More than 25,000 people have now signed a petition to save Warren Farm Nature Reserve and keep it for nature use only. The campaign received a boost following its appearance on Chris Packham’s new YouTube wildlife magazine show, 8 Out Of 10 Bats (Episode 5) which featured Ealing’s local bats.
The campaign seeks to save a quarter of London’s breeding Skylark population along with other endangered plant, insect and mammal species who call Warren Farm Nature Reserve home from Ealing Council’s plans to redevelop the land into a large sports facility.
Kabir Kaul who appeared on the show and is a Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaigner and special advisor to the Brent River & Canal Society (BRCS) said: “Ealing Council plan to build sports pitches here, effectively dewilding the entire meadow. Because of the disastrous plans of the council, the future of wildlife here hangs very delicately in the balance, and if the plans were to go ahead, I don’t think future generations would forgive them for it.”
BRCS trustee and Warren Farm Nature Reserve Campaign organiser Katie Boyles also appeared and said: “A quarter of London’s skylark population nest here, and part of that is because of the sheer expanse of the site, so there are no trees or hedges or fencing for predators to perch on. The wildflower meadow we have here is basically a free restaurant with an amazing menu and if I was a Skylark, I would live here too.”
Ms Boyles further commented on the future of Warren Farm: “Let’s say when we get Local Nature Reserve designation, that will give a certain protected future for all of the wildlife that lives here, for our Barn Owls, our Hedgehogs, our Skylarks, our rare plants, for the wildlife and the community that has fallen in love with this place.”
In his response to the show, BRCS Trustee Steven Toft said: “The Warren Farm Nature Reserve Campaign and the Brent River & Canal Society are extremely grateful to our special adviser Kabir Kaul, Chris Packham and the entire 8 Out Of 10 Bats team for featuring our campaign. Spreading awareness of our meadow’s high ecological value gives our community, and the wildlife under threat, a much needed voice at a time of climate crisis and in one of the most nature depleted countries in the world.”
Following the show, the campaign gained a boost with more than 25,000 people now signing its petition.
Ms Boyles added: “Our Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign exists to safeguard our vulnerable wildlife under threat of development and to give people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities access to nature now and in the future. Our meadow has had 15 years to rewild with amazing results! We are regularly finding and recording new species as our land continues to boost biodiversity in Ealing.
“We’re delighted to share for example, recently one of our team, young naturalist Daniel Brasier, has spotted and recorded 101 different bird species on Warren Farm Nature Reserve this year. An amazing achievement. Our petition reaching 25,000 supporters tells Ealing Council loud and clear the strength of feeling and support our Skylarks have, it is time for our entire meadow to receive Local Nature Reserve designation. We want to give a huge thank you everyone who has signed and shared our petition, which is also open to young people from the age of 16 to sign, together we can make it happen.”
In a previous statement, an Ealing Council spokesperson told EALING.NEWS: “As part of Ealing Council’s plans to declare almost two thirds of Warren Farm Playing Fields as a local nature reserve and the remaining third for cricket and football pitches, we agreed to undertake an ecological survey of the site and this is currently being commissioned. When this is complete we will review the results and take this into account in the next stage of our plans for Warren Farm.”
For more information on the petition and to sign it, click here.