Thanks to Judi for keeping us supplied with photographs of the Meadows as she carries out her permitted exercise. Above is the Oak tree at the pinch point on the cycle track that may or may not survive the Barrier Bank upgrade – it didn’t in the plans, but they were being changed after planning permission was granted!
Below is some is some of the Garlic Mustard (aka Jack-by-the-Hedge) that is growing near the cattle grid to the north. A food of the Orange-tip butterfly caterpillar, which should be there in plenty.
She also says there are lots of Tansy Beetles active on the mounds by the main Pond. This is a welcome relief after the flooding and the flood waters being held on the site for so long.
We were made aware of an Environment Agency (EA) briefing and a snippet below provides a statement of where they think the development is:
As the compound is to destroy the Cornfield Reserve arable and probably grassland (again the plans were vague), our agreement with the Rural Payments Agency/Natural England will be broken.
I have contacted the Council and Natural England about the works and they were waiting for the final planning conditions i.e. reports of what was to take place and how it would be done. On that basis I have written to the Rural Payments Agency asking them to declare force majeure on the Countryside Stewardship agreement the Friends have held on the site since 2012 (with two previous 10 year agreements). This was our main source of funding and we’d agreed to walk away when this disappeared.
For the future, this is what the EA say in their briefing, so after the Friends have finished, please contact them:
On another sad matter, Barry Potter, who had been involved with York Natural Environment Trust, that founded the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows, since the outset in 1988 died suddenly on the 1st May. Barry had been a lecturer at Askham Bryan College in horticulture and arboriculture and so a great source of advice. He had also made the world aware of St Nicholas’ Field in Tang Hall that is now St Nick’s Reserve and campaigned for its preservation for the nature it held. In addition he had also designed and managed the implementation of Mayfields Pond and Reserve in Dringhouses, now sadly split into two by the Council. Our condolences to the family.
On a brighter note we are in the throws of publishing a memorial to Rawcliffe Meadows and our thirty years of work:
This report is a summary of the wildlife we have recorded over the past 30 years, generously assisted by numerous local, regional and national experts. It remains unclear why the EA accessed so little of this data when preparing their Environmental Impact Assessment, and we hope this publication will provide a more informed account of the site’s rich biodiversity.
It is being published as a PDF and will be downloadable from this site in due course.