Thursday, 27 April 2017

Letter to Louth Leader ( unpublished in this weeks Louth Leader as no letter page )






Photos above : bluebells appear in 2 different areas on the land, kingfisher watercolour inspired by the Kingfisher that lives along the canal and the Louth Town Lock during the 2007 flood.
Controversial Canal Side Planning Application

I am writing regarding the planning application of 9 houses to be built close to Louth Town Lock and alongside the canal. This land should instead be viewed as a valuable asset to the Lincolnshire tourist industry, in light of talks about creating both a cycle path to Tetney and of bringing the canal back to being a working canal. The figure of £ 20 million is being considered by the East Lindsey District Council to bring the canal back to its former glory according to social media sources.

The Louth Town Council strongly objects to the planning application on various grounds mentioning that the development 'could pose a risk to this boost of the local economy through tourism' as well as concerns over flooding and the destruction of wildlife habitat. There are calls for a bat survey to be carried out. 

The plot of land in question could become a real asset to Louth and its economy by remaining a green corridor for the canal wildlife. Louth is already bursting at the outskirts with huge housing developments in every direction, so why the need to spoil such a small plot of beauty and wildlife diversity ? According to my sources, Louth has already filled its quota for new housing.

I do however agree with some of the locals that the land could do with being tidied up but I envision it as a Spout Yard inspired park and seating area for both locals and tourists with perhaps an ice cream hut. I hope the price to pay for tidying this area up won't be the 9 houses, a new road, around 14 car drives and a metal safety barrier around the Lock which will be essential for a housing development being built so close to it. 

A decision will be made on the 25th April. To object to this development please visit the council website for details. Thank you.

Jane Air, poet and wildlife campaigner
ps, will update shortly on this story. I will be posting my objections letter with photographic evidence of bluebells and ransoms onto the East Lindsey District Council planning area of their website. Still trying to locate my photo of the River Lud uncovered a few years ago which exists underneath the land.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Wildlife bookmarks in Louth Oxfam shop created by Jane Air, wildlife campaigner

Free 'hare and dandelion' bookmarks from Oxfam in Louth. Subject to availability. Will be creating some more wildlife bookmarks shortly.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Louth canal wildlife habitat under threat from development ; Louth canal ; Louth news, Lincolnshire

I will be speaking at The Sessions house, Louth at 7.15pm on the numerous problems with this housing development. 
To object to the development of 9 houses along Louth canal near to Louth Town Lock please email your objection letter to

development.control@e-lindsey.gov.uk
Or ring 01507 613146

Wild ransoms and bluebells which are currently growing on this land are indicators of ancient woodland. There are also wild daffodils, bee orchids and cow parsley.



Click on plans to enlarge - although I do question the scaling of these maps - they seem rather 'Alice in Wonderland' to me as I simply can't see how there is any physical room for a row of trees, a road, houses, driveway for cars and more trees.

