When Natural England announce a new protected site, there has to be a consultation period. Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are, as the name suggests, given protection on scientific evidence. In this case the British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO's) National Nightingale Survey results and some of Natural England's own surveys of the grassland and woodland at Lodge Hill. Natural England's board will make a decision about whether to confirm the notification in the autumn. When the scientific evidence shows that a site is nationally important for a particular species or habitat, Natural England must protect it.
We're really pleased that Natural England have made Lodge Hill a SSSI, but sadly there's political opposition to their decision.
How you can help:
You can help to counteract some of this pressure by writing to Phil Williams at Natural England, who is in charge of the consultation) to let him know you support Natural England's decision to give Lodge Hill and its nightingales the special protection the science proves they deserve. The consultation closes on 9 August 2013, so make sure your letter or email arrives by then.
You can write to Phil Williams by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post at:
Kent Land Management Team
Kent, TN23 1HU
A couple of tips:
- Be polite and succinct – your letter is far more likely to be read if it's under one page of A4
- Make your point clear – in this case your support for the SSSI designation – and personal. Explain why protection for Lodge Hill and its nightingales matters to you, especially if you live in the area.
You can help us to track the progress of our campaign by sending copies of your email or letter to email@example.com or by post to Stephanie Landymore, Lodge Hill Campaign, FREEPOST ANG6335, The RSPB, UK Headquarters, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2BR.
Thank you for your support - your voice really does help make a difference.
If you'd like to see the official SSSI documents you can find them on Natural England's SSSI pages here.