Planning Applications

ASHRA's Response - Wildlife


Wildlife in, around and over this area is magnificent, even though the current development plans have instigated, and resulted in, many efforts to destroy or disrupt the natural habitat of so many animals.

Barton Willmore state in table 8.5 of their Environmental Statement that “no reptiles were found on the site during the survey”. Aspect Ecology Baseline Ecological Statement also states that they found no reptiles during their survey. This is very strange because, while they were carrying out the survey, one of the local residents who is a keen wildlife expert, spoke to the person carrying out the survey, and took her to see where the grass snakes and adders were. However, when these reports were published, those same grass snakes and adders were never found.

The residents of Ash and Tongham have been aware for the past 30 years + that there are a large number of bats roosting in some of the houses directly adjacent to the site, and also in the trees on the site. However, when reading the Planning Application and its various documents, there are a lot of contradictions when it comes to this protected animal. For instance in the Aspect Ecology Limited Baseline Ecological Assessment they state that the majority of the trees on the site are in good health. The trees provide a valuable habitat resource within the site. A number of trees exhibit features such as rot holes, cracks, splits, loose bark and Ivy cover, providing roosting opportunities for bats. They go on to say that certain trees are suitable for bat roosting, and they found 6 different types of bats which were mainly found near the tree lines on the site. They could not be certain if bats were roosting because their survey was carried out from ground level.

Bats are European Protected Species and as such it is an offence to deliberately disturb bats, or disturb bats while occupying a structure or place that is used for shelter or protection.

However, Barton Willmore, say in their Environmental Statement that “No bat roosts were identified within the site and as such, effects will be limited to commuting and foraging activity”. So they can tell from another companies report, from a survey carried out from the ground, that all six bat species found were not roosting but were only foraging and passing through. This is brilliant work.

Perhaps they should look at this photograph of a tree with several bat roosts in it. This was taken beside the main footpath on the site in August 2012.

They also state that the effects of 5 - 10 years of construction on the bats will be of "minor significance".

We are advised by residents that pipistrelle bats roost in No’s 2 and 3 Wandle Close, on the very edge of the site boundary. These have been visited by the Bat Conservation Trust. They say that other bats are extremely likely to be roosting in adjacent areas and fields.

Aspect Ecology Limited in their Baseline Ecological Assessment under Section 5.3.8 states that "Red listed" Cuckoo was recorded and "Amber listed" Kestrel and Nightingale.

If "red listed" birds were found, how can they, in Section 5.3.9 state that none of them were of any particular importance at a national level.

With regard to wildlife, Barton Willmore make some interesting comments in their Environmental Statements.

  • the branches of trees and shrubs. 107 doormouse nest tubes were deployed within the Application site, along the hedgerows, which were checked for evidence of use by doormice on a monthly basis. What actually happened in October 2011, after the boxes were inserted, was the land owner arranged to have the hedgerows decimated by a massive industrial hedge trimmer connected to a tractor, and consequently many of the boxes were damaged, and the mouse habitat was almost completely destroyed. As a consequence of this wanton destruction, Ash Residents Association asked GBC to put a Tree Preservation Order on the trees in order to stop further damage, which they did
  • Wildlife habitats to be retained will be fenced off to reduce disturbance effects from noise and lighting. And how are the bats, birds and mammals going to react to that
  • Under 6.3 they state that during demolition and construction there will be negligible residue effects on ecology and nature conservation. How can they build 400 houses with negligible effects on ecology and nature conservation? They are destroying a massive area of green-space and habitat

A well know local resident is a keen wildlife expert and he travels the fields daily. What follows are lists of the birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that he sees when walking the fields, footpaths and bridleways that criss-cross the area. Wildlife in area in the last 12 months (2012).


SpeciesQuantityPeriod viewed
Fox 1-2 Daily
Red Deer Up to 6 Almost daily
Shrew Numerous Daily Spring to Autumn
Vole Numerous Daily Spring to Autumn
Water Vole Occasional sightings Spring to Autumn
Grey Squirrel Numerous Daily
Field Mouse 1-2 Occasionally
Stoat (2 locations) 1-2 2-3 times/year
Weasel 1-2 2-3 times/year
Bat Noctule Numerous before dawn Daily Spring to Autumn
Bat Whiskered Numerous before dawn Daily Spring to Autumn
Bat Myotis Numerous before dawn Daily Spring to Autumn
Mole 4 locations Just the molehills


