Kent’s Nightingales threatened by greedy developers once again.



As nightingales and turtle doves prepare to begin their epic migrations from Africa there are fears that they will have no where to return to. Every day more of their habitat is destroyed for unnecessary development.

Now, Conyer Brickworks, one of Kent’s top nightingale sites, is under threat as greedy developers try to persuade the planning authority they need 3 hectares of a top wildlife habitat to build just 24 luxury homes.

Three hectares is the equivalent of 3 Twickenham Rugby stadiums. This space can hold 240,000 people but presumably 24 rich people need the space to house oversized cars in double garages and driveways.

It is an obscene waste of a precious habitat which is one of the best places in the country to hear beleaguered nightingale and turtle doves whose numbers have fallen by over 90% in recent years, partly through habitat loss.

This proposal signifies all that is bad about our current planning system as luxury homes for the few are built at low densities on habitat necessary for the survival of our rarest species.

Of course Palm Developers have teemed up with the usual suspects Bioscan to greenwash their plans. I personally cannot think of a fate bad enough for ecologists who look at a wildlife rich site, know it’s importance, but still are prepared to find a way for the developers to destroy it.

I have no idea how these people sleep at night.

In this instance they wish to persuade the planning authority that destroying nightingale habitat is acceptable if they manage the remainder. The management plan that they propose amounts to little more than a bit of annual scrub cutting and reed pulling, something which could easily be achieved by volunteers. It in no way compensates for the loss of important habitat and protected species.

In this case the developers are adding insult to injury by proposing to build a giant viewing tower in the centre of the site, no doubt so we can all see how much space the 24 homes are taking up. This is a ludicrous idea and will no doubt become an excellent vantage point for crows and magpies to spy out the nests of the remaining turtle doves or swoop down on lapwing chicks on the adjacent marshes.

Do not let the developers and their entourage have their way. Do not allow them to greenwash greed. Do not allow our nightingales and turtle doves to fly all this way and face so many dangers on route only to find their home has been destroyed to make way for the privileged few.

The planning reference for this development is 18/506460/FULL

Please take the time today to comment on the plans. The closing date is the 24th February

This Land is Our Land


Bakersfield August 2016

I learnt to love nature in a place like this. How about you? 

In this month’s edition of The Land magazine, George Monbiot draws parallels between the struggles of indigenous people stripped of their tribal land by unscrupulous corporations and the road protesters at Twyford Down in the nineties who fought to protect chalk downland and Iron Age remains against an unscrupulous government intent on handing out road building contracts to their development buddies.

As Berengrave Nursery, an area of scrubland on the edge of my town, home to some of our rarest and most endangered wildlife, is granted planning permission for 120 houses. It strikes me that we are in a new era of land grabbing.

As a child growing up in an East London suburb my love of nature was created by exploring the former airfield and quarry at the end of my road. A world of wetland, scrubland and hedgerow now designated a SSSI. Yet everywhere I look these urban nature reserves are being cut down and concreted over to make way for completely unaffordable housing which no one trying to get on the housing ladder can buy.

These housing developments are doing nothing to solve our countries supposed problems which rest in inflated housing prices, lack of affordable rent in London and the 90,000 houses which are owned by foreign investors and sit empty for most of the year.

They provide nothing for local communities other than tailbacks caused by temporary traffic lights and more cars on unsuitable roads yet they take away our precious edgelands full of hedgehogs, badgers, nightingales and turtle doves. They take away the countryside on our doorstep and move it to somewhere else. They take away spaces which generations have used to walk their dogs, let the kids run wild, pick blackberries for jam.

It strikes me that our edgelands are the new commons, places which exist in our shared culture which are being surrounded by steel fences and destroyed for massive financial gain by wealthy land speculators.

Berengrave will be destroyed as every other scrubland in my area has been destroyed. Rich men will get richer and some environmental consultancy firm will get fat off of helping the developers to remove the wildlife and dump it elsewhere.

I’m pretty sure this is happening in your area as well as mine and with each piece of scrubland that vanishes we becoming more divorced from our countryside, more urban, more cut off from wildlife.

This land is our land and we are loosing it faster than every before.


Development Company threaten endangered species.


turtle dove

Here we go again. Back on the merry-go-round that is the current planning system as another development company propose to destroy a wildlife rich site home to endangered species.

Gleeson Strategic Land are proposing to build 121 houses and the normal associated roads and car parks over a site which is currently home to the UK’s fastest declining bird, the turtle dove. This bird, already threatened with global extinction, will come one step closer to it once the site in Berengrave Road in Rainham, Kent is stripped of the scrubland the birds need to breed.

The site is currently a tapestry of native woodland, grassland and scrub and home to slow worms, common lizards, bats and badgers but, as always, this means nothing to the men who wish to tear it up for a quick profit.

The site is in the perfect location to provide a natural corridor for our native wildlife, adjacent to a community woodland and close to SSSI’s. It could provide a much needed green lung for our every expanding towns. It could be managed as part of the community woodland and provide a resource for local schools. Or it could, as is happening at a every increasing rate, be ripped apart to create yet another ugly housing estate with a minimum of affordable houses for local people.

Medway Council must take a tougher stance and say no to these developments if we are to have any green space left. It must put housing in town centres. It must make development 100% affordable for local people. It must make developers pay long term for local amenity and countryside management instead of being allowed to throw up badly designed houses, inconvenience everyone with roadworks and clog up roads with traffic.

It must give more protection to our fast declining wildlife not just turtle doves but sparrows, hedgehogs, bullfinches and bumblebees, all of which will suffer from this development. If the council does not begin to reject these developments and all the subsequent appeals then more of our wildlife will slip off the face of the local map.