The red-listed Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula), a species of the highest national conservation concern, is again breeding on the Borax fields next to Crossness Nature Reserve.
Skylark, also red-listed, is thought to be doing likewise, and Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) has been seen in the vicinity, having bred here last year. The fields are the only breeding site in Bexley for these Plover species.
The open mosaic habitat on the Borax fields – patches of mainly short vegetation, with bare gravelly areas in between – are essential for these birds and are not replicated elsewhere in the area. There is a London Plan target for retention and re-creation of this type of habitat, which is also important for warmth-loving insects, but Bexley Council has made no contribution to this whatsoever. Instead Cory ‘Environmental’ wants to build two 4-storey data centres on the fields and Bexley Council has said it will pay no attention to biodiversity issues or value as it draws up a register of ‘brownfield sites’ in the Borough which could contribute such habitat. Indeed when Bexley Natural Environment Forum asked for the Borax fields to be surveyed at the 2013 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation review, along with brownfield sites, it was claimed that this was not possible because there was no list of them. How convenient that the Council can find the resources to produce one now, when it has even less money – but only to further its heavily pro-concrete ‘growth’ agenda.
Cory ‘Environmental’? Pull the Plover one!