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MEP adds voice to nightingale campaign

Developers and council leaders have been urged to work together to protect a bird colony in Kent.

key_greenenvironment.pngRSPB is concerned about plans for a 5,000-home scheme at Lodge Hill, in Hoo Peninsula, which it believes threatens nightingales nesting near the site.

Developer Land Securities has pledged to create new habitats for the birds, but the RSPB has said the area is a vital spot and the birds are thriving.

Lodge Hill is home to a nationally important population of nightingales, a bird which experienced an alarming 60 per cent decline across the UK between 1995 and 2009.

Catherine Bearder, a Lib Dem Euro MP for Kent, has called on Medway Council to make sure it works with the RSPB to find a solution.

She said: "I understand the desperate need for new homes across the South East, but we must not let this cloud our judgement when it comes to protecting biodiversity.

"The decline in nightingales is a concern and, given the wider pressure on the species, the site warrants national protection rather than loss to development."

Chattenden Woods next to the site has already been declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of its array of flora, butterlies and birds, including nightingales.

Catherine added: "The nightingale population in the Hoo Peninsula presents a fantastic opportunity to promote the understanding, conservation and enjoyment of an iconic bird."

"I hope Medway Council can work with the RSPB to find a solution."

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