Wildlife Trust voices concerns of possible threat posed to wildlife by tram extension | News | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
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Wildlife Trust voices concerns of possible threat posed to wildlife by tram extension

Friday 23rd January

Wildlife Trust voices concerns of possible threat posed to wildlife by tram extension

Following the announcement that Broxtowe Borough Council is set to contribute £20,000 towards a feasibility study into an extension of the Nottingham Tram system to Kimberley, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has re-iterated its concerns over the potential impact of the proposed route on wildlife.

 

The Trust, an independent conservation charity, has concerns that the proposed route of the tram extension will have significant impacts on one of its nature reserves – Kimberly and Watnall Cuttings SSSI. The site provides a vital corridor for wildlife, the value of which has previously been recognised by Broxtowe Borough Council. The reserve also provides a valuable wildlife rich greenspace for local residents.

 

Following the line of the former Midland Railway (Bennerley and Bullwell Branch), these reserve could be directly threatened by the proposed route.

 

The Wildlife Trust has been involved in the site for over 30 years and has invested significantly in maintaining and enhancing the site through its own efforts and with partners including Broxtowe Borough Council, Kimberley Town Council, Natural England and what was Hardy’s and Hanson Brewery. As well as being of importance for wildlife, the site has significant geological interest and the charity is concerned that the development of the tram would impact on the hydrology and potentially damage the tufa forming rocks and fossilised plant remains in the cuttings. It would also threaten important limestone grassland, scrub and woodland.

 

Whilst the Wildlife Trust supports the use of low carbon, mass transport systems, it has significant concerns that the tram network may not be the most cost effective and least damaging option – particularly when routes chose directly affect designated nature reserves.

 

Speaking about the proposed extension, Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said: “All too often developers investigating routes for new transport links see old railway lines as the easy option. Whilst these might make sense from an engineering perspective, the value of these routes for both wildlife and people cannot be underestimated.”

 

The charity which cares for 67 nature reserves across Nottinghamshire also comments on around 700 planning applications and development proposals in the county each year. These cover everything from major infrastructure projects such as NET and HS2, housing and industrial developments and county wide plans for Mineral and Waste. The Wildlife Trust expects all applications to be supported by a professional appraisal of possible wildlife impacts, both of the finished infrastructures and the construction phase of any such project.

 

Mr McDaid added: “Whilst no formal application has been made in this case, any work done to assess the feasibility of routes for an extension must take the impacts on wildlife and the concerns of people who care about local green spaces into account. The proposed route for HS2 goes directly through our Bogs Farm Cutting Nature Reserve and impacts directly on large number of woodlands and other key wildlife sites along the entirety of its route. Developers have got to stop seeing wildlife areas, including protected sites as an easier and cheaper option. If they don’t, our environment and natural heritage will continue to be degraded and with it, human health.”

 

Natural England estimates that regular access to a healthy natural environment could save the NHS £2.1billion a year due to the lowered risk of disease and improvement in mental health that outdoor activity brings.

 

The Wildlife Trusts are currently calling for new legislation in the form of a Nature & Wellbeing Act to protect & develop natural spaces for communities and wildlife. Full details of which can be found at http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/NWA

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