Wildlife Trust responds to proposed development near Blashford Lakes

We are very concerned by a proposed development on the doorstep of our Blashford Lakes nature reserve

We are opposed to the proposed development on land south of Snails Lane, as we believe it is in the wrong place and will irrevocably harm wildlife.

The Snails Lane site is located in the heart of the Avon Valley, an area that is internationally-protected for its importance for wildlife. It provides functional supporting habitat that has been used by breeding and feeding bird populations.

This use demonstrates that it has the potential to become a wildlife haven of its own right; if it were restored, it could help support protected and declining species, such as little ringed plover and lapwing. Should this site be built upon, that opportunity will be lost forever.

Lapwing

© Darin Smith

Unfortunately this kind of fragmentation of our ecological network has led to the decline of many of our species.

That’s why we at the Wildlife Trusts are calling for the government and councils to develop a ‘Nature Recovery Network’. This tool would help planners and developers better identify not only which wild spaces are no-go for development - but also how places such as this site at Snail’s Lane have the potential to strengthen the ecological network rather than erode it.

Nature Recovery Network illustration

Nature Recovery Network

Too often wildlife has been forced into fewer and smaller pockets of wild space, surrounded on all sides by urban development or intensive agriculture.

We instead need to create connected spaces across our landscape - in our towns and cities, on farmland, and in natural places - to give wildlife a chance to recover and adapt to pressures like climate change.

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Impacts of development

Our nearby Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve is a popular destination for bird-watchers, naturalists and general visitors. Despite its popularity, the site does not suffer significantly from impacts associated with recreational disturbance and wildlife remains largely undisturbed, as there is little urban development in the area.

As the organisation that manages Blashford Lakes and other nature reserves like it, we are very familiar with the negative impact that adjacent developments have on wildlife havens.

Therefore we are concerned that a development of the size of the one proposed at Snails Lane, so close to Blashford Lakes and other protected areas, will likely result in greater disturbance and harm to wildlife.

We have objected to the proposed development and urge councillors to reject it.

Should it be granted approval, we will be urging the developer and local planners to provide robust measures to help manage the damage this new development will likely cause to wildlife in the area.