Report from Public Meetings September 2019:
The largest number of responses in this section (56 in addition to those specifying grass verges) supported making more corridors for wildlife. There was general understanding of the concept and strong support for wildlife corridors as an integral part of the Parish’s green infrastructure. They asked for the general – “more connectivity to
enable animals to move from one area to another easily” & the particular including “to “connect all
Key Wildlife sites”(several participants ) and “connect Bob’s to Fidges Lane” (Eastcombe). They asked for
increasing the variety of opportunities for wildlife corridors, including:
- better protection for and rehabilitating hedgerows, with general comments ranging from “reduce hedge cutting /flailing” to “hedgerows for preserving winter food for wildlife”
- re-wilding verges-10 participants (mainly from Oakridge) said wilder grass verges were wildlife corridors and asked for re-wilding them, mi
nimal or no strimming .and planting wildflowers.
- planting more community orchards
- increasing the current Key Wildlife Sites, and increasing protected areas.
- allocating allotments as Key Wildlife Sites (see under Allotments above)
- establishing village corridors for small mammals: “insist on hedgehog planning condition through the village” (Bisley).
- connecting tree belts
- maintaining stone walls with several reference in Oakridge and Eastcombe supporting the importance of stone walls for wildlife (butterflies and insects)
- Composting was mentioned in Bisley(1) and Oakridge (1) as important for soil life.
- One call for “leaky dams to protect crayfish” (SUDS)
- Maintaining a good footpath network for wildlife corridors
ALLOTMENTS: Community support for allotments was high amongst village participants in September’s NDP2030 Public Consultations. There was significant acknowledgement that allotments “are fantastic”, “a valuable asset” and “very important” for village life” (two Eastcombe residents). Allotments “need to be protected”
said one Bisley resident. Another Bisley resident called for the allotments to be a Key Wildlife site as part of a village wildlife corridor. Many participants in all three communities said allotments provide benefits to the community over and above their importance “producing local produce” (an Eastcombe Resident) and “self-sufficiency” (Bisley resident). One Bisley resident said: “Allotments are not only a place to garden, but a place for wildlife, to teach children, for bees and wildflowers, and a place to relax helping the NHS”. There was much recognition that these community growing spaces contribute to “people’s mental happiness” (Eastcombe resident). Another Bisley resident said that allotments would be increasingly important for local food production and reducing “our carbon footprint” –and an Oakridge resident said “allotments will be more essential after Brexit and climate change”. Another Oakridge resident said “we will need to feed more locally on healthy food” and another Oakridge re
sident asked that more be done to encourage villagers to use allotments.
There was negativity about the use of chemicals on allotments (“Ban Glysophate on allotments”) was mentioned twice. One different point of view came from one Eastcombe resident asking if allotments could be moved outside the village boundary to release land for development.
(In addition, support for allotments as a ‘green space’ was expressed in both the ‘Landscape and Trees’ section).
EDUCATION: There was a general feeling that everyone (adults as well as young people) needed more education about wildlife and wildlife corridors. Many participants suggested wildlife education is very poor locally- and more information is needed about how individuals can and must contribute to protect and improve conditions for wildlife. Some suggested increased contact between the parish and GWT, and bodies such as the Woodland Trust
NOTE: The NDP Steering Group is working on a collaboration with the Royal Forestry Society, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and the Horticultural and Nature Club students of Thomas Keble School to develop and map an understanding of ‘wildlife corridors’ and particularly the importance of hedgerows for protecting and improving environmental quality for wildlife. To this end the students have had several workshops in 2019-20 and, in addition to planting fruit trees in Bisley’s community orchard, have planted a hedgerow along the edge of their own playing field connecting two small woodland copses. Their ‘mapping’ workshop in February can be extended across the whole Parish.
CHEMICALS AND LAND USE: There was a significant level of criticism from participants of farmers/landowners about the use of chemical sprays. Some called for a ‘ban’ to reduce or limit spraying, or ‘encourage farmers to act responsibility’. There was a call for more dialogue between residents and landowners. This suggests there is a ‘gap’ between the opinions of these groups of residents living in a rural area to the perceived practices of farmers and land management around the villages. Some wanted fewer horse paddocks.
Several people in this group suggested that solar panels on farmland to increase our local renewable energy supply could co-exist with wildlife happily.
One person suggested Bisley to be an “Earth Protector” village and another that there should be prizes at the shows for organic vegetables.
SUBURBANISATION: There were requests that SDC should take account of local policies. Many said they felt that the Parish had been disregarded by SDC planning. Many flagged the problems of increased lighting and floodlighting, suburbanisation and “over-neatness” creeping into the villages (strongly expressed by Oakridge residents).
TRAFFIC SPEEDS: A few participants said traffic should be slowed to protect wildlife crossing roads or in verges and were appalled at speed on the roads killing wildlife.
HEALTH & WELLBEING: Several residents stressed the importance of the natural environment as a public health issue – providing relaxation and wellbeing.
There were few negatives, but the use of chemical on allotments (“Ban Glysophate on allotments”) was mentioned twice. One Eastcombe resident asked if allotments could be moved outside the village boundary to release land for development. One Oakridge resident asked more should be done to encourage villagers to use allotments.
As a result of this initial consultation it is suggested that VDS Guideline / Policy L4 be enhanced to:
Allotments and their availability should be strongly protected. The existing allotment grounds should be developed through appropriate management to encourage greater use and wider educational opportunities. More recognition will be actively sought for allotments’ role in and recognition of their contribution to wildlife buffer zones and wildlife corridors and connectivity.