Biodiversity on Royal Miltary Canal has increased for last 15 years

Twelve years prior to declaring a Climate & Ecological Emergency, in 2019, Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Cabinet [then known as Shepway Distrct Council], signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change. The Cabinet on the 20 Jun 2007 voted six for, two against and no abstentions.

Signing up to the Nottingham Declaration meant our Council had to develop plans with their partners and local communities to progressively address the causes and impacts of climate change, according to local priorities, securing maximum benefit for our communities.

On the 6 August 2008 Councillor David Drury Monk, then District Secretary for Finance signs off on Report Number C-08-22 The Legal Officer’s comment in the report states:

  • Public bodies must have regard to biodiversity when exercising its functions.

The Report makes clear Local authorities in England and Wales have a  duty to conserve biodiversity as per Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006, where:

  • “Every public body must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity.”

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth, and includes all species of plants and animals and the habitats that support them. Biodiversity describes our natural wealth, which makes up the living landscape around us, sustains ecological systems and enhances our quality of life. Given its enormous benefits, our duty to conserve biodiversity is unquestionable.

Biodiversity can contribute to:

  • climate change adaptation and mitigation

  • pollution control and air, water and soil quality

  • stronger communities, learning, health and well-being

  • stronger local economies

  • local character and distinctiveness

There are those from the wild about princes parade group who are deeply concerned about the wildlife on Princes Parade.

Are their concerns misplaced?

According to a presentation given behind closed doors, to the Climate & Ecological Working Group, chaired by Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Lesy Whybrow (Green), the reports states:

  • The Royal Military Canal [of which Princes Parade is a small part] has been managed to increase the species count for the last 15 years. A biological survey will be carried out this season to show the results of this management programme. The GM teams have been closely working with the BumbleBee and Butterfly and Moths Trusts and spent many volunteering hours planting moths, butterfly and bumble bee friendly habitat.

The Council’s Carbon Action Plan adopted by Cabinet on 24th February 2021 makes it clear the council will use the land it owns to increase biodiversity and carry out tree planting where appropriate; Both will require more research.

With regards to Princes Parade the council state:

  • We are committed to creating new habitats for wildlife and there will be new accessible parkland plus a series of open spaces throughout the development further enhancing the setting of the Royal Military Canal for all to enjoy.

  • We appreciate the importance of natural public spaces for people to experience – both for their physical and mental health – and this development will ensure that the enjoyment of these areas is more accessible to everyone who visits Princes Parade in the future.

The Council’s Places and Policies Local Plan 2020 adopted on the 16 September 2020 sets out its Biodiversity principles in policy NE2.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes it clear at , Para 170(d) and Para 175(d) there must be a Net Biodiversity Gain but the NPPF does not specify a number/percentage for the gain.  The latest update to the forthcoming Environment Bill includes a requirement for all future schemes including the development of land to deliver a mandatory 10 % biodiversity net gain.  This net gain will be required to be maintained for a period of at least 30 years. Our concern is where the money will come from to monitor this.

Wild About Princes Parade want to “highlight what has and will happen to nature as part of the [Princes Parade] development”.

Member Mark Brophy said: “Mother Nature is mourning the death of the trees which have been felled unnecessarily by the council.

She is accompanied by the animals of Princes Parade who will be evicted if the development goes ahead and are currently being disturbed by the investigation work that is the first stage of the scheme. There are small crosses with words like “bye-bye blackbird” and “poor little sparrow evicted” representing the birds that are no longer able to use the trees or may have perished due to the disturbance by heavy machinery.”Mark Brophy,

As worthy as the words and  actions of  Mr Brophy (pictured) and the  Wild About Princes Parade group are, it would appear they are misplaced. The wildlife from Princes Parade will, according to the Council be rehomed on the North Bank of the canal. This will mean the Canal will not lose any animals.

Let’s not forget the report signed off by the Climate & Ecological Working Group, chaired by Cabinet Member for the Environment Cllr Lesley Whybrow (Green)

  • “The Royal Military Canal [of which Princes Parade is a small part] has been managed to increase the species count for the last 15 years.”

The biodiversity increase coincides with the council signing the Nottingham Declaration in 2007, and the 2008 Report Number C/08/22

If, Mr Brophy and his friends, who belong to the Wild about Princes Parade group, can’t believe the reports signed off by Cabinet Member Cllr Lesley Whybrow working group in 2020, and Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr David Monk in 2008, what is the world coming to when they, and perhaps you, can’t believe a word a Cabinet Member of our Council says.

The Shepway Vox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

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6 Comments on Biodiversity on Royal Miltary Canal has increased for last 15 years

  1. So this begs the question what the Cabinet Member of the Environment has been doing for the last two years ,when what she and her group wanted has already been done. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, which is exactly what the Greens and our Council have done.

  2. The idea that you can re-home wildlife from one side of the canal to the other shows a complete lack of understanding of habitat, wildlife and territorial boundaries that all animals and birds coexist under. Wildlife and territorial boundaries and food levels will already exist on the north side. You cannot simply dump wildlife from one side onto the other. The lack of understanding and ignorance by those making these decisions is very sad.

    • shepwayvox // April 10, 2021 at 10:34 // Reply

      It would appear the scientist would disagree as the council did seek advice on this.

  3. The Greens and those affiliated to them are trying to generate a moral panic about Princes Parade.

    It’s clear none of them have done there homework on researching the facts. And it is clear the ecologists state biodiversity and species along the canal, and elsewhere in the district, have increased.

    So all the Greens and those affiliated to them are doing, is manipulating the facts for their own ends.

    Is there an election coming up…

  4. WTF! Cllr L Whybrow has received £16,000 for the last 14 months to duplicate work that’s already been done back in 2007 and 2008!

    There is no doubt our environment is important but for the Greens, who are a “protest vote”, really do have one thing and one thing only in mind – Save Princes Parade.

    Admirable as that is, they have thrown Otterpool Park under the bus by doing a u-turn on this development.

    They are cherry pickers and any one who votes for them imho, are missing the bigger picture, as somebody else has said – It’s not all about Princes Parade, our district has more areas which need protecting than just that space.

  5. So the Greens have tried to re-invent the wheel then.


    Next they’ll be telling all men they’re under curfew from 6pm onwards…

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