This is of great importance to all local people and also to those who care for our habitats and wildlife. I advise you to read carefully and do whatever you can to help.
When you read or hear the name Ark, what do you think of? Maybe a guy called Noah who helped save all living creatures of this planet.
Well there is another Ark on its way, but this time it is not coming to save and protect; instead it is coming to disturb and destroy!
If the Cinderford Northern Arc Project gets the green light its footprint will cause unimaginable, untold damage to the proposed area at Steam Mills, near Cinderford. An area that supports key habitat to many endangered species, including Red List species.
I have personally seen many of the very rare and endangered species at this site and the few, which I haven't seen have been recorded by trusted sources, like the Forest Green Team who recorded an otter as far back as 2007.
Due to (c) laws, I can not show you a photograph I obtained from the FoDDC, detailing the vast area that is to be developed. However, I can tell you that it is massive and will see a road cutting right through the forest and it will also see an area that is rich in undisturbed wildlife destroyed!
I can give you the location on Google Maps - Click Here
The main development site around Steam Mills Lake supports a varied and healthy abundance of rare wildlife and I can't think of another site throughout the Forest of Dean, which is richer in varied wildlife.
Some of the wildlife in this area is on the Red List for protection and the majority of these species "HAVE" been recorded during area surveys; authorised and carried out by professionals for the Regeneration Board.
To name just a few, this site supports....
Lesser Horseshoe Bat
Greater Horseshoe Bat
Great Crested Newt
One species named above, which was not recorded in the surveys is the Hawfinch. This bird is so rare and endangered in the UK that only 5,000 breeding pairs are present throughout the whole country. This bird is on the Red List and its conservation Status is as follows.
• Globally threatened
• Historical population decline in UK during 1800–1995
• Severe (at least 50%) decline in UK breeding population over last 25 years, or longer-term period (the entire period used for assessments since the first BoCC review, starting in 1969).
• Severe (at least 50%) contraction of UK breeding range over last 25 years, or the longer-term period
The Hawfinch has been ringed at this site for many years and the Forestry Commission are aware of this, so I can't see how this has been overlooked.
With rare bats, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects present at this site; I am stunned that they are still going ahead with their plans to bulldoze right through the middle of it!
The area is also very popular with fishermen and dog walkers; all of whom will lose the area if these plans go ahead.
To see a full list of identified wildlife species found during the surveys click below.
Click here for the results from the Field Survey
The "Spine Road" will cut through the forest leaving a part of the forest isolated between the Spine Road and Steam Mills/Hawkwell. I have asked the question "what guarantees do we have that this isolated woodland "will not" also be developed in the years to come?"
I didn't get a reply to that one!
Encroachment will see even more habitats and wildlife suffer and where will it stop?
I agree that Cinderford requires regeneration as it is staring to become a ghost town, but I can't see how developing an area so far out of the actual town will help. Maybe they should look at the "actual town" and inject some much needed revenue there before creating another "Mini-Cinderford" on the outskirts.
I sincerely hope that this isn't happening so that certain people can retire and leave their legacy behind. One legacy, which would be appreciated and which would always be recognised, is if this area along with the rest of our most valuable asset was protected and preserved.
I know which one I would want to be remembered for!
Some links below.
Cinderford Area Action Plan - Evidence Base
Take a look at the photograph on the front of THIS REPORT. It may not look like this for very much longer!
A Recent Article - HERE
(Just something personal from me)
It wasn't very long ago that the HooF campaign fought to save OUR forests and yet this seems to be the exact thing they were trying to prevent. I wonder why this seems to have been accepted? Lets face it, if other areas are encroached upon like this, throughout the Forest of Dean area, then the fight to safeguard our forest will have been for nothing!
Why not turn this area into a nature reserve as this will help bring tourists into the area. People do not visit the Forest of Dean just to stay in a hotel, they visit to walk our forest and to hopefully see the wildlife therein. The Forest is our most valuable asset.