Friday, 8 November 2013

A thought for the trees

The trees don't feature on Aggregate Industries' plans for Straitgate - they are just something else to strip away before any quarrying can begin. They do however feature prominently on the landscape. The photograph above shows just some of the trees that would be lost, some of the farmland that would be lost, and some of the hedgerows that would be lost if AI had its way. Here's another view:

The trees also feature in the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre report of 2001:
Straitgate Farm… contains a large number of mature 'veteran' oaks... Old trees, because of their age and rarity, create a diversity of microhabitats supporting a range of species, including many invertebrates, fungi, epiphytes and lichens. Several of these are specialist species and consequently rare… Holes in rotting wood are also good as roost sites for bats. The fact that there are several of these trees in a small area increases their conservation value, as they provide more niches and habitats for specialist species.
By our reckoning, at least 11 substantial mature trees would need to be felled by AI. Another 7 veteran oaks would be at risk by being in an area AI think fit to use for the dumping of soils and overburden.

The ancient oaks and hedgerows provide habitats for European Protected Species, bats and dormice. And since dormice act as an important ‘bio indicator’, "preferring to live in rich, well managed native woodland with a mix of species for seasonal food - its presence is a marker of woodland rich for many species of wildlife", it wouldn't be just the trees that would be lost.

"Trust us", AI would argue, "your rich and ancient wildlife habitats are in safe hands. We, and our industry, protect and enhance biodiversity throughout the country."