Land for natural open spaces should be part of planning conditions says March conservationist and Green councillor Robert White
Conservation groups in Fenland are calling for ‘wild’ open spaces to be more widely included in conditions imposed on developers wanting to build houses.
March and District Woodland Group and Friends of Ring’s End Nature Reserve are working together to improve and increase the number of green ‘natural’ spaces and Robert White, a member of both has outlined the hopes for the future.
Robert, who is a Green councillor on March Town Council, said making ‘wild’ green spaces part of Section 106 agreements when new housing developments are approved would not only improve the environment for the local population, but would also contribute towards the global situation too.
He said: “I know it sounds idealistic, but local projects are the way forward.”
Robert was speaking just days after vandals attacked a tree at the Ring’s End Nature Reserve, killing it after smashing it with a hammer.
He said: “I don’t want to focus on the negativity of their actions, but rather I would like to harness their energy. If they are prepared to go there equipped to cause damage then maybe we can persuade them to join us and help plant trees and maintain the reserve.
“I like to think that they were being silly, and not realising the consequences of their actions, rather than being malicious.
“We have had quite a bit of vandalism, bird and bat boxes that have been built and paid for by members have been destroyed, and I know some people are feeling angry and upset, and questioning going on, but our work is vital and we should not be put off by what’s been happening.
“We have just secured funding for 450 trees to be planted at three sites - which is the first phase of our tree planting plans.
“The money has come from Groundwork a body of charities that work with the community to help people with mental health focussing on the environment and promoting biodiversity. There will be two phases: one to three years and then three to seven years.
“We are delighted with the cash which will enable us to plant 200indeginous trees including hazel and hawthorn at Ring’s End, another 200 at Graysmoor Drove Reserve and a further 50 will be planted at All Saints Academy in March.”
Robert explained a new committee joining March and District Woodland Group and the Friends of Ring’s End Nature Reserve has been set up to oversee the planting of the trees and the maintenance of the reserves.
They are also looking for volunteers to help with conservation projects including with plant propagation, tree planting, hedgerow and reed bed management as well as litter picking and even some carpentry.
“Reed beds are massively important to the environment, they are as good at getting rid of carbon dioxide as trees, and they are part of the natural Fenland landscape,” said Robert, who has also been working on a major allotment project in March.
He would like to see developers forced to provide land where more reed beds can be planted adding to biodiversity and helping promote wildlife including insects.
Another big issue for the groups is fly-tipping and Graysmoor Drove was hit with a load of rubbish including a dismantled shed only last week.
“It was dumped in the gateway, so we were forced to move it onto the reserve after contacting the council to remove it. If we had left it there until it was cleared properly, there would have been more added to it. People tend to fly-tip where they see it has already happened.
“So we moved out of the gateway, and then had to move it back when it was being collected. It is very frustrating and takes up our time when we could be doing more positive work such as planting,” said Robert.
The reserves are open to anyone to visit, but you must book Graysmoor Drove as there is limited access, and Robert said they are the perfect remedy for the current pandemic offering a green space with fresh air for people to walk and enjoy away from others.
To volunteer contact 07857 683563.