Lodge Hill, a former military site near Chattenden, has now been formally been recognised as a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ due to its huge population of Nightingales. Buglife is delighted at this step forward as Lodge Hill may also be important as a home for rare insects such as the Shrill carder bee.
The Ministry of Defence site, also known as Chattenden Barracks, was originally notified as a possible SSSI in March due to its wildlife value, including areas of unimproved grassland, ancient woodland and its large population of nightingales. This was confirmed by Natural England on Tuesday. Buglife hopes that in due course the invertebrate interest on the site will also be evaluated – previous studies indicate that Lodge Hill could be a top site for invertebrates but so far the interest remains unknown.
Alice Farr, Planning Manager says “Whilst the wildlife value of Lodge Hill has now been formally recognised it has still been earmarked for 5,000 houses. As plans are being developed by Land Securities the area is still under threat. We hope that as this designation helps to demonstrate how special Lodge Hill is for our wildlife and that alternative sites for development will now be assessed. “