Council 'disturbed' by ecological damage caused by fires

Aerial view of large wildfire

A fire in a field close to Chantry Park is being treated as arson - Credit: Larren Fortescue

The equivalent of nearly five football pitches was damaged by fires in Ipswich last week as work continues to examine the environmental impact. 

Ipswich Borough Council has said it is "disturbed by the ecological damage" caused by recent events across the town.

Police are investigating a number of suspected arsons following blazes in Ravenswood and Gippeswyk Park, while fields close to Chantry and Westbourne parks were also alight.

More than six acres of land have been damaged by flames, the council has reported. 

A spokesman for IBC said: "The council is disturbed by the ecological damage caused by recent fires.

Firefighter battles a blaze in a Suffolk field

Fires have broken out across the county in recent weeks - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"Those such as at Ravenswood Park have had a large impact. There the burning of two hectares of semi-natural habitat in the height of summer will have killed many invertebrates and plants and also impacted the habit of ground-nesting birds, reptiles and small mammals."

Two hectares, equates to 4.9 acres - or the size of more than three football pitches which average at one and a half hectares. 

Ravenswood is known for holding the last breeding population of skylarks within the borough boundary.

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IBC has been quick to assure concerned locals that, so far, they have remained unaffected.

However, other wildlife and vegetation were not so fortunate.

"At the fire close to Westbourne, approximately half a hectare of long grass, short grass and bramble scrub was burnt and trees were damaged", added IBC.

"This site is known to house hedgehogs, slowworms and locally uncommon species of birds, such as the bullfinch.

"Luckily the birds would likely mostly have finished nesting; no nests were visible in the exposed bramble."

Looking ahead, the Council have confirmed they will be working to restore both wildlife and plants at all affected parks in the autumn. 

Aerial view of damage caused by fire

Drone footage captured the extent of the damage caused by a fire at a field close to Chantry Park - Credit: Larren Fortescue

"For example, at Ravenswood Park, the damaged area will be left for the summer", said the spokesman. 

"In autumn, in conjunction with the local community and wildlife groups, further skylark plots will be created by turning the soil to remove the fire-damaged thatch area and then undertake some seeding with sandy soil wildflower species, such as birds foot trefoil for pollinators."