A Ministry of Defence site on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent has been earmarked for 5,000 houses. The site, Lodge Hill, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and maybe home to the Shrill carder bee, one of our rarest bumblebees.
Despite this, a planning application has been submitted to Medway Council, by Land Securities the MoD’s developer, to build 5,000 houses on the site. This is currently being considered by Medway Council. As there is such conflict between national policies protecting the environment and the drive to build more homes, the final decision may be escalated to the Secretary of State.
Why are we concerned?
Lodge Hill is full of wildlife friendly habitat, including flower-rich grassland and ancient woodland; both are home to rare and endangered bugs. So far inadequate invertebrate surveys have been provided which makes it impossible to know just how many rare species can be found there. Without this detail it is unfeasible to judge the impact of this development on the environment.
We do know that Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina), Red shanked carder bee (Bombus ruderarius) and Grizzled skipper butterfly (Pyrgus malvae), all species of conservation concern, can be found there. This gives strong indications that the site is important for rare bugs.
If this development is to go ahead it will cause England’s largest loss of a nationally important wildlife reserve. Crucially there are alternative, more sustainable development opportunities which are less damaging to our wildlife.
Granting planning permission would create a dangerous and unacceptable precedent.
What we are doing
As well as trying to find out about the true value of the site for invertebrates we have objected to the planning application and are working with RSPB and Kent Wildlife Trust to protect this precious site and its wildlife.