Those Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows present at a meeting in November 2018 agreed that “we do not wish to be involved in any mitigation where we consider the proposals inadequate, inappropriate or under-funded.”
As the approved planning application stands the proposals are exactly that and there is nothing in any of the documents about how the remaining parts of the site will be managed and funded into the future.
On that basis the Friends again met in October 2019, following the Planning Committee approval, and knowing that the Environment Agency (EA) cost/benefit analysis is barely viable (that being given as the reason why they have ignored alternative construction methodologies and routes) we are confirmed in the view that the EA are not to be trusted in the delivery of a full and long-term mitigation as they have neither the will, ability, knowledge or budget to deliver it after damaging what will be hectares of historic SSSI.
We will not engage with substandard mitigation in order to burnish the EA’s public image. We made a clear offer to work with them on the mitigation if we were satisfied with the method and they chose to ignore this.
The Friends will carry on superficially maintaining, as necessary, those parts of the site presumed to be unaffected by works until such time as the EA commence work and the Environmental Stewardship is cancelled under force majeure. There was no wish to ask volunteers to expend further effort after the EA had ignored nearly 30 years of work.
It was also agreed that the Friends were unwilling to take any part in the ‘advisory’ board as this would have no control over ensuring the site was mitigated, restored to previous condition or looked after until such time as it was.