Cory/Borax fields, Crossness. Planning application 15/02926/OUTM.

ALERT: Planning meeting which will decide whether the application to build on the fields should be approved or not will take place Thursday, 7th July 2016. Starts 7p.m.,Council House, junction of Erith Road and Watling St. Reception desk will provide directions to the relevant room. Open to the public. Support welcome! 

Crossness (Erith Marshes), widely recognised as the premier wildlife site, and environmental education resource for children and adults in the Borough of Bexley (see the additional information provided), is under threat from planning application 15/02926/OUTM, a proposal from Riverside Resource Recovery Limited (Cory Environmental’s incinerator arm) to build two four storey data storage facilities on the area known as the Borax fields. As far as the wildlife is concerned, it’s all part of their living space, irrespective of where the fences are.

Over 230 people had signed individual letters of objection, and an online petition has now been launched at

http://tinyurl.com/hrntesp

which in late June was on course for 1,000 signatures.

There is still time to object as the issue has yet to be scheduled to go to a planning committee meeting.

Personalised objections carry more weight. For ideas on points to include see towards the foot of this page:

http://www.bexleywildlife.org/online-borax-fields-petition-launched-as-friends-of-crossness-nr-and-bnef-slam-cory-claim-that-the-rarer-something-is-in-bexley-the-less-important-it-is-to-protect-it/

 

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In a nutshell Bexley Natural Environment Forum, Friends of Crossness Nature Reserve (their official submissions to the Council can be read/downloaded at the foot of this page) and others are opposing this ‘development’  for the following reasons ….

The fields support breeding Skylark (a red-listed, section 41 and UK Biodiversity Action Plan species), Ringed Plover (red-listed) and very probably Little-ringed Plover (Schedule 1) which latter has been seen with chicks in this area, and are used for foraging by Linnet (red-listed, section 41, UK BAP), Barn Owl (Schedule 1) and Kestrel and Snipe (both amber-listed due to significant declines in numbers). Section 41 of the NERC Act (2006) is the ‘official’ list of many of England’s rarest and most threatened species, and those for which specific conservation actions are proposed.

The applicant’s ecological survey, which is required as part of the planning process, was done on only two days in the autumn of 2015, and failed to record these important facts. The application then falsely claimed that there would be no adverse effect on a protected species. It was also inadequate to rule out presence of the extremely rare Shrill Carder Bee which is known to occur on the adjoining Nature Reserve, and made no attempt to properly monitor for the presence of protected reptiles, Great Crested Newts or London rarity the Water Shrew, despite the Cory’s incinerator’s nearby public information boards proclaiming that there is potential for these species to colonise the surrounding area. Bexley Council asked them to do a better job on this and a second report was produced, but this is still badly flawed in the much the same ways.

The whole of the area of open mosaic area, a national BAP priority habitat, will be destroyed.

Nothing approaching adequate ‘mitigation’ – nor off-site ‘compensation’ – is proposed to ‘offset’ these negative outcomes for wildlife and habitat of national conservation concern.

The result of this will almost certainly be the permanent loss of Skylark, Ringed and Little-ringed Plover as breeding species at Erith Marshes/Crossness, and of the latter two as breeding species from Bexley. Because the only other fairly secure and undisturbed nesting site for Skylarks, at Crayford Marshes, also has a major planning application hanging over it, we could well be on the way to losing this iconic species from Bexley as well.

In addition, the four storey buildings will exceed the height of nearby warehousing and further erode the big open skies feel of the marshes.

Aerial image showing the huge cumulative impact of recent and projected 'development' on Erith Marshes. The two buildings proposed by Cory will take up most of both fields and will be four storeys high, much taller than nearby warehousing.

Aerial image showing the huge cumulative impact of recent and projected ‘development’ on Erith Marshes. The two buildings proposed by Cory will take up most of both fields and will be four storeys high, much taller than nearby warehousing.

 

Bexley Natural Environment Forum submission:

Download the PDF file .

 

Friends of Crossness Nature Reserve submission: 

Download the PDF file .