Monday, 22 February 2016

Future of Salford Priors Gravel Pits / Marsh Farm

Our regular Peregrine 
Main pit Summer 2015
The local area superstars

Restoration now in full swing including removal of bunds
The reed bed lagoon looking superb is is its last days

Salford Priors Gravel Pits, also known as Marsh Farm, will be restored for agricultural use as per the original planning document written many years ago. Wildlife has blossomed at the site since it was mothballed however many of the great areas of habitat will no longer be there by the end of 2016 and the restoration is now on a tight project plan. The land remains in the ownership of Ragley Estates so there is very little that can be done to preserve these areas.

West Midlands Bird Club would have been very interested in securing the site on a long term lease from Ragley sadly they were not interested in sitting down to discuss options. I must thank Jim Winsper for his superb efforts. 

Given this I continued in my efforts with RSPB's head of Business Conservation Partnerships, Sam Tarrant to arrange a meeting with the key interested parties to ensure CEMEX understand the importance of some areas for the Turtle Dove after an area was ruined in previous months. 

We initiated a meeting at The Broom Tavern with Sam Tarrant & Jenny Oldroyd from RSPB, two representatives from CEMEX including restoration manager, Jim Winsper (West Midlands Bird Club), Biodiversity Manager from Warwickshire County Council, Jon Bowley, Chris Lane and myself.

When land is restored from gravel pits, land returned for wildlife if generally around 10%, this scheme is around 15% so given this and the land ownership problem the below points are probably the best we could have hoped for.

Turtle Dove habitat to be protected as discussed in the meeting. TD forage mix to be sewn in key areas to support the species for next five years.

Water pits to remain are both south pits, central east and the main pit. All other areas will be restored for agricultural use. 

CEMEX will make every effort to install a Sand Martin bank on the Western boundary near the old working & main pit.

All bunds will be removed.

The old right of way patch will be re-installed when the restoration is completed.

CEMEX and RSPB couldn't have been more helpful and listened to every request although there was limited scope of what they could pursue. It is hoped given time we can establish a working arrangement with Ragley for access so we can continue to record wildlife in this area after CEMEX move away from the site completely in 2021. 

There are plans for future pits in the nearby area that are in the public domain for consultation. Whilst there are many downsides for the villagers if the new pits do go ahead there may be some new habitat created. The areas identified do hold an extensive list of existing species. 

No comments:

Post a Comment