Wildside: New threat to city trees

A guided walk in Bowden Wood 1980.
A guided walk in Bowden Wood 1980.

This week I quote from Andrea Midlane about the city council and fire service destruction of the scheduled ancient woodland site at Bowden Housteads Wood in Sheffield.

This makes a general point about disregard for nature, heritage and local communities.

Yes, the words are there about sustainable communities and Big Societies, but most is ‘eco-twaddle’ and ‘greenwash’ – with what ordinary folks want and value disregarded.

Nevertheless, rest assured that we are fully informed and engaged by those in power, with the rustle of money music to their ears.

Andrea explains: ‘I have today been saddened to see the part-built fire station when walking through Bowden Housteads Wood with my young son, something I do regularly in summer months.

I feel the council have done little to help and am sad that I missed signing the petition. I live local to Bowden Wood and I get wildlife visiting my garden – squirrels, badgers and foxes (daily and nightly) and many birds and insects.

I notice the foxes do come as much as they used to since the building began.

But I worry fire engine sirens will be even more detrimental to the animals and birds in the woods. Could this be discussed with the fire brigade? Surely, they do not need to use sirens until they get on to the roads.

I do worry, having noticed a decline in the wildlife already. I used to really enjoy walking here and hope next summer the wildlife will not be so badly affected.

It is such a shame for not only the wildlife of the area, but for people living nearby.

Now the bulldozers have been, my little boy, three years old, will not remember the beautiful insects he saw there last year and the lovely ‘countryside’ noises and tranquillity.

Only this summer, walking through the woods, we saw and heard various insects in the field, lots of birds and squirrels; now all gone.’

With these sorts of developments, out of sight and out of mind for planners and even the supposed environmental champions, nature suffers a slow death buy a thousand blows.

Obviously the council and fire service are not nature lovers. Yes, lives can be saved but they could have been half a mile up the road. It was unnecessary to build so close to the woodland.

I just hope the fire service will try to respect the area when they move in –maybe even having bird tables in the grounds might help.

Am I clutching at straws? Does anyone care?’ To find out more about this and many other issues, join us for ‘Action for Woods and Trees’ May 15 - May 16, St Mary’s Church. Check UKECONET for details.

n Professor Ian D. Rotherham, researcher, writer and broadcaster on wildlife and environmental issues, is contactable on ianonthewildside@ukeconet.org ; follow ‘Ian’s Walk on the Wildside’ blog, www.ukeconet.org for more.