Ecological survey taken from the East District Lindsey website :5.2 PROTECTED SPECIES Amphibians 5.2.1 The nearest amphibian records provided by LERC are for great crested newt over 800m southwest of site, and common frog 910m northeast of site, to the north of Louth Canal. The only ponds shown on the Ordnance Survey map within 250m of the site are to the north, beyond the Louth Canal, which acts as a significant barrier to movement. There are no ponds on the site and none could be seen on adjacent land. Taken together, it is reasonably unlikely that amphibians make significant, if any, use of this site and so this group is not considered further. Reptiles 5.2.2 There are no reptile records for the local area since 1977 and, whilst the scrub and rough grassland present good opportunities for use by common reptile species, it is clear from aerial imagery that until fairly recently, the habitats on site were once much more formerly managed then they are now. This, and the poor habitat connectivity to the wider countryside, suggests that on balance, it is reasonably unlikely that reptiles make significant, if any, use of this site, and so this group is not considered further. [Client’s name] P a g e | 7 Bats 5.2.3 Small pre-fabricated concrete garages are not renowned for their use by bats and under BCT Guidelines, the garage is assessed as having negligible potential for use by bats due to the absence of suitable niches and regular human disturbance. Furthermore, no evidence of past or present use by bats was found during the survey. The garage is to be demolished to make way for the site access road. No further surveys are required with regard to bats, although protective measures may need to be put in place for nesting birds, depending on the demolition programme. 5.2.4 A mature Lombardy poplar on the north-eastern boundary has a rot hole 6m up the trunk. An ivy-clad willow along the canal path, just outside the development boundary, had rot damage on some branches and damage to the main stem. Both trees have potential for use by roosting bats and whilst the understanding is that neither is likely to be felled, there could still be an adverse impact on any bats using them. Both trees must be surveyed in season to determine whether they are used by bats and, if so, to evaluate any avoidance/mitigation measures. 5.2.5 The habitats on site are likely to provide foraging opportunities for local bats in their own right. However, of greater importance is the northern boundary tree line and the adjacent Louth Canal, which in combination are likely to provide both excellent foraging opportunities for bats and important linear habitat connectivity with the wider countryside, and one that is not currently subjected to high levels of light pollution. It is important to determine the effect the development could have on foraging and commuting bats in order to inform the site layout and any lighting scheme. This work should be integrated with the tree survey work in 4.3.4 to provide a combined assessment. Badgers 5.2.6 No evidence of badger activity or badger setts was recorded within the survey area or within 30m on adjacent land. No further work or mitigation is required for this species. Otter 5.2.7 No evidence of otter activity was recorded within the survey area. It is considered likely otter will use the canal as a movement corridor, given the large home range of this species and records from Louth Canal 1.3km east. Although otters are known to use bramble scrub as a laying up site, this habitat is adjacent to a busy public footpath with frequent dog walkers, which is likely to deter otter from resting on the south side of the canal. On balance, it is reasonably unlikely that otters make use of this site, and no further survey work or mitigation is required for this species. Birds 5.2.8 A limited range of common and widespread birds was recorded on the site and adjacent land, including starling, blackbird and woodpigeon. Starling is an S41 Species of Principal [Client’s name] P a g e | 8 Importance and Lincolnshire BAP priority species on account of its declining numbers (Collop, 2011). A full list of the birds recorded during survey is given in Appendix 1. A disused blackbird nest was also noted between the current access gate and neighbouring wall. The scrub, trees, hedgerow and garage have potential to support nesting birds, and future use can be expected in the breeding season. There is no potential for use by any of the specially protected Schedule- 1 species known to occur in the local area. 6 RECOMMENDATIONS 6.1 OVERVIEW 6.1.1 The development proposals include the construction of residential houses and the extension and widening of an existing driveway to create an access road. This will involve the demolition of a garage and the clearance of most vegetation on site, although many boundary trees will remain. The proposed site layout plan was not available at the time this report was written, so precise measures to mitigate any impacts and demonstrate how the development will generate biodiversity gain under national planning guidance will follow once the further survey work has been completed. 6.2 BATS 6.2.1 A minimum of two emergence/re-entry surveys will be undertaken (one dusk and one dawn) of both trees identified in this report as having bat roost potential. A minimum of two activity surveys will be undertaken in order to evaluate use of the site by foraging bats and in particular, any use of the northern boundary corridor. The surveys will be undertaken by suitably trained and experienced personnel between mid-May and mid-August and will follow methods set out in BCT Guidelines, 2016. The subsequent report will identify any issues and will provide clear and detailed advice on how any impacts can be successfully avoided or mitigated, together with timings. 6.3 BIRDS 6.3.1 The nests and eggs of all wild birds are protected by law (see Appendix 2). To avoid an offence, the demolition of the garage, together with any clearance of the hedgerows, trees and scrub, must be completed outside the breeding bird season, i.e. between the end of August and the beginning of March. If this is not possible, any vegetation to be cleared must be carefully searched in advance by an experienced ecologist. Any active nests must be cordoned off and the nest left undisturbed until the young have fledged. 6.3.2 To compensate for the loss of nesting habitat, 10 nest boxes must be incorporated into the development. An ecologist can prescribe the box types and the exact locations once the site [Client’s name] P a g e | 9 layout is known, but the retained trees along the northern tree boundary are likely to be the best area at present. 6.4 HEDGEHOG 6.4.1 Where possible, provision should also be made to allow for the free movement of hedgehogs between and through gardens. This can be achieved by leaving gaps along the base of boundary fencing. Gaps need be no bigger than 100mm wide by 80mm high. As with bird boxes, an ecologist can prescribe the optimal locations to place these gaps once the site layout is known.
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There are frogs and hedgehogs in this area ( I get them in my garden and on my doorstep ) plus bluebells and ransoms. And a sparrowhawk and buzzard - failed to get a mention in the survey.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

'The Yellow Bellies of Lincolnshire' poem published by The Lincolnite



My poem has been published by The Lincolnite media website on the 14 March 2017. If any media would like to read my article about the dominance of rapeseed with a view to publishing it, please private message me at my twitter account, https://twitter.com/janeairpoetry.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Louth canal wildlife haven under threat from development, Louth, Lincolnshire




Wildlife on the south bank of Louth canal near to the Town Lock is under threat from development. 
More to follow.