My fear for the landfill site (please see my blog of June this year) has been realised. The photograph above shows the damage that has been done this year by the unsympathetic treatment of a plot of land that has severe limitations on its usage. The illegal dump, although no longer in use and now owned by the council, still has to be monitored due to the gas build up within the mound. It was and still could be a rare opportunity to transform this plot into a wildlife haven. Below is an edited email I sent to the council department responsible for the maintenance of this site.
EDITED EMAIL - SEPTEMBER 2014
As an ardent conservationist I have watched with interest as the restoration works have been carried out. I applauded the plan to sow a wild seed mix on the site with future plans to plant trees and bushes.
That first spring in 2012 showed great promise. The hill was covered in purple flowers (possibly clover) and wild flowers abounded in the field, including teasels, a truly lovely sight. I saw stoats running in and out of the stalks and bats flitting over the new growth at sunset searching for the abundance of food that comes with prolific vegetation. A promising start to rival any award winning conservation area.
So, when did the Scorched Earth Policy come into existence for this site? From “The site will need to be left undisturbed for the grass sward to become established.” statement to what has actually taken place.
I appreciate that there have been a few teething problems. We had several weeks of men in huddles on the hill looking down the inspection hole and then the inevitable disturbance to the site when the hard standing for the tanker was constructed and of course, the widening of the access to the field so the incredibly large tankers can get in and out. All of which may well have contributed to the delay in tree and bush planting.
The site would have recovered from all this if it had been left to do so. What it will NOT recover from is the man on the mower who turns up and reduces the area to a barren wasteland. The first cut this year was just as the spring flowers were about to seed themselves and the summer flowers were beginning to emerge. Decimated. The land struggled to produce very much at all this summer and all the species that one would expect to flourish - didn’t. The thugs of the wild flora world managed to survive against the odds but last week Mower Man struck again. The summer plants have not been permitted to die back and shed their seed naturally and the Roman snails, a protected species, I fear would not have withstood the brutal onslaught, as they were still living above ground.
Please come and see the results for yourself and compare it to the conservation area owned by our site which has flourished with minimum intervention, and the verge that runs alongside the main road which the council maintain as a nature reserve by deliberate neglect.
I understand that there will need to be access to inspection areas which can be achieved with mown paths meandering between access points and a little imagination.
It’s a crying shame that this plot of land, which has limitations imposed upon it, cannot be left to flourish as the wildlife haven it was intended to be.
I fear if this drastic policy continues this plot will be overcome by Ragwort, which will happily move in to fill the vacuum. If this extremely toxic plant is allowed to gain dominance then you really will have a problem on your hands. In a conservation area where natural flora and fauna is permitted to take hold, you may get some Ragwort, essential for the caterpillar of the Cinnabar moth but it will be manageable.
I sincerely hope for less aggressive and far more sympathetic maintenance with regard to this site in the future.
I attach a photograph of the landfill field taken a few days after the last cut.