As part of a fresh wave of campaigning for a major urban nature reserve at Beddington Farm, the Beddington Farm Bird Group had a meeting yesterday evening to discuss matters.
In summary, the situation is as follows. At present there are major landfill operations at Beddington Farm. Phased restoration and a conservation management plan was an integral part of the planning permission conditions which was granted as a result of a public enquiry. These conditions were stipulated to manage the area for birds and wildlife during the landfill operations. The idea was to mitigate for the loss of habitat for birds and also restoring areas for wildlife as soon as possible after areas had been utilised for landfill. The end result is that the area will form part of wider Wandle Valley green area and will form a major urban nature reserve.
Perhaps rather unsurprisingly, the restoration is behind schedule and mitigation measures have been rather minimal. Target species such as Yellow Wagtail have become extinct and one recent survey (unpublished at present) reveals that there has been a 50% decline in certain areas of the avifauna.
In order to achieve the goal of the farm being restored to an urban nature reserve a new campaign has been launched. Basically what we hope to achieve is public support and also support from bird conservation bodies to help and encourage Sutton Council to help the operators of the landfill to meet their obligations as set out in the public enquiry. Hopefully by a campaign of public awareness, volunteer work, help from NGO's and our own hard work, we can help the operators of the site build one of the most important nature reserves for London.
Watch this space.