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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Endangered Red Squirrels: ‘So what’, says the Council, ‘just rip the Ainsdale trees down’

Sefton Council’s charade of care for the ecosystem is clearly displayed in their revealing George Drive Report. 

Sefton Council’s recent outrageous decision to DESTROY GEORGE DRIVE WOODS has shocked many good people everywhere. Liverpool Labour councillors, en masse, and one leading Tory are believed to be behind this appalling decision to wreck wildlife habitat in Ainsdale.

Numerous valid (and lawful) reasons have been given by residents and campaigners why this potentially illegal development must NOT go ahead. One example resides in text from a recent council report.

Lancashire Wildlife Trust (LWT) have highlighted red squirrels that have been sighted in the Ainsdale vicinity. Apparently this protected species was not even mentioned within the ‘Extended Phase One Habitat Survey’ – why? 

LWT have also spoken in this report of the need to replace any trees lost with tree species that would benefit red squirrels. Sadly, LWT appear to be wholly unaware that Sefton Council have already admitted within the conclusion of this report that one way or another all trees will be lost to this One Vision Housing development outrage.

Sefton Council’s ongoing hypocrisy over the red squirrel conservation issue is blatantly displayed in one of their own documents…

Decision - Red Squirrel Conservation

Council text reads and I quote (without any correction)…

‘ (1) Sefton Councils continued commitment to supporting the Lancashire Wildlife Trust in its work to conserve the Red Squirrel be confirmed;’

Also see…

‘to confirm Sefton Councils continued commitment to supporting the Lancashire Wildlife Trust in its work to conserve the Red Squirrel and establish a process to allow the annual grant for Grey Squirrel control to be claimed by the Council and forwarded to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust’ 

Lead member: Cllr John Fairclough, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member - Locality Services. Deputy Leader of Labour Group

Sefton Council is a partner in conserving the Red Squirrel in Sefton. This is something they like to highlight a lot on their propaganda sheets.

Nevertheless, the George Drive fiasco reveals another, more sinister, side to this authority, which indicates development and cash are placed by them 'before' endangered, legally-protected species.

The ‘real’ conclusion then would perhaps indicate that Sefton Council are being rather economical with the level of communication that they are presenting to outside bodies like LWT.

And the law says...

'The red squirrel is a protected species in the UK and is included in Schedules 5 and 6 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) (amended by the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000). It is an offence to intentionally kill or injure a red squirrel or intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy any structure or place a red squirrel uses for shelter or protection, or disturb a red squirrel while it occupies such a place.'

Even the Tree Officer opposed the proposal as being legally questionable and considered it contrary to Local Plan policy EQ9. This policy expressly makes provision, stating that developments must NOT result in ‘unacceptable loss of or damage to, existing trees or woodland.

Are the reckless councillors who voted in Bootle to destroy this valuable Ainsdale wild habitat either conveniently starved of correct information, or so lacking in intellect that they failed to grasp the sheer magnitude of waving away this innocent part of the British countryside?

Councillor Lynne Thompson: concerns about houses being too close together. 

Ainsdale's Councillor Lynne Thompson (above) was unable to attend the highly significant Planning Committee meeting, regarding the dire threat to the woodlands. She however asked the Planning Committee to take account of her following comments: 

"Amendments made to the original proposal has resulted in houses being closer than the minimum standard of 21 metres. This will harm the privacy of existing residents. On balance residents feel if the Planning Committee take these issues into account the building of a mere 18 homes on such and unsuitable piece of land cannot be justified."

NB. Councillor Thompson had, for many months, been spearheading residential concerns and holding meetings between irate residents and One Vision Housing. 

Supplementary Agenda 29th-Mar-2017 18.30 Planning Committee

Clear evidence in the following document may be seen of the scant concern that Sefton Council gave to the multitude of reasons why this countryside - destroying development was a bad idea.. 

Anyone left with the guts to say - NO? 

When exactly can we expect to see REAL protests about this disgusting fiasco from any caring Sefton politicians and environmental groups? Sefton Council cannot be permitted to dismiss their legal responsibilities to the local community or the natural habitat. 

Will any Southport councillor have the courage to come forth and even simply 'criticise' the larger Liverpool lobby of land -wrecking politicians, who are currently destroying our countryside at will?

This folks is 'our' precious Southport countryside being lost forever! We are not talking about some idyllic Constable - type painting with the beloved, pastoral, image of the old days. We are talking about what these uncaring big city councillors are actually doing to OUR vanishing greenscapes TODAY, in 21st century UK.  


Pat Regan ©

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