Edit on 1 May 2018: Medway Council have extended the consultation deadline to 25 June 2018. Please tell them today to Save Lodge Hill.
The battle to Save Lodge Hill is so important and has such far reaching consequences for wildlife that it has brought together the leading conservation charities with one voice.
The Wildlife Trusts, Woodland Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Buglife, Friends of the North Kent Marshes and Medway Countryside Forum are all fighting to #SaveLodgeHill for wildlife too. Together, our members and supporters have been taking action to help save this site, repeatedly asking Medway Council to find alternatives to building here, as the nation's planning rules say they should.
We need you to stand with us too, and speak out before 25 June 2018.
Lodge Hill was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because it is the most important site for nightingales in the whole of the UK. Its designation was also because it is home to other rare and threatened species too, including owls, reptiles, bats, ancient woodland and rare grassland. Purple emperor butterflies, another species with a limited range, were also rediscovered in the area last summer. Who knows what other secrets the site holds?
Chris Corrigan, Director, RSPB England
"Destroying Lodge Hill would not only be devastating for our nightingale population, but the ramifications of building on a legally protected site for wildlife extend far beyond that. This site received the highest UK designation possible for wildlife. To allocate it for development would set a worrying precedent for our other protected places, at a time where our UK wildlife is in severe trouble. In fact, the recent State of Nature report highlights that more than half of all wildlife in the UK has declined over the past 40 years. We need these protected places more than we ever have before."
Greg Hitchcock, Kent Wildlife Trust
"Lodge Hill is a nationally important wildlife site, and is designated as such. It is a fantastic asset in the nation’s natural heritage, and should be protected and looked after for future generations. Medway Council received the message loud and clear that there is a huge amount of opposition to destroying this nationally important area, both from within Medway and around the country, but their new local plan still included plans to build on the site. We need to shout louder to protect this vulnerable site and others like it."
Joan Darwell, Friends of the North Kent Marshes
“For us, the crux of the matter is that Lodge Hill Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is meant to be protected. The national planning guidance is clear - SSSIs are a last resort for development. We fought the airport campaigns on the basis that it would destroy sites of national and international importance. And Medway Council fought with us, shoulder to shoulder.
That's why we're so disappointed that the Council seems so determined to destroy Lodge Hill SSSI. It would actually be an own goal, for if they set this precedent and weaken the protection afforded to protected sites, we will all have less chance to save other protected places in future. And we all lose something that makes Medway special.
The bottom line is that if Lodge Hill isn't safe, nowhere is safe. Medway Council needs to come up with a Plan B for Lodge Hill, something that looks after the nightingales and offers something good for the people of Medway and beyond.”
If you haven’t already, please fill out and share our e-action, and help us win the fight to #SaveLodgeHill
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