|Protected and Priority Species Status|
Suddenly realising that their plans for thousands of new houses on green fields in Hedge End and Botley are not sustainable, the controlling Lib Dems have been scrambling at the last minute to find new sites for "local employment" in the area - and most of these are green, not brown, field locations. One of their preferred sites is in Woodhouse Lane, currently consisting of fields and rural style housing with large gardens (see pages 20- 21 of the new consultation document). The Lib Dems would tarmac this over for a business or industrial park.
Yet an ecological assessment of part of the threatened area undertaken in 2010 found grass snakes to be present and possibly breeding there, as well as large numbers of foraging bats. Grass snakes are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and since 2007 have been a priority species in the national Biodiversity Action Plan.
This habitat destruction would take place despite the Council's Biodiversity Action Plan's statement that the three biggest threats to Eastleigh's biodiversity are "Habitat loss or damage as a result of land-use change", "Habitat degradation through lack of management or unsympathetic management" and "Habitat Fragmentation".
It's not exactly joined up politics when one part of the council ignores what another part of the council is saying.
Consultations on the proposed "employment" sites and the revised Biodiversity Action Plan run until 13th July:
Link to Draft Local Plan amendments consultation
Link to Revised BAP consultation
See also - Green Fields: Further Lib Dem Raids
Grass Snake Picture Credit: Lukas Jonaitis