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We are losing them and we should value them more.
1. What evidence is there they are good for wildlife?
e.g. 12-15% of rare and scarce invertebrates live on brownfield sites - there is great biodiversity per square foot - on a par with ancient woodland
2. Why are they so good for wildlife? (i.e. why do they have so many different plants , mammal, birds, bees, butterflies and other invertebrates?)
4. They mimic successional stages - they ARE successional stages. As the ice retreated 12,000 years ago from UK it would leave bare rock and cliffs and lakes that would silt up - rather like quarries. Special plants and animals would colonise these. Some of these habitats are recreated in quarries and even the concrete of old aerodromes..
5. Why are they under threat?
6. Why do the UK nature conservation planning laws not save them?
Is there not a safety net to protect good sites?
Our safety net is:-
But new brownfield sites are not given SSSI status. There is just one example of a brownfield site that is an SSSI. (Having said that many SSSIs are "old brownfield sites" such e.g. old quarries - e.g. Quarry Moor at Ripon.) . In planning decisions, greenfield land is protected in preference to brownfield land. Land that has planning permision to be built on has higher monetary value than land that cannot be built on.
Who knows how the laws will be changed next week.
7. Brownfield sites often have historical interest
8. Many current Sites of Special Scientific Interest were once former Brownfield sites.
9. Going to extremes, one could consider all of Britain a complex of former brownfield sites. Simon Warick pointed out, The mesolithic henge at Nosterfield was an early example of a brownfield site.. (he said this after describing the amazing natural wildlife developments at the Nature reserve at Nosterfield in a former gravel quarry)
10. How can we raise awareness?
How can we encourage people to stick up for the biodiversity and wildlife potential of brownfield sites - against the perception that it would be better if it were all planted with ryegrass, or else built on?
The talks from this conference will be put on the YNU web site
Buglife Website is going to have a section on advice about Brownfield Sites
Thanks to all the speakers and organisers and especially to Sarah Henshall, Conservation Officer of Buglife, from whose talk I collected many of the above points.
Phil Wheater led a discussion on Local Nature Partnerships. These are supposed to benefit Nature, People and the Local Economy. There are about 50 of these. They have received some money to meet, but not to do anything. They are committees made up of Health people, Nature people and Business people.
1. I've made this webpage.
2. And at Coffee after Church this morning I raised it in conversation..
WM replied The Dales Hay meadow round here used to be full of colour with wildflowers 50 years ago- they are just green now.
H replied to me "Well brownfield sites should be filled in shouldn't they. They are toxic. I pointed out that the Hoffman Kiln, a local reserve was a brownfield site, she looked surprised. Then we jointly laughed at my efforts to try and publicise the plight of brownfield sites.
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