25 Oct Green MEP warns against dystopian development in Braintree District visit
Green Party Member of the European Parliament for the East of England Catherine Rowett will call for better protection of wildlife threatened by road- and house-building projects in Silver End and Witham, as she visits the area on Saturday.
In Silver End, over 350 metres of mature native hedge, including a professionally-identified bat corridor, have been cut down to ground level and are due to be dug out for road widening. In Motts Lane in Witham, an historic old route with the features of a sunken lane and ancient hedges either side, has seen hedges and trees on one section torn down by developers.
Populations of the UK’s most important wildlife have plummeted by an average of 60% since 1970, according to the State of Nature Report 2019, published earlier this month. This report was the most comprehensive analysis of the country’s wildlife to date and said that a quarter of mammals and nearly half of birds assessed are at risk of extinction.
Given this, local Green Party councillors and campaigners have questioned why ancient hedgerows, which are a unique and valuable harbour for wildlife, have been allowed to be cut down.
Catherine Rowett MEP said, “The loss of wildlife in the East of England is a tragedy and it puts the Earth’s life support systems, on which we depend, at risk. Scientists are calling the loss of habitats for wildlife an emergency, and we urgently need politicians to heed that warning.
“Green spaces with their rich and varied wildlife have immeasurable benefits for people living in the area. Access to nature has been shown to be essential to mental health and to children’s development. Green MEPs are working across the EU to protect and promote the richness of nature, and I hope that this will be a lasting legacy of the EU’s work.”
A petition started by Catherine Rowett in May that called for the outlawing of planning applications that would remove mature trees or hedgerows has gathered over 10,000 signatures.