Monday, 2 January 2017

Beddington Farmlands Review 2016

Here's a few personal highlights from the farmlands in 2016.

Pic by David Campbell
White Stork- bird of the year 
Siberian Chiffchaff in January 
The first record of breeding Greylag Goose
Redstart in the hand
Honey Buzzard over the hide 
A good selection of gulls including several  Iceland Gulls and the recent Glaucous Gull (below)

Black Terns from the obs 
Plum-headed Parakeet in the Obs garden (a new escape species)
A pair of breeding Barn Owl was one of the year's highlights

Acrobasis repandana- a new one for the site.
Anania perlucidalis- a first for the farmlands.
Dewick's Plusia- a handful of records again
Ash-bud moth- new for the farmlands 
Brown Argus- a local scarcity
Black Arches 
A great year for Six-spotted Burnets
A record year for Marbled Whites with up to 50+
Boxworm Moth- a first for the site
2016 will be remembered for the massive influx of Diamond-back Moths- there could have been up to 1.5 million on site! 
Great Burnet- a first for the farmlands

Full details of the State of Nature at Beddington Farmlands is published annually in the Yearly Report. The on going species inventory and other information can be found on the website



Several areas of the grassland habitats were seeded with sacrificial crops and flowering meadows

Regular public and associate member walks through the year 
The new Shelduck boxes 
Hackbridge Volunteers maintaining the entrance


Unfortunately 2016 was another year of ecological crisis at the farmlands with the recent loss of the Tree Sparrow population and the continual failure of the conservation management plan and further losses in the fortunes of the conservation target species. Much more concerning- there are now further plans to build on wetland habitat along the Beddington Lane frontage and also to drain 100 acre and south east corner - the last breeding habitats for Lapwing on site. Despite public promises in the summer during some high profile public events- the wet grassland habitat and other biodiversity action plan habitat development  has still not commenced in any meaningful way. The crisis continues to deepen and deepen.

The fundamental reason for the ecological crisis is the failure of Viridor to deliver the habitats and to meet conditions as set out in planning permissions. Due to local authority and regulatory body funding and staffing cuts, basically there are no effective enforcement apparatus and breaches of conditions and flaunting of social and ecological obligations by Viridor is going largely un-challenged as the corporate put spending concerns ahead of social, ecological and moral obligations. This is an extremely concerning revelation for society much further beyond too, basically the exposure of a corporate/fundamental capitalist dictatorship at large and a problem that must be challenged by the conservation community. Beddington is a case study of everything that is wrong about modern UK society (including the way that nature conservation organisations themselves are taking money from Viridor via the landfill tax credit schemes and are not speaking out about the illegalities at Beddington farmlands- see below for more) and it's relationship with nature and hopefully can be used as a case study of how to change that for the better.  That challenge is nothing less than the old as time check/correction mechanism of ensuring that corporations and other powerful minorities are brought back into line, the line where society works together and constructs an advanced condition - an immense challenge but one that must be met if there is to be any meaningful or worthy future for anyone or anything including the corporations and minorities.

 A new Conservation and Access Management Committee was set up in 2016 which will hopefully assist in meeting the challenges ahead.

To highlight the issues local community groups and the bird group continued the campaign to raise awareness of the challenges and the need for necessary reforms and coordinated activism to assist in the delivery of a commitment to the reserve development. 

 Stop the Incinerator Protest in Summer

An article in Pulse, the newsletter for the Prestiguous Linnaean Society, outlines the main issues 
The Tree Sparrow Population at the farmlands has a collapsed- only 2-3 pairs remaining from one of the largest strong holds in the UK. A Tree Sparrow Management Plan and the Conservation Management Plan was never implemented despite planning conditions. 
Private Eye exposing the ecological collapse and on going illegalities 
Myself and David Lindo on BBC Winterwatch 
The illegalities were also exposed in an posting on Mark Avery's blog
More on how Viridor, the WWT , the RSPB, the Widlife Trusts and other conservation organisations are all working together to destroy Beddington Farmlands HERE- a situation that suggests deep seated racism and class discrimination within the conservation community. Effectively Beddington Farmlands is being classed a 'sacrifice area' where the e-NGOS can take money (and remain silent) from a nature destroying illegally operating corporation  because they consider the demographically diverse communities and the people within the economically challenged environment won't be able to defend themselves. 

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