Englishcombe Lane (Bath) Housing Development Site

25 September 2020

Englishcome Lane development site

We were shocked to see pictures of the Englishcombe Lane housing development site, shared this week on social media, of slow worms being killed while still in the traps set for their ‘safe’ removal.

Harming and killing slow worms is a criminal offence. We hope that the council investigates the matter throughly and, in the meantime, halts all development work to avoid further illegal harm to wildlife.

We oppose the Englishcombe Lane housing development. Green spaces have been built on in cities including Bath in recent years, as ecologically sensitive habitats disappear before our eyes. The granting of the planning permission on this site despite objections from the consulting ecologists is in direct contravention of the ecological emergency declared by the council just a few weeks ago. Both the ecological and climate emergency declarations must not be used as lip service - it's essential that they are acted upon with urgency to ensure that there is a healthy and sustainable future for residents of Bath & Northeast Somerset.

Many of us have witnessed a growing appreciation of green spaces and nature over lockdown, removing these precious resources is not the way forward. They are crucial for maintaining the mental and physical health of locals. We appreciate a need for new housing, but an alternative to the proposed plans must be found. As they are, they are unacceptable and should never, ever have been passed. It is to the shame of the council that they have.

We have all witnessed a shocking and heart-breaking decline in the abundance and diversity of habitats, grasses, insects, birds, reptiles and mammals in our lifetimes. The next generation may never see species that many have been lucky enough to observe in our own back gardens - why should they be deprived of this privilege? 

Delicate, declining ecosystems should be valued for the many resources that they provide, as well as for their intrinsic value. We have followed the Building with Nature project with great admiration and interest - we suggest the B&NES planning department take note! https://www.buildingwithnature.org.uk/about

The council has signalled its plans to adjust local planning policy in regard to the climate and ecological emergency, but it's understood that this will take at least a year. As such, current and future planning applications will continue to be assessed against the current policies which pay no heed to the climate or ecological emergency declarations. What is the value of such declarations if, in the meantime, green spaces continue to be built up with no regard to ecological value, only financial gains?

Ellie Maher,

Bath and NE Somerset Green Party

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