Guest Blog – The Sanctuary LNR, Derby by Richard Winspear on behalf of Derbyshire Ornithological Society
SAVE LOCAL NATURE RESERVE FROM A CASE THAT SETS AN IMPORTANT PRECEDENT – We Need You To ACT NOW!
You have until January 12th to help us save The Sanctuary Local Nature Reserve (LNR) – which is also the first and only bird reserve in Derby.
A Planning Application went live over the Christmas period which will destroy and disturb a massive part of The Sanctuary Local Nature Reserve (LNR) at Pride Park in Derby.
We think THIS ISSUE CONCERNS ALL ENVIRONMENTALISTS, not just the people of Derby. So please support this cause. Its City Council could soon become the first Local Authority ever to choose to build on a significant part of its own Local Nature Reserve – against all its own policies and national planning policy guidance, too.
The planning application shows a mile-long Outdoor Cycle Race Circuit and Mountain Bike Skills area built on top of an open mosaic grassland habitat used by skylark, snipe, stonechat, meadow pipit, ring ouzel, and numerous other key bird species. It should have remained specially protected within this Bird Reserve, opened to great acclaim by the Secretary of State for the Environment in 2004, and was even home to a Dartford warbler for six weeks in 2005! It then won two environmental awards and was formally declared a LNR in 2006. But now British Cycling want to fund Derby Council to build a pay-to-race bike track, presumably with National Lottery cash, which is appalling. A nice idea perhaps, but in the wrong place.
Approval for this non-essential development could undermine the whole LNR network if other English council’s see this as an acceptable course of action. A line has to be drawn; and it’s here!
So, a coalition of 15 environmental organisations has come together to oppose these plans. And we urge everyone concerned about losses to brownfield sites and the protection of the countrywide LNR network to lodge an objection.
Just visit: www.bit.ly/derbytrackplans where all the documents are stored, and you can object online there, too.
Simply click ‘Consultation’ then find ‘Neighbour/Member of Public Comment Form’ and enter your details. It’s always best to object using your own form of words. But the key issues we are likely to use in our own objections include:
1) Development on a declared LNR goes against the principles and purpose of Local Nature Reserves, as defined by Natural England.
2) Optional development on a Local Nature Reserve sets a national precedent, and threatens to undermine the entire LNR Network in England.
3) Development on a statutory Local Nature Reserve and Local Wildlife Site is contrary to policies in Derby Council’s Local Plan, its own Nature Conservation Strategy, and in its recently published ‘draft Core Strategy’.
4) Development goes against The Sanctuary ten year Management Plan, published by Derby Council in 2012.
5) The presence of an Outdoor Cycling Circuit is not critical to the success of the £27m velodrome, now under construction just outside the Bird Reserve and LNR.
6) The Planning Application shows prejudice by clear statements from British Cycling demonstrating it is only willing to fund the Outdoor Cycle Circuit if adjacent to the Pride Park Velodrome. Consideration of other all sites has been dismissed on these grounds.
7) Derby Council’s own Environmental Impact Assessment (part 1) concludes the LNR IS OF “COUNTY-LEVEL IMPORTANCE”, and that development will have an adverse ecological effect on the LNR (para 5.4). No over-overriding need has been demonstrated which would make acceptable the destruction of a very significant portion of an LNR whose bird species are listed in Tables 3.1 to 3.6.
8) Whilst the Planning Application states an 18% loss of LNR area, the loss of key biodiversity habitat for ground-nesting and passage birds through damage and disturbance is around 40 to 50%. (Bear in mind one third of the site is already occupied by the raised grassy mound of a huge toxic waste repository, built before the LNR was declared.)
Even after the online consultation has closed, you can still send in objections by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org , giving the planning application reference: 12/13/01465
If you have objected, or want more information, please let us know by contacting the coalition opposed to this proposal at TheSanctuaryLNR@gmail.com. Please share this as widely as you can amongst fellow environmentalists.
Conservation Officer of Derbyshire Ornithological Society
On behalf of:
Carsington Bird Club; Darley & Nutwood LNR Management Group; Derby Natural History Society; Derby RSPB Local Group Members; Derby Tree Warden Network; Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group; Derbyshire Bat Group; Derbyshire Mammal Group; Derbyshire Ornithological Society; Derbyshire Wildlife Trust; Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Entomological Society; East Midlands Region RSPB; Friends of Sinfin Moor Park LNR; Pleasley Pit Nature Study Group; Wessington Green LNR Management Group. www.facebook.com/TheSanctuaryDerby https://twitter.com/SanctuaryLNR
Note: We can supply a Natural England EIR response to back up our claim of a national precedent being set by LNR development.