The nature reserve is home to wildlife rare in London such as long-eared owl, skylark and spotted flycatcher, but all are threatened by a proposed haulage road that will allow Brett Tarmac Ltd to extract gravel from a nearby pit.
With a wide range of wildlife-friendly habitats, the reserve is noted for its birdlife, and provides important shelter to migrant birds that overwinter in Britain, escaping harsher climates elsewhere in northern Europe, Russia and even the Arctic Circle.
The reserve is also important for amphibians, including great crested newt. This stunning newt, the largest in Britain, is a protected species, and under UK law it is an offence to damage or destroy their habitats.
The disturbance and pollution caused by construction and by the passage of up to 180 trucks a day will drive away wildlife, and will break an important link in the network of natural habitats that allows wildlife to flourish at this regionally valuable site.
While the haulage route may only be temporary, the disruption to some wildlife could be permanently damaging, as the restoration will be to a bridleway rather than wildlife habitats.
Mathew Frith, Director of Conservation at London Wildlife Trust said: “The proposed haulage route will cause extensive damage to important wildlife habitats, and will undoubtedly impact heavily on the wildlife that brings such joy to local people. We have worked with Redbridge Council and Brett Tarmac Ltd on the longer-term restoration of land at Fairlop to conserve the area’s natural assets, and therefore strongly urge Redbridge Council to think again, and to stand up for the wildlife it said it would protect. We are happy to advise Brett Tarmac and Redbridge Council further on these matters to ensure that Fairlop’s ecological assets can be effectively sustained into the future.”
* London Borough of Redbridge Biodiversity Action Plan https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/media/2205/biodiversity_action_plan.pdf