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How can I help protect biodiversity species in my area?

One of the most common arguments surrounding development is the loss of biodiversity. But because most developers carry out only one or two surveys per year they fail to identify all the beautiful flora and fauna in the area. This means most claims by developers are guesstimates at best, and outright lies at worst.

What have the solar developers said so far?

Not a whole lot. (Yes there is a common theme here).

Enso Energy claim they will have a net gain in biodiversity of 30-40%. Not only is this exactly the same net gain they’ve claimed for all their other sites in the planning process, but the list of species they’ve mentioned in their report can be counted with your fingers with spares. Yes, they list only 8 species on site in their entire biodiversity assessment (badgers, bats, skylark, song thrush, dunnock, yellowhammer, great crested newt, and hazel dormouse). Whilst they list a further 3 species (all bats) in nearby SSSI’s. And they provide no assessment of the 2 rare and endangered species in the Roadside Nature Reserve, which they plan to trench through to lay their cables.

For a little context, within Flowton there is a lepidopterist (technical name for a moth specialist), who has counted 9 rare and endangered species of moth (let alone the common ones) just in his back garden.

This is the Dusky Thorn Moth that has been recorded in Flowton.

We’re not entirely sure how you can claim a net gain (note that this does not exclude the possibility of species loss) of 30-40% when a detailed study of the area hasn’t been conducted in the first place. Surely there are more than 8 animals in 242 acres?

And EDF, have made pretty much the same mentions of wildlife as Enso Energy, noting a few extra birds nearby such as herring gull and nightingale. Oddly they make no mention of a Buzzard that can be regularly seen in the site fields.

Statkraft currently haven’t released much information regarding wildlife in the area of their site as it is still in the pre-application stages.

How can I report the biodiversity in the area?

Here in Suffolk the Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service is a catalogue of wildlife (both plants and animals) in the county. But the catch is that it mostly requires people to report sightings in the first place.

So, if you want your local planning department to have a better idea of the types of wildlife in your area that need protecting, then you need to be reporting it to them. And that goes for all wildlife, not just the rare one you glimpsed on a summers day. A breeding pair of common owls year in and year out will do more for you than a few skylarks that briefly landed in a field one year and never came back.

When a developer needs to assess biodiversity in their assessments they usually start with a desk-study. i.e. they sit at a computer and see what has been recorded. Yes they don’t actually go and have a look at the site. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And since much of our wildlife is seasonal, even if they do visit the site, they’ll miss most of what the area supports anyway.

So to start reporting wildlife in your area visit the Suffolk Biodiversity Information Website and sign up for an account. Once it is activated you will be able to report biodiversity in your area, and when planning applications are put in this information will be one of the first ports of call to check biodiversity.

2 thoughts on “How can I help protect biodiversity species in my area?”

  1. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting
    a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

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