Local Wildlife Under Threat

‘Wild West End’ Scheme To Tackle Decline

A new scheme is being launched in Wingrove and Arthur’s Hill to help stem the loss of wildlife in the area.

The two year ‘Wild West End’ initiative will focus on ‘at risk’ species such as bats, swifts, housemartins and hedgehogs.

Numbers, health and distribution of these species are poorly understood, says Greening Wingrove and Arthur’s Hill chair, Nigel Todd.

“Although there are occasional local sightings, official records indicate only eight appearances of hedgehogs since 2005 and six of swifts after 2009.”

Bats too are under threat, he says, with local bat flight paths and nesting disrupted by new building developments on Richardson Road in Spital Tongues, and by the destruction of the 126 year-old allotments on Brighton Grove and mature trees on the site.

“Wild West End will survey and record the wildlife population so that we understand more of what is happening around us.

“There’ll be plenty of opportunities for the wider community and schools to be involved, especially in small-scale habitat improvements to strengthen bird and hedgehog numbers, with new bird and bat boxes and hedgehog corridors. One outcome will be the better management of the natural heritage in our urban environment.”

The project has the backing of local Member of Parliament Chi Onwurah. “It is intended to offer opportunities to participate for people from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds”, she commented. “The skills and experience gained could be a valuable way of enriching our community life and bringing together residents and young people from many different cultural traditions and heritage.”

The scheme will be managed by the Greening Wingrove & Arthur’s Hill Community Interest Company (CIC), with financial support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The CIC is currently in the process of recruiting a project officer to oversee the work, with applications closing last week.