The campaigns in favour of protecting vital breeding habitat for Skylarks and Ringed Plovers in Bexley, red-listed birds in serious decline nationally, and the only breeding site for Little-ringed Plover in the Borough continued today (29th April). Campaigners from Friends of Crossness Nature Reserve and Bexley Natural Environment Forum handed in 192 letters of objection to Cory ‘Environmental’s’ plan to build on the Borax fields next to the nature reserve, and 124 to Roxhill’s scheme to destroy a large swathe of the southern part of Crayford Marshes, which is Green Belt, with a railfreight depot. Other objections have already been sent direct to the planning department.
The Cory scheme would almost certainly see the two Plover species lost as breeding birds from Bexley, along with the loss of Skylarks from Erith Marshes. The only reasonably secure Skylark breeding site in the Borough would then be Crayford Marshes, where a significant part of their breeding area would be lost, and Corn Buntings – down to around 20 pairs in the whole of London – would also be hit, if Bexley approves Roxhill’s plans.
Chris Rose, Vice-chair of Bexley Natural Environment Forum said ‘Public money is being spent on trying to arrest and reverse the decline of Skylarks and Corn Buntings in the UK. It would be perverse and outrageous of the Council to approve these schemes which run counter to its own policy of protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the Borough. Councillors need to understand that these species have very specific habitat requirements and cannot just go somewhere else. Do they want to be part of driving that decline or do they want to ensure that their children and grandchildren, and down the generations beyond, can continue to enjoy the sight and sounds of these fantastic birds in Bexley?’