Thursday, 31 January 2013

Northern Arc

I have neglected this blog for a long time, apologies for this!

To kick start it again for 2013 here is a post, which is controversial and is dividing opinion across the Forest of Dean.

We are talking the regeneration of Cinderford in the heart of the Forest of Dean; a project called The Northern Arc or Northern Area Action Plan.
£100,000,000 worth of investment (Government money) that will supposedly create around 1,200 jobs has supposedly been approved for the area.
This is a massive amount of money and as long as the regeneration board has got it right it will ultimately transform the area with the hope of a better future for the unemployed and youngsters growing up in the area.

Now for the controversial part...
Northern United, the site for this development holds one of the most unique and varied wildlife habitats in the Forest of Dean. I have compiled a list of some of the rare, endangered and protected wildlife species below, which are present at this site.

Great Crested Newt
Greater Horseshoe Bat
Grass Snake
Slow Worm
Rare Butterflies

All of the above will be affected if this development commences, most to the degree that we will see them disappear from this area for good.
Should we trample over this habitat for our own benefit, displacing and killing these rare creatures as we go? Or should we stop, think and protect our ever diminishing wild places and wild creatures?
More to the point, should this area have been selected in the first place, knowing that so many vulnerable wildlife species will be affected?

This area was selected as it is an old mining and opencast area. To most it looks like an eye sore and this is the reason why the wildlife flourished as it lay virtually undisturbed for decades.
The wildlife was safe and with very little human disturbance it was able to breed and thrive in the diverse habitats throughout the area.
Still, the decision makers only saw the rough ground and the ball started rolling. The ball is still rolling today but it has gained a lot of momentum.

A few photographs of the area as it is today.

Reptile and Amphibian Habitat, which also supports rich and varied insect life, including rare butterflies

An area of woodland that will be lost

Looking directly across the lake at one area earmarked for development

To many this will be a no brainer, as the many do no understand the importance of our areas of significant environmental interest.
The people, which do understand the importance of areas like Northern are now playing a dangerous game with the power people and also the people who want to see this development fulfilled, with the promise of jobs and a better future.

Over the last two years I have been fighting to protect the wildlife at this site. I have written to absolutely everyone I thought could help; from David Cameron to Prince Charles, but they all shrugged me off with excuses why they couldn't get involved.
After the latest press articles, I fear the time has now come where we can kiss this amazing, tranquil wildlife haven goodbye, as the promises made far outweigh the rare and endangered wildlife in most peoples eyes.

One thing I do know is that if this project is seen through, only time will tell if the promises of today will become a reality.

Click here for: Area Action Plan

And here for a recent press article: The Forester