- Last year over 12,000 people wrote to Medway Council to object to proposals that could see thousands of houses built at Lodge Hill, the most important site for nightingales in the UK
- With nightingale numbers in the UK declining by around 90% in the last 50 years Lodge Hill is hugely important to preventing the much-loved songbirds from disappearing from the UK completely
- Lodge Hill is already recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest specifically for its nightingales, and the latest plans could not only jeopardise the rare wildlife at Lodge Hill but threaten beauty spots and wildlife sanctuaries across the UK
This month Medway Council in Kent has responded to the 12,000 plus people that objected to Lodge Hill being made available for housing by publishing a new draft Local Plan that continues to designate land at and around Lodge Hill as being suitable for thousands of new houses.
The decision to include Lodge Hill flies in the face of national planning rules designed to protect important natural spaces, and the local authority’s own pledge to protect important wildlife sites, sparking concerns that other protected sites could be under threat.
Lodge Hill is recognised as the best site for nightingales in the UK and one of the last strongholds for the much-loved secretive songbird you may not see but will never forget hearing. The national population has declined by 90% in the last 50 years to just a few thousand pairs, with numbers still falling. The decline is so alarming that the nightingale is now listed among our most threatened birds. Unlike many songbirds, nightingales nest at ground level, and there are fewer and fewer sites available where they can safely rear young.