Protecting Devon from Development

I haven’t written anything in far too long… I have a backlog of posts to finish writing and frankly I’m ashamed of myself.

Anyway.

This is a bit of a depressing post (but with a small hint of positivity and a big dollop of importance) I’m afraid so strap in and make a cup of tea. Let’s get cracking.

I recently returned home to Devon to spend Christmas with my family. But driving around some of my favourite local places (Dartmouth, Totnes and Dartington) highlighted the current mass of development of unaffordable houses around the areas. I hate this. Every time I’ve been home across the last 6 months, I return to see more trees cut down, more hedgerows out of action and more green land being prepared for vast new housing estates. I believe we need the right quality homes in the right locations at the right price points, genuinely affordable to young people and low income families, but after completing comprehensive research on the matter, it’s obvious that a majority of the development on local Devon greenfield sites is inappropriate; not priced affordably for local people.

The frustrating fact is that Campaign to Protect Rural England’s (CPRE) annual State of Brownfield report shows that there is enough suitable brownfield land available in England for more than 1 million homes across over 18,000 sites. Yet developers choose the lush green sites because it’s cheaper.

As an environmentalist, I am seriously concerned about the threat of such development to wildlife and the lack of regulations surrounding this. The farmland I played in as a child (situated behind my grandmothers house in Totnes), has now been converted into luxury dwellings and during my walk around the new estate, I noticed that there is a considerable lack of greenery to support the biodiversity that once thrived on the land previous to the building.

I just don’t understand why it’s not a top priority for councils to make these estates (if we have to have them..) green! After all, we are currently in a mass extinction. I’m talking about planting up the areas in-between houses with insect friendly flowers, shrubs and trees. Using the small green triangles of land that separate areas of the estate to benefit nature and the environment. It would cost next to nothing (literally) and could be used to educate the new community on the importance of these spaces for the local wildlife. But no.. instead they’ll plant some tranquil looking, non-native species, grass that does bugger all for wildlife and will look shabby and bleak in a couple of years.

This all climaxed in my mind about a month ago, when I decided I had to do something about it. I’m sick of seeing precious greenspace developed for profit with no regard to the wildlife that inhabits there.

Subsequently, I contacted my local MP (and managed to keep my language grandma friendly!) to ask if they could lobby their fellow members of parliament to make a change and tighten the surrounding laws. After I received a pretty beat-around-the-bush reply (however I did appreciate the reply), I then decided to email the Minister of State for Housing, The Rt Hon. Esther McVey MP. I then proceeded to pester the local Councillor for Totnes, and the South Hams Council general enquiry service. Have I exhausted my efforts? Absol-bloody not. I’ve only just started.

Do I think that my emails will make any sort of difference at all? No. But it makes me feel a lot better sending them and feeling like I’m doing something about it. After all, they can’t concrete over the whole of Devon… Can they?!

For more information visit: https://www.cpredevon.org.uk/campaigns/right-homes-right-place/

Call For Help – What Are We Doing to Our Precious Nesting Birds?

Hedges and trees shrouded with netting are a visual representation of how we are increasingly squashing precious nature into a smaller and smaller box and how we are forcing it to fit in with our plans that will have devastating consequences.

Image result for shrouded hedges

I really recommend reading this article:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47787278

Enough is enough.

I Thought he Was a Fun-gi…

100% unapologetic about the title. A beautiful rendition of a classic four-year-old’s joke… Masterful. What do you mean “no”?… I was proud of that one!

London Wildlife Challenge day: We all lost count weeks ago, Tooby…

I spotted these lads on my daily commute to Turnham Green tube station. I believe them to be ‘Honey Fungus’ Armillaria mellea… Although they’re rather beautiful, these guys are a real pest, attacking the roots of woody plants, often leading to the death of the innocent host plant (such as the tree pictured here)… Bloody nightmare if you ask me…

‘Seal’ it With a Kiss…

Happy #NationalSealDay – time to celebrate all things about British seals. Did you know that the UK enjoys 40% of the world’s population of grey seals? How bloody cute are these blubbery babas!!! Sadly, seals are considered an issue for aquaculture businesses, particularly in Scotland. Although the government denies a ‘seal cull’, they have licensed the shooting of over 1300 seals!!!….. All smells a bit fishy to me… 😦 Time to further protect  these beautiful animals, me thinks. sealday