Have your say on new Local Nature Reserve plans
People and local interest groups are being encouraged to have their say on the proposal to give the site the status that will help to manage and enhance its special features.
Local Nature Reserves are places with wildlife or geological features that are of special interest locally. They offer people special opportunities to study or learn about nature or simply to enjoy it and are actively managed to care for the natural features that make the site special.
Basingstoke and Deane currently has nine Local Nature Reserves – with Beggarwood Park and Wigmore Heath in Tadley being the last two that were declared.
In support of the borough council’s ecological emergency declaration, a number of potential sites have been reviewed within the borough. It takes around 18 months to declare a site a local nature reserve and Crabtree and Black Dam Ponds is being considered because of its chalk grassland, wetland and woodland habitats and their importance to the local community. It excludes any areas such as play areas and car parks on the site.
Working with Natural England, the borough council will be seeking the views of local people and interest groups as part of a consultation that will start on Monday 4 April and people have until Monday 16 May 2022 to have their say. Local residents will be contacted by letter and views can be given online at www.basingstoke.gov.uk/crabtree-black-dam-ponds-lnr-consult alternatively paper copies can be requested by calling 01256 844844.
If the site is declared a Local Nature Reserve people will still be able to use the site as normal for activities such as dog walking, running, cycling. Further involvement would be encouraged through volunteering in the site’s management and by encouraging the use of the site as an educational resource.
Cabinet Member for the Natural Environment and Climate Improvement Cllr Mark Ruffell said: “As a borough we have declared an ecological emergency ensuring the natural environment is a priority for us as a council and we are working hard with our communities to protect areas for habitat restoration and biodiversity gain.
“We already have nine Local Nature Reserves and have been exploring sites in the borough from an approved prioritised list to expand on this. We have identified Crabtree and Black Dam Ponds as a potential site and are now seeking the views of our residents and local interest groups on whether this should be taken forward as a new site of special interest.”