Bathampton Meadows Park & Ride – Avon Wildlife Trust calls on Council to ensure the best outcomes for Local Wildlife
Wednesday 25th January 2017
The B&NES Council meeting of 25th January 2017 will make a final decision about the site for a Park & Ride to serve Bath. Protesters are concerned that local green space will be degraded by the increased traffic and the visual impact of an expanse of parking for up to 1200 cars.
In 2009, Avon Wildlife Trust objected to the original planning application for the Park & Ride. Since then, three sites have been in consultation by B&NES Council, with two sites (B & F) now being recommended for progression.
However, Avon Wildlife Trust understands that at the meeting tonight B&NES Council will recommend site F as their preferred location for the Park & Ride. This site is immediately adjacent to Bathampton Meadows, which was created in 1996 to reduce flooding on the A46, as well as to provide a good quality habitat for migrant and water birds.
Since 1996, Bathampton Meadows, which includes a man-made wet-meadow with an ox-bow lake at its heart, has become home to a stunning range of wildlife – in particular migrant birds returning from their winter homes in sub-Saharan Africa. Regular migrant visitors include the hobby, winchat and yellow wagtail. Waders like dunlin, ringed and little plover and green and common sandpiper can be seen on the muddy margins of the lake in spring and autumn. And Sand martins and kingfishers are regularly spotted.
If the Park & Ride is to go ahead, Avon Wildlife Trust’s preference would be for site B – Land west of Mill Lane. This site has no risk of flooding, will have less of an impact on the river corridor and will not disturb the bird life on the existing Avon Wildlife Trust Bathampton Meadows Nature Reserve.
Both sites F and B are close to protected areas which include the Bath Bat Special Area of Conservation (SAC) 1.5km away. As a result of the water and the range of plants and grasses, many types of insect thrive on the Bathampton Meadows nature reserve. This provides a stepping stone site for the threatened bats to use to feed and travel through. However, on its own Bathampton Meadows is not enough to ensure the future for these bats. A healthy future for our local wildlife depends on connected landscapes which provide enough space for wildlife to move, breed and feed.
Both sites F and B also sit within a ‘B-Line’. B-Lines are corridors of land which are being managed for wildlife. Avon Wildlife Trust and our partner Buglife are working with farmers and landowners around Bath to help them manage their land for wildlife and to connect B-Line corridors to restore nature and protect the future for our natural world.
However, both sites B and F are situated on agricultural land and currently hold very little value for wildlife or biodiversity. Given their close proximity to a range of nearby protected sites for wildlife, Avon Wildlife Trust calls strongly on B&NES Council to ensure the best possible outcomes are achieved for local wildlife. Whatever the outcome of the meeting, Avon Wildlife Trust advocates that impacts of development are addressed through mitigation or compensation targeted to care for and improve connectivity across the region for wildlife, now and into the future.