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D-Day for Beddington

Last modified: 11 September 2014

Tree sparrow juvenile

Beddington's closely monitored tree sparrow colony is vanishing.

Image: RSPB - Tim Webb

UPDATE, Nov 2014: The High Court ruled in favour of the incinerator going ahead. The judge subsequently turned down any right to appeal her decision. Campaigners have until 9 December to file a legal request to for permission to appeal that High Court ruling.

This was first posted in September 2014:

A campaign aiming to stop an incinerator from being built on land forming part of a wildlife hotspot in south London continues. Here, campaigner and local resident Peter Alfrey explains why he feels so passionate about the site:

Beddington Farmlands is a 161 hectare (400 acre) site in the heart of the Wandle Valley Regional Park. Together with the adjacent green spaces of Beddington Park and Mitcham Common, Beddington Farmlands forms one of the largest green spaces in south London.

The site is an important area for wildlife and is classified a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation [SINC] and Metropolitan Open Land (equivalent of Green Belt within an urban area). The site is being restored into a mosaic of important habitats for wildlife ahead of the development of a flagship nature reserve for people and nature.

The wildlife communities present at Beddington Farmlands are some of the most important in the London area and naturalists and birders have been visiting Beddington Farmlands for around 80 years.

257 species of bird have been being recorded, over 500 species of moth, 9 species of bat, over 300 species of plants and hundreds of invertebrates; including more than 350 species of fly. Experts also discovered a species that was considered extinct.

The site housed one of Britain’s largest Tree Sparrow populations, but over the past couple of years their numbers have slumped. The Beddington tree sparrows are perilously close to vanishing.  In 2007, there were nearly 1,000 present; alarmingly, that has reduced to only a handful.

The site has featured regularly in recent regional news over plans to build an incinerator on the site. Environmental groups, including the local naturalist group have opposed the application, especially as Beddington Farmlands is Metropolitan Open Land and a designated SINC.

Our challenge is also on the grounds that the site forms part of the coreland of the Wandle Valley Regional Park. So, to get technical, the building of an incinerator on the site will be in conflict with London Plan Policy 7.17, the Core Planning Strategy Policy PMP9 and the current Conservation Management Plan and conditions set out in the 1995 (amended 2005) planning applications.

The permitted planning application contains minimal mitigation and negative “effect neutralising” measures and little tangible in the way of “enabling” measures. In summary, it appears to be largely unmitigated destruction of habitat and erosion of environmental and social policy and law.

Updates on the campaign, bird and wildlife news and other information can be found on our website.


How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.

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