- The draft plans unveiled by Medway Council [16 January 2017] would help pave the way for at least 3000 new houses to be built on the Site of Special Scientific Interest at Lodge Hill.
- The plans threaten protected habitat the size of 200 football pitches, and would set a dangerous precedent for England's other wildlife sites.
- The much-loved nightingale, famed for its rich song, has declined nationally by 90% in the last 50 years; Lodge Hill is one of its last strongholds in the UK.
This week's proposal by Medway Council to allocate land at Lodge Hill within its draft Local Plan for the building of at least 3000 new houses flies in the face of national planning rules for protected wildlife sites. It would help pave the way for one of the largest ever losses of such a site in Britain, with 144 hectares wholly destroyed, about the same as 200 football pitches, plus wider indirect effects.
Lodge Hill in Kent is recognised as one of the last strongholds for nightingales in the UK. The national population has declined by 90% in the last 50 years, with numbers still falling. The decline is so alarming that the nightingale is now listed among our most threatened birds.