if not passed should prevent this kind of development and the housing development does not in fact pass these tests.

However, yesterday Medway Council's Planning Committee approved this development regardless. If the development goes ahead it could create a dangerous precedent for the future and it will be one of the biggest destructions of a protected site in over 33 years.

The RSPB has started a campaign asking people to send an email, via their website, to Eric Pickles, who has overall responsibility for housing decisions and who can "call in" the Kent application and make the decision himself. But Eric Pickles may only take action if enough people email him and convince him that the development will have a "national impact" and is "nationally controversial" (to quote the RSPB).

I've posted a link to the RSPB campaign below if any of you feel strongly enough about this issue to send an email to Eric Pickles (apologies if the link doesn't work as I always have problems - please just cut and paste).

Thanks so much.



Toffeeapple said...

Already done. I couldn't believe what I heard on the radio today - they want to move the Nightingales to another site - I don't know how that would be achieved. How short sighted is that attitude?!

Countryside Tales said...

This is becoming an all-too familiar and depressing story isn't it? What's the point of something being protected by law if councils and governments can simply overturn it on a whim? I am fuming and will sign the petition and forward it to friends and family. Thanks for posting it.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much - so glad you had already signed it. They can hardly pick up the nightingales and forcibly make them nest elsewhere. As you say so short-sighted :( The idea of biodiversity offsetting must be one of the worst ever :(

Countryside Tales - Thanks so much for signing and forwarding it elsewhere. Yes, its becoming dreadfully all too familiar :(

Toffeeapple and CT - just having a "discussion" (argument) with someone on Twitter about it who lives locally. Frightening how people can just be totally unsympathetic towards the importance of this site for such an iconic bird :(

Toffeeapple said...

Thoughtless and selfish come to mind...

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple Agreed. So short-sighted :(

Chris Rohrer said...

Oh my gods! Again??!!! Yet another bad decision. This is so sad! What is wrong with the leadership over there??!!! If Britain as a whole keeps doing things like this, there will be tea.....and that's it. "What is" will be "what was" It's hard to read things like this. Only when humans cause their own extinction will we understand.

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer Thanks so much for your support Chris. Yes, its a dreadful decision. I just hope the campaign works and the whole thing is turned down. Have since discovered Lodge Hill is also an important site for a rare butterfly. And I so agree with your last sentence. We just cannot go on and on using this planet in such an unsustainable way.