Trust says wildlife will be harmed if new homes plan is given the go ahead

The county’s leading nature conservation charity says that important wildlife - including breeding birds, bats and other mammals - will be impacted if plans to erect more than 100 homes near Halfpenny Green in South Staffordshire are given the green light.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has sent an objection to South Staffordshire District Council regarding plans to create an 'airport village' at Wolverhampton Business Airport, at Bobbington, as part of efforts to regenerate the Crab Lane site. The proposal is close to the Trust’s Highgate Common nature reserve.

The charity’s planning team believes the plans should be refused due to lack of information on protected and priority species, a likely net loss of biodiversity, The airfield is thought to be of county significance for birds including lapwing and skylark, and is one of the last breeding sites in lowland Staffordshire for the declining curlew.

Kate Dewey, Senior Planning Officer for the Trust, said: “There would be an overall loss of semi-natural habitats on the site under the current proposals.

“This would appear to result in a net loss of biodiversity-  contrary to local planning policy which encourages enhancement of nature.

“The airfield is a key piece in the jigsaw of semi-natural habitats in the area, which connect and support nationally protected sites such as Highgate Common SSSI. A lot of the surrounding farmland is in stewardship schemes so landowners are managing with wildlife in mind. The airfield is secure from people and predators so that is perhaps why we see so many birds here.

“The proposals would extend into the open grassland on the site and this could be critical to the bird species that breed there.”