KEY NIGHTIN­GALE SITE STILL UN­DER THREAT

BBC Wildlife Magazine - - Agenda News -

Lodge Hill, home to 1.5 per cent of UK’s nightin­gale pop­u­la­tion, is tar­geted for de­vel­op­ment.

The fu­ture of Bri­tain’s most im­por­tant nightin­gale site is still in doubt, de­spite the with­drawal of a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for 5,000 homes.

The for­mer mil­i­tary base of Lodge Hill, in North Kent, was des­ig­nated as a Site of Spe­cial Sci­en­tific In­ter­est (SSSI) in 2013 be­cause of its es­ti­mated 85 singing male nightin­gales.

In 2014, the plan­ning au­thor­ity Med­way Coun­cil ap­proved plans for 5,000 homes at Lodge Hill. More than 12,000 peo­ple ob­jected, and the ap­pli­ca­tion was due to go to a Pub­lic In­quiry in 2018.

Med­way Coun­cil says it ex­pects to re­ceive a new ap­pli­ca­tion for de­vel­op­ing the site in the com­ing months. “By 2035, we must build 30,000 new homes to keep up with our ex­pand­ing pop­u­la­tion and each and ev­ery suit­able de­vel­op­ment site is key,” says coun­cil leader Alan Jar­rett.

The Bri­tish nightin­gale pop­u­la­tion de­clined by 60 per cent be­tween 1995 and 2009.

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