Wildlife enthusiasts warn that Wigan beauty spots are under threat

Pennington Flash
Pennington Flash

Campaigners are urging nature lovers to speak out and protect the futures of Wigan Flashes and other green havens across the borough.

Wildlife enthusiasts fear that the future of the Wigan nature reserve, and the likes of Pennington Flash, Abram Flash and Highfield Moss, could be under threat as the government undertakes a planning review.

Highfield Moss

Highfield Moss

And Lancashire Wildlife Trust, which has a base in Worsley Mesnes Drive, is urging Wiganers to make their views known to the Department of Communities and Local Government before a deadline this week.

Trust staff have been instrumental in attempts to reverse the effects of increasing development and intensive farming, to reverse declines in the populations of birds like the willow tit, which nests in Wigan, twites and birds of prey.

One of the proposals, as Whitehall considers revisions to the national planning policy framework, is to remove the automatic protection which nature reserves currently enjoy.

Alan Wright, the trust’s campaigns manager, said: “Whether this is one or two houses at the end of the road, or a major 5,000 house development, these rules will shape the future of housing.

“It sets out the way that different kinds of development should be located, designed and built, and what schools, shops and other services are needed.

“About 36 square miles of land are used by new developments every year in the UK, so the outcome of this consultation is hugely important for wildlife.”

Another major worry for the trust is a second government consultation, this time on farming subsidies. This is also expected to have an impact on how land management rules are set.

Mr Wright added: “If we are to secure nature’s recovery we need a revolution in the way that we manage our farmland.

“What works for wildlife will be good for people, too. Farmers need healthy soils and huge populations of pollinators, like bees, to grow crops.

We need clean, healthy water running into our rivers. We need a wildlife-rich countryside to spend time in, and feel happier and healthier as a consequence.”

Not only is the trust lobbying for protection for wildlife sites, and calling for vital habitats to be integrated into new developments, but they are looking for the state to reward farmers and land managers for promoting healthy soils and clean water