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  • CarolineShah

The end of life as we know it - The "London" Plan

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Sadiq Khan claims soaring visitor numbers will not harm Richmond Park

Last week I sent a letter to the Mayor of London, asking him to delay publication of the new London Plan while he commissions a new and thorough survey, and consults publicly, on whether the policies of that plan - including massive planned growth in residential and commercial properties in Kingston, Hounslow, Merton, Wandsworth and indeed all over London - are likely to cause significant harm to areas of nature that are legally-bound to receive protection

You can read my letter to the Mayor of London here

The Mayor accepts assertions that a huge increase in visitor numbers associated with London Plan development will not affect the protected habitats and species of Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common as well as other protected nature sites across and beyond London. He also accepts that a mitigation strategy for Epping Forest that had not at the time been agreed would be sufficient to prevent significant harm caused by people visiting this ancient forest

The Mayor rules out any adverse impacts from air pollution on Richmond Park or Wimbledon Common from London Plan policies despite evidence of existing poor air quality around both sites that would have an adverse impact on protected habitats

The Mayor also relies on a not-yet-agreed mitigation strategy for Epping Forest to reduce already high levels of pollution around Epping Forest and to justify massive development targets for local authorities all around the area, as well as for authorities outside of the Greater London Authority boundary. The rare moss, the Knothole Yoke Moss, lives on beech trees close to roads in Epping Forest, is extremely vulnerable to pollution and is meant to be protected by law against factors that might threaten its survival

In my letter, I asked the Mayor why he appear not to have followed the instructions of Natural England in regards to wording that they wanted to see incorporated in to the London Plan and its policies regarding Wimbledon Common, Richmond Park and Lee Valley SPA as well as specific protection from harm from tall buildings to areas that provide refuge to protected birds

I have gathered evidence from scientists in England, Europe and the USA about how recreational pressure and pollution can have a significant negative impact on features such as the ancient trees in Richmond Park and the fungi that form part of the veteran tree habitat, as well as on the stag beetle - the protected species in Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common that relies on the ancient tree habitat for its survival

You can read The Royal Parks' concerns about the future of Richmond Park here

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