It was a real pleasure to meet up with Mark Avery (former director of conservation at RSPB and now leading national conservation activist) yesterday and show him round Beddington Farmlands and Hackbridge. We popped into the eco village Bedzed, checked out the area for the potential future eco-park/visitor's centre, had a look round 100 acre, visited the proposed wet grassland site and then back to the cafe. As my keyholder agreement only allows us to visit the restricted area for birdwatching we weren't allowed to notice the 300,000 tonne incinerator which is three times the size of Buckingham Palace and has 95 meter high chimneys that dominates the entire site and can be seen for miles all around- so we didn't see that at all - so hopefully I won't receive another written warning from Viridor about taking visitors on site and them happening to notice and then raise some questions of why the death star is being built in the middle of the nature reserve.
When I showed Mark the plans of the ecological restoration and the legally binding plans for a major urban nature reserve that would positively transform the area and how the restoration should have been phased with the landfill development, we both failed to notice that the development is at stage 6 while the restoration is lagging years behind at stage 2. Other things we that we failed to notice included how that delay in restoration has enabled the building of the incinerator and other expansion of waste management facilities on proposed restored areas, how the decay of the site enables further malignant development, that Viridor/Pennon bosses earn £2 million bonuses for hitting growth targets (that would be threatened if they spent money on legally binding ecological restoration agreements) that Sutton Council are powerless to enforce planning conditions on Viridor as local authorities are broke and can't afford legal bills, that Viridor get away with it by handing out sweeteners to local charities and public figures to silence them and how they threaten and try and intimidate any local genuine support for the reserve development. We didn't notice any of that all- until we left the restricted area.
A few birds too including 2 Ruff, 1 Greenshank, 8 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, 1 Wheatear, 12 Meadow Pipit going over and 1 Buzzard.
A great afternoon and discussed some ideas (when not in the restricted area) about how to raise the profile and impact of the Beddington Farmlands Campaign to a national level case study of corporate ecological irresponsibility.
Mark outside the local cafe
Just a picture overlooking the Site of Importance for Nature Conservation
Just a picture of 100 acre, showing the wetland habitat that is formed from sewage treatment. Unfortunately the last remaining sewage farm areas are being decommissioned- this area is used by passage waders and breeding Lapwing. The loss of these areas will be the final nail in the coffin for the farmlands. Please note the rainbow in the background and the clouds and sky and nothing else.
One of the Ruff on 100 acre
Had this September Thorn in the trap last night
My work colleague Sharon found this Privet Hawkmoth caterpillar in her garden. I took it back to the bugry and put it in a tank in preparation for getting some food plants for it. However it burrowed into the soil in the tank so presumably wants to pupate.