The arrogant email below from Matt Jackson of BBOWT tells all. Despite Mr Jackson's pathetic argument that he has not tried to undermine "other organisations", BBOWT's support for RWE npower's actions was a key factor in persuading Oxfordshire County Council to give planning permission for the destruction of Thrupp Lake. Who can complain about npower when the wildlife people support them in their destruction?
RWE npower happens to be a corporate member of BBOWT but surely this cannot be connected with a wildlife trust's glad-handing of a power giant? Where will BBOWT be on the march at Radley Lakes tomorrow?
Dear Mr Markham,
Your e-mail regarding BBOWT's position on Radley Lakes and Warneford meadow has been forwarded on to me. I'm sorry you feel so strongly about BBOWT's position on these two issues.
Our letter to the County Council about Warneford meadow was not intended to be a letter of support for development. We commented on the application because we felt that, if a development were to proceed, it could be significantly improved to account for biodiversity issues. The area is not considered to have any significant biodiversity value in its present state, and it would therefore be completely wrong for BBOWT to object to an application which has no significant wildlife impact.
As regards Radley Lakes, BBOWT was the only nature conservation organisation to object to the original application by npower to infill the two lakes at Radley. That scheme was withdrawn by the applicants. The second application was submitted with a full Environmental Impact Assessment. The impact of the scheme was reduced significantly by the withdrawal of the proposal to fill in the smaller lake, and by various other methods to avoid impact. They also submitted proposals for aftercare for the site which were focussed on nature conservation outcomes, unlike their original scheme.
We have no reason to doubt the findings of the EIA, and given the nature conservation focus of the proposed aftercare we felt that an objection on the basis that, in the long-term, there would be a significant loss of biodiversity resulting from the application could not be sustained. None of the other nature conservation organisations, including the RSPB and English Nature, objected to either the first or second application.
BBOWT will only object to a planning application if it results in a significant loss of biodiversity. There are many other equally valid grounds on which others may wish to object to planning applications, such as loss of amenity space, access to green space, visual intrusion and so on. These are not, however, areas where BBOWT is in a position to comment. This, I'm afraid, may make BBOWT unpopular with individuals and organisations who are opposed to specific schemes and developments.
Equally, BBOWT has not, on either of these issues, sought to undermine other organisations seeking to protect sites for their own reasons. I have every sympathy with local people who do not want to loose their local greenspace, but BBOWT's focus must be on the wildlife impacts of development.
Matt Jackson, Head of Policy, Planning and Wider Countryside, BBOWT
The Lodge, 1 Armstrong Road, Littlemore, OX4 4XT
firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: (01865) 775476.