Crayford Marshes, the last of the truest wild natural places left in Bexley, South East London which has the feeling of large open green space and big skies. This Metropolitan Green Belt land has red-listed Skylark and Corn Bunting living, feeding and breeding on the landfill amongst many other species. Walkers, cyclists, runners, bird watchers and visitors are free to enjoy the wildlife that surrounds them while they observe and relax in this peaceful environment.
Setting the scene:
Take a walk along Moat Lane and enjoy the feeling of going back in time to the 11th Century as you discover the Moat structured building which was owned by the half brother of William the Conqueror. To the west of the moat you will see the Tithe Barn believed to date back to the 16th Century.
Follow the path from Moat Lane, in spring/summer look out for small reptiles such as Common Lizard along the path while listening to Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Blackcaps as they dive in and out of the vegetation around you. Also in summer, Swallows, Swifts and House Martin zoom over the moat and the threatened fields across the lane chasing their insect food. Uncommon White-letter Hairstreak Butterflies occupy the Elm hedge here too. Autumn/Winter enjoy the Redwing and Fieldfare as they indulge in the plentiful berries that surround them.
Turn right towards the path along the landfill and in Spring/Summer be entranced by the Skylark calling and displaying in flight above and around you, look out and listen for the Corn Bunting while Kestrel hover from above and Green Woodpecker can be observed searching the green fields for ants nests.
The Planning Application
Unfortunately this large green area precious to both our wildlife and ourselves has come under threat. Roxhill Development Ltd have submitted plans to build a rail freight interchange on this site. Not only will it cause damage to the Green Belt and a substantial part of designated Site Of Importance for Nature Conservation, it will reduce habitat available to the remaining populations of certain red-listed birds species in Bexley, notably Skylarks and Corn Bunting. It will destroy 50% of the Crayford agricultural and landfill site of importance for nature conservation (SINC) – shown to be of London – level importance for invertebrate species – and around a quarter of what little is left of the Crayford Marshes as a whole. There are many other arguments against this planning application including flawed sustainability claims, scale, visual intrusion, as well as losing our mental health benefits of quiet, wide, open ‘countryside’ feel that the Crayford Marshes currently provides.
The flawed sustainability claim central to the applicant’s case is that it is a major project of ‘strategic’ importance that outweighs the amount of damage, and that this was the basis upon which the Secretary of State approved a previous version of the scheme, despite it being rejected by Bexley. We believe that ‘strategic ‘ must include helping to meet the goverment’s international treaty commitment to reduce UK resource consumption to sustainable levels by 2020 as well as its carbon emissions target. This application is not part of a coherent co-ordinated plan to do the former, instead it is about aiding the transport of even more goods around the globe, and since the object of government economic policy is in reality to continually increase net resource consumption, then any short term gains in reduced long-range HGV movements and CO2 emissions savings will be outweighed by the net HGV traffic growth predicted by The Department For Transport in the longer term.
Lines shown in the diagram delineate the affected area.
How you can help to save Crayford Marshes.
1. Sign our E-Petition which objects to this planning application – Save Crayford Marshes E-Petition
2. Write a formal objection to firstname.lastname@example.org outlining your concerns and telling the Council why you value the site using reference 15/02673/OUTEA