Fringe Box



Letter: Local Planners Do Not Understand Biodiversity

Published on: 19 May, 2016
Updated on: 19 May, 2016
Proposed Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace, Russell Place Farm, Wood Street Village

Proposed Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace or ‘SANG’, Russell Place Farm, Wood Street Village. (Click to enlarge.)

From Chris Venables

Chris Venables BSc (Hons), is a chartered biologist (CBiol) and a member of the institute of biology (MIBiol).

In response to the article: Recreation and Leisure Choices Highlighted in Local Plan.

Regarding biodiversity, despite recent assertions it is quite clear that those putting together the Local Plan do not have a basic understanding of the concept of biodiversity or what contributes to it.

Take Russell Place Farm, for example. It is currently a biodiverse area, and that biodiversity has been moulded by agriculture over hundreds of years. The biodiversity extant at Russell Place Farm has formed and has been maintained by the grazing of cattle – a rare sight now in Surrey, let alone Guildford Borough.

emails letterGrazing cattle crop the sward encouraging less vigorous flora, and their droppings help maintain pH balance in the soil, and attract invertebrates. The invertebrates attract birds and small mammals and all three contribute to seed dispersal. Small mammals and birds attract predators. Predators droppings spread seeds. Foxes and badgers are omnivores, and attract invertebrates… and so on.

Biosystems continue in a cyclical manner becoming improvingly diverse with time – unless the cycle is broken. If the cattle are removed from Russell Place Farm and it is designated a SANG it will become less biodiverse and more akin to the 140 odd sterile golf courses we have in Surrey.


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