Newburn Sidings a biodiversity hotspot

A new analysis by the Natural History museum dated September 2020 looking into how much biodiversity is left in different countries around the world has shown that the UK has some of the lowest amounts of biodiversity remaining. When speaking of biodiversity it is in reference to the amount of animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria, and it is the range of species found in every habitat on earth.

The article outlines the seriousness of the situation and states that the UK has led the world in destroying the natural environment, as centuries of building, industry, and farming has made the UK one of the most nature-depleted countries in Europe. Extensive agricultural land cultivation and the continual escalation of new road networks along with other factors have reduced UK wildlife to a point rarely seen elsewhere. The RSPB during a recent data disclosure has revealed that 40 million of the UK bird population have disappeared since records taken in 1970.

Urban areas of the UK fare the worse when compared to similar in other countries and of the 218 countries assessed for biodiversity intactness the UK flounders in position ranking 189.

Urban areas such as Swindon, have what are referred to as biodiversity hotspots some of which have been designated as being LNRs or Local Nature Reserves.

These biodiversity hotspots should where ever possible be joined up to provide what is termed as being an urban green corridor. The reason for creating such urban green corridors is rather an obvious one in that sites of biodiversity need to be linked together and extended as failure to do so leaves isolated hotspots that can be encroached upon for the types of development already mentioned.

When referring specifically to Swindon we have a prime example of a biodiversity hotspot which is known as the Newburn Sidings, and immediately next to it is an existing designated LNR or local nature reserve at Rushey Platt, and without doubt they should form an urban green corridor to protect the well flora and fauna that is well established there.

It would thus make sense to extend the LNR to the Newburn Sidings to protect the rich habitat for future generations of our Town to enjoy.

However currently the Newburn Sidings have been acquired from network Rail, by a government quango type organisation which was set up to exploit what it terms as being brown field sites for housing development. The land in question has being taken over by wildlife since the 1989 closure of the Swindon railway workshops, and if anything has more in common to being a Greenfield site.

The site is not suitable for housing development because it sits on ‘made ground’ which contains many toxins and not least asbestos. There have been three previous attempts by would be at trying to mitigate the many problems surrounding the site which have failed, and the question should be asked as to why should the current proposal be any different.

Hasn’t enough urban wildlife habitat been sacrificed to developers already, and should not our green corridors be protected and sustained?

Graham Woodward

Nelson Street

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Slow on the uptake

A poll on the week ending 24/25 July revealed that the majority of the British public now think that Boris Johnson is dishonest, inconsistent and disorganised.

How come it's taken the majority of the British public so long to realise that this proven liar is unfit for the office of 10 Downing St?

Martin Webb

Victoria Road

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