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Avon Valley development will "irrevocably harm wildlife", claims WLT

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Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is opposing a proposed development in the Avon Valley – an internationally protected area – on the grounds the project will damage local wildlife.

The project would see 143 homes constructed on the c11ha site which is located approximately 22km south of Salisbury. The application also incorporates areas of public open space, including a 4.13ha suitable alternative natural greenspace (SANG), landscaping and sustainable drainage systems.

The site is located in the heart of the Blashford Lakes complex, which forms part of the Avon Valley Ramsar, SPA and the Avon Valley SSSI. According to the trust, the site formerly supported breeding little ringed plover and northern lapwing. Furthermore, a 2018 breeding bird survey recorded 52 species on the sites, 20 of which were considered notable.

However, a number of measures, designed to reduce any impacts on birds, have been outlined in a biodiversity, mitigation and enhancement plan submitted as part of the project’s planning application.

Measures such as the creation of Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) and retention of boundary features will help avoid impacting nesting birds. Enhanced nesting opportunities will also be created by installing a range of nesting boxes.

Despite these measures, the trust believes the application should be refused.

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