SpeciesQuantityPeriod viewed
Adder (2 locations) 1-2 During spring/summer
Slow Worm 1-2 Spring to Autumn
Grass Snake 1 (4 witnesses) 25/3/2012 at 15.20pm


SpeciesQuantityPeriod viewed
Canadian Geese Numerous Daily in flooded areas
Mallard Ducks 6-10 Spring in flooded areas. 4 breeding pairs sighted 23/04/2012 in flooded areas of centre field north of old railway track.
Red Kite 1 hunting above field Occasionally
Sparrow hawk 2-3 Daily
Kestrel 2-3 2-3 times/week
Buzzard 1 2-3 times/week
Tawny Owl 1 Before dawn occasionally
Wood Pigeon Numerous Daily
Magpie Numerous Daily
Carrion Crow Numerous Daily
Hooded Crow 5-6 Daily
Jay Numerous Daily
Starling 20-30 Daily spring to autumn
Cuckoo 2-3 Spring/summer
Wren Numerous Daily
Dunnock Groups of 30 - 50 Daily Spring/summer
House Sparrow 6-10 Daily
Long Tailed Tit Numerous Daily
Blue Tit 6-10 Daily
Great Tit 6-10 Daily
Marsh Tit 3-4 2-3 times/week
Bull Finch 1-2 2-3 times/week
Garden Warbler 1-2 Summer
Lesser Whitethroat 1-2 Summer
Chaffinch 1-2 Daily
Robin 5-7 Daily
Short Toed Tree Creeper 2 Occasionally
Green Woodpecker 4 - 5 Spring/summer
Black Woodpecker 2 Spring/summer
Great Spotted Woodpecker 3 - 4 Spring/summer
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 2 Spring
Blackbird 10-15 Daily
Swallow 10-15 Spring/summer
Swift Numerous Spring/summer
Mistle Thrush 5-10 Daily
Song Thrush 3-5 Daily
Fieldfare 10-15 February
Nightjar 1 28 & 29 June 2012 06.45am
Hen Pheasant 1 08/02/2012
Cock Pheasant 1 23/04/2012
Pied wagtail 3-5 Spring to Autumn
Chiffchaff 3-5 Spring to Autumn
Skylark 5-10 Spring to Autumn
Yellowhammer Pair 19/04/2012
Jackdaw 1 05/08/2012 @ 17.53pm (photo)

The list includes a number of birds on the RSPB's Red List of endangered species. They are:

House Sparrow
Marsh Tit
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Song Thrush

The swallow is amber listed


SpeciesQuantityPeriod viewed
Azure Dragonfly 1-2 Late spring/summer
Emporer Dragonfly 1-2 Late spring/summer
Brown Hawker Dragonfly 10-20 Summer in fields
Common Blue Damselfly 1-2 Late spring/summer
Emerald Damselfly 1-2 Late spring/summer


SpeciesQuantityPeriod viewed
Red Admiral Numerous Late spring/summer (photo)
Peacock 2-5 Late spring/summer (photo)
Small Tortoiseshell 2-5 Late spring/summer
Painted Lady 2-5 Late spring/summer
Meadow Brown Numerous Late spring/summer (photo)
Large Skipper 2-5 Late spring/summer
Holly Blue 2-5 Late spring/summer
Common Blue Numerous Late spring/summer
Small Blue Numerous Late spring/summer The Small Blue is a Priority Species for conservation due to the continued loss of habitat and resulting drop in population.
Gate Keeper 2-5 Late spring/summer (photo)
Pearl-bordered Fritillary 2-5 Late spring/summer
Brimstone 2-5 Late spring/summer
Ringlet 2-5 Late spring/summer (photo)
Speckled Wood 2-5 Late spring/summer (photo)
Small Skipper 2-5 Late spring/summer (photo)
Essex Skipper 2-5 Late spring/summer
Comma 2-5 Late spring/summer (photo)
Orange Tip 2-5 Late spring/summer (12/05/12)
Brown Hairstreak 2-5 Summer (22/07/2012) photo
Wood White 2-5 Late spring/summer (29/06/12) Conservation priority high
Cinnabar Moth 1 29/06/2012

The pink, frayed flowers of Ragged-Robin are an increasingly rare sight in the wild. Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture, the loss of ponds through development and the removal of wet woods, has resulted in the disappearance of many of the UK's wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected.

Ragged-Robin – Picture taken in field adjacent to Ash Lodge Drive to the East

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