Haringey Council has approved an updated version of the Haringey Climate Change Action Plan (HCCAP) at https://www.minutes.haringey.gov.uk/documents/s122307/CCAP%20-%20Appendix%201.pdf This includes a new Biodiversity section shown below in the pink stripe.
In effect this is Haringey declaring an Ecological Emergency. Haringey Council is drafting a new Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) to help save and enhance our local wildlife. That will be consulted on this summer and we will encourage people to get involved in it.
Quentin Given’s thoughts on the plan:
We want to see that plan make a real difference, and to do that we want to know what we’ve lost and could maybe recover. Conservationists talk about “Shifting Baseline Syndrome” where we don’t realise how much nature has declined because we compare it over short timespans and lose sight of what has declined over longer time periods. So as part of our contribution we want to draw up a picture of what has declined and disappeared in Haringey over decades at least.
We are inviting people to send us their observations of change, whether quantitative or anecdotal. Here’s my own brief summary.
People have different views about non-native wildlife, but if they aren’t causing a problem for native species, I welcome them. In the last 30 years that I have been noticing wildlife in and around my home in Tottenham, next to the Walthamstow Reservoirs, I have seen a few arrivals: Ring-necked Parakeets, Little Egrets (and Great White Egrets this year!), Cetti’s Warblers and Shelducks all add to the colour and sound of our area. Buzzards and Red Kites are seen more often, and Peregrine Falcons are now regular.
But I miss the things we have lost, too. When I started bird-watching around 1990, Short-eared Owls were regular winter visitors to Tottenham Marshes, Long-eared Owls roosted in trees along quiet channels behind The Paddock, and Hen Harriers sometimes visited too.
Meadow Pipits nested on the marshes, and Yellow Wagtails around the reservoir banks. Just down the River Lea at Springfield Marina, there was a colony of Tree Sparrows. Spotted Flycatchers nested in Bruce Castle and Downhills Park. House Martins nested under the eaves of houses in South Tottenham.
All these are long gone, though Meadow Pipits do visit in winter, and Yellow Wagtails and Spotted Flycatchers pass through on migration.
Further west, summer nights around the Hornsey Reservoirs were filled with Daubenton’s and Pipistrelle bats feeding on insects over the filter-beds, by day replaced by House Martins that nested in nearby houses.
While birds might be the most visible absence, it’s insects too. Being next to the river, we used to get many kinds of moths at our windows and around the street lights. Now we get barely any.
Much of this loss is due to national and international factors – climate change, the use of lethal pesticides on farmland, the slaughter of Hen Harriers on grouse moors, and so on. But some of it is due to local loss of habitat – we lost 10% of Tottenham Marshes to the building of A1055 Watermead Way, for example.
In the meantime, please tell us what you’ve noticed, both gains and losses, and any ideas you have for improving things, and we will feed that into the BAP process. E-mail me at Quentin.firstname.lastname@example.org and our group will collate your info.