Memorandum by Steven Jones Esq (FP 11)
REVIEW DEVELOPMENT ON FLOODPLAINS
My concern has been heightened by recent eventsthat
is the heavy rainfall over the last three monthsAylesbury
like many other low lying valley communities is no stranger to
flooding, all be it on a smaller scale than some.
Aylesbury is a strategic town and as such has
been put under tremendous pressure to take the bulk of the housing
development that is deemed to be necessary over the next 10 years
in the County. In this respect Aylesbury is like many other towns
throughout Britain. Land on its periphery is under pressure.
During the recent heavy rains the Bearbrook
filled to capacity and indeed flooded small parts of the town.
This stream forms part of the River Thame catchment which in turn
forms part of the Thames catchment area. The River Thame is renowned
for flooding. The Bearbrook also caused problems in the past until
a flood alleviation scheme was constructed during 1996 at Broughton.
The Environmental Agency policy for flooding agricultural land
to protect property worked well on this occasionlarge tracts
of the Broughton floodplain were sodden and under standing waterindeed
still are two weeks later. Fields soak up water and release it
slowly. As a result Aylesbury's population remained dry, as did
most of the communities down stream.
One can only imagine the effect that building
on or near this floodplain would have. Consequences are well known
from experiences in other parts of the Country.
A further concern to me is the effect the proposed
scheme would have on wildlife. Inadvertently the flood alleviation
scheme has become a haven for wildlife. The Broughton areaalthough
within close proximity to the town centre is home to many threatened
species of birds, mammals and amphibia. It is also rich in plant
life and is home to many species of butterfly and moths.
There are several species of birds
on the British Trust for Ornithology Red List of Conservation
Concern, breeding regularly at Broughton. These include Grey Partridge,
Skylark, Song Thrush, Linnet, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer.
The area is also an important local wintering site for Lapwing,
Golden Plover, Snipe and Jack Snipe.
Mammals include the threatened Brown
Hare and Water Vole as well as Weasel, Stoat and one of the largest
Badger sets in the area. The rare Daubentons Bat can also be found.
Great Crested Newts are found in
some of the pools in the area.
The area is one of the most important
sites in the Country for rare Black Poplars.
To lose all this wildlife in an area accessible
and used by many in the town would be tragic. Set in an agricultural
area most of the surrounding area is not easily accessibleBroughton
on the other hand should be seen as a valuable local areathe
mass development of the site would be criminal.
My concern for the wildlife at Broughton is
intensified by the fact that the ecological research by outside
consultants was poorindeed they failed to recognise one
of Buckinghamshire's largest Badger Sets.
I can only hope that our Local Authority takes
heed of the concern for Development on floodplains and the damage
it may do to wildlife. The Local Plan is yet to be set in stone
so it is not too late to review development proposals for the
17 November 2000