Campaigners fear disaster for the endangered songbirds if a plan to build 5,000 homes on a breeding site in Kent is given green light
It is revered for the beauty of its song and is a beloved adornment to the British countryside. But the nightingale – hailed by Keats as a “light-winged Dryad of the trees” – is now in trouble, having suffered a catastrophic drop in numbers in recent years.
Even worse, say ornithologists, the best site in Britain for protecting the songbird – at Lodge Hill in Medway, Kent – is under threat of destruction. Its loss, they say, could deal an irreparable blow to the nightingale in this country. It could also open the floodgates to commercial exploitation of hundreds of other protected environmental sites across the country.
“Lodge Hill is the only Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the UK that is specifically set up to protect nightingales,” said Sarah Lee, of the RSPB. “It is the most important site for the birds in the UK. Yet the local council want to build 5,000 homes there. It would absolutely destroy the site and the birds’ homes – and send a very worrying signal about the prospects of protecting other critically important sites in the UK.”
According to ornithologists, the nightingale has suffered a 90% reduction in numbers over the past 40 years. Factors involved in this population crash include the intensification of UK farming that has destroyed swaths of sandy scrubland on which nightingales like to breed, while the spread of human populations in West Africa, where the nightingale spends the winter, has also affected numbers. In 2012, a survey revealed there were only 3,300 breeding pairs left in the UK. The bird is now on the amber list of species of “conservation concern”.
In an attempt to protect the nightingale, the Lodge Hill site – a piece of land once owned by the Ministry of Defence – was named as an SSSI, a place where local species are given special protection against human interference.
However, three years ago, Medway council prepared plans to build 5,000 homes at Lodge Hill, a proposal that was approved by its planning committee in September.
Source: TheGuardian Read more
We are at fault; yes, you and me because we vote for these stupid people. We often vote without thinking, we don’t know enough about the candidates, we believe all the pre-election bullshit that pours from their filthy mouths.
Voting should be taken more seriously. We should investigate the candidates thoroughly.
Councils and other governemtn bodies are too keen to rubber stamp projects without considering the ramifications.