The text below is from a Care2 petition to the UK Prime Minister. At the time of writing this post, the petition has been signed by 48,234 people – please add your name to the petition. Thank you.
The survival of one of Britain’s most beautiful song birds – the nightingale – is under threat from developers. The UK population of the nightingale has declined by 91 per cent since the 1960s and the entire conservation scheme to save it is at risk because of a huge development on Lodge Hill, an area intrinsic to the survival of the bird.
Land Securities, the biggest property developer in Britain, has been given permission to build 5,000 homes, three primary schools, a nursing home and hotel on Ministry of Defense land at Lodge Hill, which was recently designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England, the government’s environmental protection agency.
Medway Council granted permission for the development despite strong opposition from local residents, a planning inspector, local councilors, as well as several leading environmental groups.
Lodge Hill, once used for bomb disposal training, features ancient woodland and rare grassland alongside ruined buildings that is home to 19 bat roosts, 10 badger setts as well as 84 singing male nightingales, more than 1 per cent of the UK population. The site is also home to the scarcest butterfly in Britain, the Duke of Burgundy, which is only found in 18 small areas of the country.
As part of mitigation plans, Land Securities propose to create alternative nightingale habitat on a 304-hectare site in Essex, located 14 miles north of Lodge Hill. However, there has never before been a successful relocation of nightingales. The bird migrates from Africa to their ancestral breeding grounds in Britain each spring – and there is there no evidence the birds will find the proposed Essex location.
Environmental groups believe the nightingales’ success on Lodge Hill may also be linked to the absence of deer, which destroy the undergrowth where nightingales nest. Deer are present around the proposed Essex mitigation site.
Lodge Hill needs to be preserved as a vital green space for the future of the nightingale as well as the other species that thrive in the area. Please sign and share the petition to help save the nightingales of Britain from extinction.