UK authorities greenlight yet another project that will raze homes for wildlife
Another day in the UK, another home for wildlife is greenlit for so-called development. Much to the horror of those demanding that Brislington Meadows in Bristol be left well alone, the Planning Inspectorate has approved housebuilding on the wildlife haven:
Unfortunately the planning inspector decided to be on the wrong side of history and allow Homes England to destroy our beloved meadow. We are beyond disappointed that democracy was ignored and we are looking at our options moving forward. Thanks for your support. ❤️🌳 pic.twitter.com/esqdqS1zpm
— Brislington Meadows (@BrisMeadows) April 17, 2023
News about UK authorities charging forward with activities that disturb, damage or destroy wild spaces and beings is a common occurrence. This is despite the fact that the world is in the grip of an extinction crisis.
Government approves its own Nature-damaging plan
As Bristol24/7 reported, the Planning Inspectorate has approved housebuilding on Brislington Meadows, which is:
a site much-loved by locals and rich in natural habitats and mature trees
The Planning Inspectorate is an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). It made the decision in an appeal brought by Homes England, which is behind the housebuilding project. Homes England appealed Bristol City Council’s failure to issue its own decision on the proposal by a set deadline.
Funnily enough, Homes England is also sponsored by DLUHC. In other words, one arm of the government has ruled that another arm of the same department can move forward with building on the wildlife haven.
Benefits and harms of Brislington Meadows’ development?
The BBC highlighted that the Planning Inspectorate acknowledged that the project will raze around a quarter of Brislington Meadows’ trees and three-quarters of its hedgerows. But it concluded – during an extinction crisis – that the “benefits of the proposal significantly outweigh the harms”.
The nearly 600 objections to the proposal from residents suggest many disagree with this conclusion.
Katja Hornchen and Tim Rippington, two local councillors, commented:
We, alongside residents, believe that Brislington Meadows’s ecological values far outweighs the benefits of building houses there and we made this view clear to the Planning Inspectorate
The campaign group Save Brislington Meadows is considering exploring other options, such as a judicial review, to safeguard the wildlife haven. Others have also called on the council to take swift measures to protect other areas at risk:
We must fight to try to save the SNCIs that are still threatened with development.
The council has the power to reverse this both by passing a resolution now to correct the SNCI maps on the LP Policies Map and, with the LP review, by removing them altogether as Site Allocations.
— Bristol Tree Forum 🍃💚🍃 (@BristolTreeFora) April 17, 2023
Nature under threat
Elsewhere in the UK, councils have also been busy wiping green spaces and wildlife habitats off the map:
All the birds in one of the few trees that are left ….😔….wondering like us what the hell just happened.#plymouthcitycounciltreemassacre #plymouth @iancollinsuk @BettyBunny23 @wolsned @MaizyDaizyZzzz @plymouthcc pic.twitter.com/BRmG8DWoRH
— hpc0409 (@hpc0409) March 26, 2023
Until Wednesday, this was a huge hedge in Sawston, South Cambridge, that was a haven for sparrows and other birds and wildlife. Why did you chop it down, @Redrow? Why in the middle of the nesting season? @ChrisGPackham, @RSPBEngland, @SouthCambs, @RobGMacfarlane pic.twitter.com/G3mt8cdirY
— Esther M-Brown (@esthermusbrown) April 14, 2023
LTW is sad to report trees are now being felled in Morten Close, Clapham Park.
359 are going to be deleted this way, along with acres of green space.
— Lambeth Tree Watch (@lambeth_tree) April 4, 2023
There are plans in the pipeline that threaten further destruction too:
Cambridgeshire County Council has approved plans for a busway through 100yo Coton Orchard, the 8th largest traditional orchard in the UK. The damage to biodiversity will be devastating. 🍎
Please help save the green corridor by signing the petition 👉 https://t.co/0jUHYXD7Iu pic.twitter.com/P31PzGNTAA
— People's Trust for Endangered Species (@PTES) April 12, 2023
Thanks to @yorkshirelive for highlighting our fundraiser for a legal challenge against @KirkleesCouncil's decision to approve development which goes against their own planning policies!
Can you help by donating to our fundraiser? https://t.co/GQSInYubpOhttps://t.co/vwYxccuCMF
— Chidswell Action Group 🍃💚🍃 (@ChidswellGroup) January 27, 2023
This #AttackOnNature Govt can't be trusted when it signs off large dual carriageway in core sustenance zone of rare #Barbastelle #bats WITHOUT proper licence as happened A47 in #Norfolk👉https://t.co/tF3f4D0gbE
🦇⚖️Help give the bats a day in Court here👉https://t.co/oowcR21lvy https://t.co/fXipTaRKtI pic.twitter.com/71nznvhqHW
— Andrew Boswell (@Andrew9Boswell) April 18, 2023
The UK is already one of the most Nature-depleted countries on Earth. It also sits at the bottom of a European list for Nature connectedness. Its ceaseless approval of developments like Brislington Meadows, which mainly serve the capitalist system’s pursuit of never-ending growth, is worsening an already dire situation.
Featured image via Norman Caesar / Geograph, cropped to 770×403, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
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