Have you ever heard a nightingale Mr Pickles? It’s absolute magic, that such a tiny bird can utter such a sweet song. It is totally idyllic. But it is a very rare treat nowadays; so many of their habitats have been destroyed. If Lodge Hill too is destroyed the nightingale’s song will be an even rarer event. What’s more, it would give the green light to developers that nature doesn’t count, that a designation as site of special scientific interest is meaningless. It must not happen.
These were my closing words on the letter prepared by the RSPB for objectors to send to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. This is the last chance to save Lodge Hill and its nightingales. You can write to Pickles here.
As the RSPB explains on its website, Lodge Hill, former Ministry of Defence land on the Hoo Peninsular, Medway, is a rare and important site for nightingales. It’s a designated site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and so of course it should be safe. But the philistine Medway Council has given outline planning permission for 5,000 houses here, trashing the site and its nightingales.
There’s still hope though. Because the development would conflict with the government’s national planning policy to protect SSSIs, the decision must be referred to the secretary of state who can choose to call it in and hold a public inquiry. It’s vital that he does.
My nightingale experience was unforgettable (see blog). I just hope that Pickles too has had such good fortune and knows that nightingales really matter.