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Warren Farm campaigners raise concern over possible sporting plan development for nature reserve and call it a “Biodiversity Net Loss”

Campaigners to keep Southall’s Warren Farm as nature intended by being a nature reserve and not have it built on have voiced concern that Ealing Council is still looking to develop the green wildlife area into having a cricket playing facility which could destroy the natural habitat and the wildlife ecosystem that is there. 

The plan by the council comes as more than 12,500 people have signed a petition to safeguard Warren Farm with full Local Nature Reserve designation.

The Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign has reviewed a council document, ‘Indoor and Outdoor Sports Facility Strategy and Action Plan 2022–2031′ released last week (13 July 2022) in which Ealing Council says that while football provision could be better achieved elsewhere, it suggests that Warren Farm could be used for cricket and a “compact outdoor sports facility” could be developed on the site.

Katie Boyles, trustee of the Brent River & Canal Society and Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign organiser said: “Our reaction to this report is mixed. It is encouraging to see the council’s sports strategy acknowledging the Climate Emergency and the need for a Nature Reserve at Warren Farm. The comments rejecting football, if adhered to by the council, will put our supporters’ minds at rest, especially given the recent noise about a potential football stadium and pitches being developed here. This would, as we saw during the recent local elections, be politically controversial if ever given the go-ahead. The suggestion that Warren Farm could instead be used for cricket is as concerning.”

Ms Boyles added: “Any loss of our wildflower meadow is not compatible with our position that Warren Farm and the surrounding Brent River Park Meadows should remain a rewilded community asset. Ealing Council leader, Peter Mason has publicly stated that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of the site will be Warren Farm Nature Reserve and so we will, of course, need to examine the council’s detailed proposal and continue discussions. Today, Warren Farm is a Nature Reserve in all respects, it now just needs Ealing Council to give it official legal designation. Our 12,500 petition supporters want to see Warren Farm safeguarded with Local Nature Reserve designation in its entirety. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

Fellow Brent River & Canal Society Trustee and Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign officer, Steven Toft said the move by Ealing Council would make it a “Biodiversity Net Loss”.

“Ealing Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. The UK is witnessing biodiversity loss at an alarming rate and the government will require councils to show a Biodiversity Net Gain,” he said. “We do not believe these targets will be achievable if any of Warren Farm’s species-rich meadow habitat is used for sport or developed in any other way. If your objective is Biodiversity Net Gain it makes no sense to start with Biodiversity Net Loss. Local Nature Reserve designation for Warren Farm NR will safeguard and significantly contribute towards Biodiversity Net Gain while also allowing lots of people of all different ages, backgrounds and abilities to partake in regular, moderate exercise at no personal financial cost.”

For more information on Warren Farm Nature Reserve, click here.

Ealing Council were contacted by EALING.NEWS by phone and email for comment.

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