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Why we need to stop the London Plan

3. Richmond Park's ancient woodland habitat will be destroyed and the stag beetle will risk extinction in England

More people in places like Richmond Park also increases the presence of corvids, such as rooks and crows, which are the main predators of the stag beetle. More demolition and construction and more people living around protected habitats also means more pollution. Pollution is proven to be harmful to the fungi on which ancient trees rely to maintain their root strength

All London boroughs will also be required to allow redevelopment of what are called "small sites" which includes people's existing homes and gardens, where the existing buildings will be demolished and the whole site - including the garden - will be built upon

Stag beetles are frequently found in people's gardens, having laid their eggs in dead wood or tree stumps that have been left in situ

We must keep acting to protect our ancient habitats and species from the London Plan

The Inspectors of the London Plan also accepted that the London Plan met legal requirements to show that the plan will not have an adverse impact on protected habitats and species in places like Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common, Epping Forest, Lee Valley and South West London Waterbodies

However, Natural England have told me that their conclusions are based on informal opinion and are not supported by a formal decision-making process

Spring Richmond Park 2020.jpg

Natural England, the natural conservation body for England, has said that is is "satisfied" that development across Greater London on a scale that has never been seen before will not have an adverse impact on the protected ancient woodland habitats of Richmond Park or on the stag beetle, the protected species in Richmond Park. This is despite the fact that the London Plan includes policies that will double the population of Kingston and build a city of offices bordering Richmond Park in a borough that has almost no public open green space of its own






We must not accept a plan that could cause permanent destruction of protected habitats and species on this basis especially when expert and scientific evidence and opinion is available that undermines both Natural England and the Inspectors' conclusions

We need to take the London Plan to judicial review in order to find out whether the assessment of the effect of massive development on protected habitats and species across London does not meet legal requirements

The soaring populations planned all around London's most special places for nature, where there will be no other meaningful or quality green spaces for people to go, will threaten their survival and that of the species that depend on them


How will the stag beetle survive increased threats from disturbance, killing and trampling from a mass onslaught of people?


How will the ancient woodland habitat on which the stag beetle depends survive damage and destruction from root compaction, removal of dead wood and people using veteran and ancient trees as climbing frames and for other recreational activities?

















These precious micro-habitats will be destroyed when these sites are sold for redevelopment with the result that the stag beetle's habitats will become too fragmented and isolated for it to survive in the long-term outside of larger, protected habitats which will themselves eventually be exhausted


This could easily lead in the long term to the inevitable extinction of the stag beetle in Greater London, which is the largest area in which this ancient creature now survives in England


The only other two areas where it has a significant presence are the south coast and Suffolk. You can see a map of the 2019 distribution of reported sightings of the stag beetle here*












*Please be aware that these figures from public reporting of sightings and not from observation based on scientific methods. Sightings in 2019 are likely to be much higher than normal given people being at home during the Covid-19 lockdown and are likely to include the same stag beetle being reported several times


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