Meadow ‘looks like World War One battlefield’
A concerned resident says parts of Ifield Brook Meadowresemble a ‘battlefield’ because of landscape works to improve the ecological value of the site.
Judy Barker, from Gossops Green, said she was ‘reduced to tears’ when she walked through the beauty spot and discovered a number of hedges, blackberry thickets and nesting sites for birds had been ‘decimated’.
She said there were signs stapled to fences which says owner, the Homes and Communities Agency, has brought in special landscapers to help manage and preserve the meadow.
However, she is concerned about the affect it is having on natural habitats. Judy said: “Winter shelter and spring nesting sites for birds have been decimated. So, too, the bolt holes for rabbits, foxes and other wildlife, much of which has currently vanished. Heavy vehicles have made the area look like a World War One battlefield in places.”
She added: Great that the area is being considered for conservation rather than housing – but do we really want it to change so much? Environments are dynamic. Ifield Brook Meadows, unmanaged, has developed in a truly natural way which supported a whole new ecology – much beloved by local walkers and amateur nature lovers.”
A spokeswoman for the Homes and Communities Agency said the site was designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and it had a duty of care to maintain it. She said: “To minimise disruption to the local habitat, we have specifically carried out the work in December 2012 and January 2013 to ensure that there is no risk of a negative impact on birds during nesting season and significant amounts of scrub and tree cover have been retained to ensure the potential for bird life. We provided local interest groups, Crawley Borough Council and site users notice of the proposed landscape management plan. The plan aims to stop the scrub from becoming too overgrown and un-manageable and return the area to its natural state providing an important habitat to many invertebrate species. By carefully removing poorer trees we can retain the best specimens and create favourable future growth conditions.”
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Weather for West Sussex
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North east