‘Environmental disaster’: Activists’ wildlife concerns if controversial secondary road is allowed
An activist fears wildlife could be forced to flee onto busy roads if a controversial secondary road is built.
Judith Maunder is concerned about potential environmental damage from a road crossing Mandale Meadow as part of Stainsby National Park plans.
She said: ‘It absolutely revolts me that so much green space goes under concrete.
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“We’re going to lose so much, probably before we even know it’s there. Where is he going?
“There’s nowhere else to go, we’ve got the A19, A66, A174 and Mandale Road which are busy so they’re actually stuck in this terrain there’s nowhere to go go.
“Then the plot gets smaller, you’re also going to run over more people and dogs in a small piece of land, causing unintended damage.
“We had deer driven out of the forest because of the dogs crossing.
“I’m not saying people shouldn’t have their dogs there, but once you get smaller and smaller land and more and more people use it, you threaten the land and life. who is there.”
Judith has worked with fellow Greenstuff Middlesbrough campaigner Martyn Walker to send letters protesting the backbone route to Middlesbrough Council – so far they have collected more than 1,100.
Judith added: “The [spine] road is going to put a lot of species at risk.
“Hedgehogs, toads and frogs, anything that moved especially at night.
“The only way for them to escape is to cross one of these roads and where else are they going to find territory? They’re really putting a lot of stress on the wildlife.
“There’s no way the toads, frogs or hedgehogs are escaping the highways. It’s going to be an environmental disaster.
Middlesbrough Council has previously said that although Mandale Meadow is not a designated Local Wildlife Area, any development application that affects it will require an ecological assessment.
Two applications for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) advice have been submitted to council for land in the Stainsby National Park area.
This is one of the first steps in the planning process to obtain permission for a new development.
An EIA is required if a project will cause significant environmental effects.
One of the applications for homes at Stainsby Country Park has been made by property company Savills, on behalf of Avant Homes and Miller Homes, who are looking to build up to 600 properties.
The council’s notice of decision states: “The inclusion of the national park, green corridors throughout the development and the use of SOUTH for drainage provides ample opportunity to mitigate and enhance any impact on the site ecology.
“With this in mind, proposals should be able to mitigate any potential harmful effects on biodiversity.”
He concludes: “It is unlikely that it will have significant effects on the environment. Therefore, I confirm that an environmental impact study is not required in this case.
A full planning application for this site is expected shortly and the notice of council decision states that this will include “various ecological and environmental assessments, including a preliminary ecological assessment, a bat survey, an arboreal assessment and a great crested newt survey (which was included in the EIA screening application).
Another EIA review application has been submitted by Story Homes for up to 800 houses, a village hall and a primary school in Stainsby Hall North, which is still awaiting a decision.
This application is for the northernmost development in the country park plans bordering the longest stretch of Mandale Meadow, while the Avant Homes and Miller Homes section is directly below.
As part of its submission, Story Homes states that the development will provide a net gain to biodiversity.
A letter from Lichfields, on behalf of Story Homes, to council states: ‘The main area of the site for housing is relatively flat arable fields with some native hedgerows and a low number of small trees along the internal boundaries of the field , so overall relatively few landscape features will be lost, except for the northern access road which must cross Bluebell Beck, so some loss is inevitable.
Andy Preston has previously said he is reviewing whether the side road is necessary.
At a council meeting in September last year, Mr Preston said: ‘I would like to see the accommodation built, I think it would be good for Middlesbrough, I don’t think it would harm our environment.
“But I’m not ready and I don’t think the management team is ready to explicitly approve the construction of a new road through a greenfield site until we are sure it is absolutely necessary.
“I asked for more information and if it takes a week, a month or a year, so be it.”
In the Stainsby National Park Master Plan, which has yet to be approved by the council executive due to the spine route controversy, he states that he intends the park to be accredited as as England’s natural park to protect it from future development.
It also suggests that the country park will include 74 hectares of green space with 800 ornamental street trees and park trees, 300 fruit trees, more than 100 hedge trees, 16,000 to 24,000 hedge plants and 18,000 to 25 000 native trees and shrubs,
Homes which are part of the National Park will bring additional tax revenue to the local authority and will be in a higher band than the majority of properties in Middlesbrough which are towards the lower two bands.
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