BNEF viewpoints on budget and bridges

Bexley Natural Environment Forum has the following concerns and views on these matters. Chair Ray Gray said ‘We would urge other groups and individuals to make submissions on these issues, as they have major implications for the long-term quality of our local environment.’

Bexley Council budget consultation. Deadline 14/9/2014. 

http://www.bexley.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=17905

TfL east London river crossings consultation. Deadline 18/9/2014

https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/roads/river-crossings

 

BUDGET

1)  The large cuts proposed for parks and open spaces threaten to reduce the value of precisely those features of the Borough that many people treasure. They are great resources, free at the point of use for everyone, which support the health and well-being of residents, as well as providing homes for wildlife and other ‘ecosystem services’ that money cannot replace.

2)  Cuts to litter removal may lead to a spiral of decline, leading to anti social behaviour

3)  The effects of point 2 would discourage people from visiting the sites

4)  Overall impact of 2 & 3 – would this make sites appear  redundant and increase the risk of sell-off/’development’?

5)  Cuts to open space management – we already receive a bad service in terms of ability to apply the kind of flexible and nuanced vegetation cutting required to protect and enhance wildlife – and even spring flowering shrubs in parks get hacked to the ground at the wrong times so there are no blooms for the public to enjoy; what will lowering the budget further lead to?

6)  Can volunteers be expected to wholly pick up any slack?

7)  What happens to sites where there is no voluntary input?

8)  The Council has in any case reduced the opportunities for  Council officers to interface with volunteer groups by stopping  out of hours meetings.

9)  A lack of direction/co-ordination  from the Council could lead to a reduction in volunteer effectiveness. Many of the relevant sites are Council-owned and volunteers need permissions to do much of their work.

10) What is the future of the remaining rangers?

11) We see following the lead of other Councils in the UK in dimming or cutting street lighting in the middle of the night in low traffic/non-safety critical areas as a way of saving significant amounts of money as well as benefitting the environment.

12) Money can also be saved in leaving more areas of grass etc. uncut, which would benefit wildlife if done in a strategic way, through boosting the supply of seeds and insects for species higher up the food chain like Bats and Sparrows, which are in decline.

BRIDGES

BNEF is opposed to both of the proposed road bridges into Bexley as these would inevitably increase traffic and pollution and reduce air quality, which are steps in wholly the wrong direction. They would increase the pressure for road-widening through Lesnes Abbey woods – a Metropolitan Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – whatever promises were made at the outset that this would not happen, and lead to congestion problems elsewhere in the Borough as vehicles headed south towards the A2.  We would not support the idea of a public-transport-only bridge as we believe that once built all kinds of traffic would eventually be allowed.

We support the renewal of the Woolwich ferry, but reserve our position on a Beckton – Gallions reach ferry until later stages of the debate because this also has new traffic implications, and would require road infrastructure across open land that again is part of what should be a restored Thames-side marshes area.

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