Thursday, 1 March 2007


So all the time I was being reassured the work had finished and the banks would now be left alone, MORE aggressive vegetation-removal was being done and now patches of the banks on both sides all the way along are scraped down to the soil, leaving burrows exposed and voles without protective cover. This is totally against all good environmental practice and has been done in spite of Tesco knowing there are water voles in that brook and without consulting the Environment Agency.

There are no footprints this morning, nothing - frankly I'd be amazed if this wasn't an intervention too far and the voles were gone for good. I could weep. What are we all working for, when people like this come along and wipe it out at a stroke?


Anonymous said...

Aren't Water Voles afforded habitat protection ? If Tesco don't or won't take their responsibilities seriously can they not be held accountable. As a last resort why not involve our local MP, he will always support causes that enhances his profile positively !

Kate said...

I've spent the morning in consultation with Huw Jones, a Biodiversity Officer at the Environment Agency. Since the brook is technically a main river, the EA have a say in what goes on there, whoever owns the banks (and I'm trying to find out exactly who does own this land because I was under the impression it was North Shropshire District Council).

Mr Jones has been in touch with the person who organised the strimming to warn them that this approach is damaging to the voles' habitat, and he's sending them a booklet on how to manage the banks in a more sympathetic way.

He's been assured that no more strimming is going to be done - but unfortunately I've been told that before.

Kate said...

And yes, if any more damage is done to the banks, I shall be taking it to the national press.

Debbie said...

Kate - I've just read the recent entries in your blog and was very sad to hear that the water voles' habitat has been damaged so much. The banks look bare! Fingers crossed that the voles haven't been scared away and that you see some more 'starry prints' soon. Please add a message to your blog if you need signatures to lobby anyone. Debbie

Kate said...

Thanks, debbie.

Trying to be positive here, the manager of White Lion Meadow Tesco rang me and was very apologetic; apparently the contractors should have reported in, and then he would have vetoed the work. But at least everyone's in the know now (thanks, EA!) and if we get an interpretation board up then there'll be less chance of people blundering in and destroying habitat accidentally.

Kate said...

An update on what Derek Gow of the Derek Gow Consultancy (see links) said about this work.

Firstly, there is nothing that can be done now the vegetation has been damaged like this. We just have to hope that this tiny colony, already at rock-bottom numbers after winter, manage to survive predation without their natural cover.

Water voles need living plants to feed on, but the standing dead cover, the canopy, is also a vital part of their habitat. Strimming should not take place closer than 3m to the banks. What has been done here is an offence.


Despite sending three poilte emails I still have had no word from John Baxter, the person at the central maintenance department who commissioned this work: no apology, no assurance that it won't happen again.

It's just not good enough!

Kate said...

Sorry, that last somment should be headed 5/3/07.

Finally got an email back from Mr Baxter - an automated Out of Office reply saying he's on holiday for a week! I've passed the matter onto one of his colleagues and I'm again waiting to hear.