Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Threat to wildlife from carpark and sports area at UEA in Norwich

Brendan Joyce, CEO Norfolk Wildlife Trust

The article by Mark Cocker in Saturday's EDP reinforces our own strong concern regarding the proposal of the Norwich Rugby Club and the UEA Sportspark to construct pitches and car parking spaces along with a two storey function building, in the Yare Valley between UEA and Colney Lane.

Male Migrant Hawker at UEA, photo by Michael Sankey
We are concerned that the scale of this development will lead to further degradation of local wildlife habitats along the Yare Valley, whilst at the same time lessening its value as a quiet haven for local walkers. This area of the valley is already well used by local people and any further loss of semi-natural green space should be avoided, particularly as there will be even more recreational pressure once new housing is built at Cringleford.

Whilst the proposers state that it will be possible to mitigate for the majority of impacts on protected species, they downplay the impact the development will have on the broader value of the valley as a wildlife corridor. The Yare Valley in Norwich is recognised as a key green corridor in the Greater Norwich Green Infrastructure Strategy and the proposed development will further weaken the integrity of this corridor. The area on the UEA side of the river is protected by County Wildlife Site designations and managed for the benefit of wildlife whilst at the same time allowing access to the general public. However, the south side of the river has suffered from piecemeal loss over the last 20 years, as the area between the river and Colney Lane has increasingly been developed for sports facilities.

The current proposals will be a further step in destroying the naturalness of this area and should not go ahead in their present form.

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1 comment:

  1. Mr. Joyce: it was good to read your blog but will you now actively encourage your Trust members to sign the petition eg via e-newsletters, your local groups etc? This is surely what's needed. Wildlife Trusts such as yours have a huge role to play in encouraging their thousands of members to take an active part in conservation. We're familiar with the idea of 'people science' where people help with wildlife surveys etc. and with members working as volunteers on reserves etc. Now we surely need to encourage members to become politically active by signing petitions like this, writing to their MPs and even turning out at rallies like the successful Hen Harrier day events elsewhere in the country.
    Wildlife is under such pressure only by engaging with the political process do we stand any chance of getting our voices heard and our causes debated.
    It's time wildlife trusts like yours played their part.
    Best wishes,
    Nick Martin