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RSPB delight that Government listens to public concerns over threat to Lodge Hill wildlife site

Last modified: 13 February 2015

Aerial view of Lodge Hill, Kent

Aerial view of Lodge Hill

Image: Rolf Williams

The RSPB is delighted that the Government has listened to the pleas of over 12,400 people concerned about the future of England's finest nightingale site. 

It has called in for public inquiry an application to build 5,000 homes on Lodge Hill, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, in Kent.

Martin Harper is the RSPB's Conservation Director. Commenting on the news, broken in a press release from the Department for Communities and Local Government, he said: 'There has been public outrage and condemnation that a site of national importance for wildlife has been considered for development without public scrutiny. 

'We are delighted that the Government has listened to these concerns, and has reached the only logical conclusion.'

'Call-in' means that this case will be examined at the highest level where the full merits and values of the site and associated issues can be aired.

Martin added: 'Through an inquiry we hope and expect that this development will be rejected and the future of this Site of Special Scientific Interest will be secured. The important issue of housing allocation in north Kent should proceed without impacting on nationally-important wildlife sites.'

Lodge Hill is perhaps the most important site for nightingale in England. It also has other nationally-important features, such as rare types of grassland and ancient woodland.

The RSPB's campaign was supported by the Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and the Woodland Trust. The campaign attracted over 12,400 signatures, and the Government has recognised that public support for the protection of the site was influential in encouraging ministers to decide to call in the decision for public inquiry.

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