New battle to save toads

CAMPAIGNERS are trying to halt a 200 home development that is being targeted for land housing the UK's biggest urban toad population.

By TOM POTTER

tom.potter@eveningstar.co.uk

CAMPAIGNERS are trying to halt a 200 home development that is being targeted for land housing the UK's biggest urban toad population.

Kiln Meadow forms a link between three nature reserves which surround it as well as providing a home to the largest recorded toad colony in the UK.


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Members of Save Kiln Meadow (SKiM) are asking Ipswich Borough Council to halt the sale of the land and safeguard the meadow for people and wildlife.

Ipswich Borough Council owns the 11-acre site where the 200 homes would form the last stage of the Thorington Hall development.

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IBC applied to Babergh District Council, in whose area the land lies, for outline planning permission in 2002, but permission was not granted until late 2007.

In the meantime both Millennium wood and Bobbits Meadows were declared local nature reserves, and the toad population had increased dramatically.

Fears have mounted over the development's impact on wildlife in the area, particularly the toad population which is now thought to be 5,000 strong and migrates each spring from Spring Wood across Kiln Meadow and Bobbits Lane to the water meadows.

During the last few years a 'toad patrol' has operated to assist common toads crossing Bobbits Lane. This spring more than 20 volunteers helped more than 4,400 toads cross the road and the patrol topped a list of 720 toad crossings compiled by national charity Froglife.

Campaigners are calling for plans for the development to be scrapped as fears grow for the UK's biggest urban toad population.

Jen Jousiffe, conservation volunteer and SKiM member, said: “This would severely damage the wildlife on the site itself and that of the local nature reserves which surround it on three sides.

“The toad population would be under threat because they migrate across the meadow and their passage would be blocked.

“Building in Kiln Meadow would change the hydrology and have a dramatic adverse affect on the water meadows across Bobbits Lane, which rely on the fresh, clean water flowing through Kiln Meadow for their existence.”

The organisation has been joined in its criticism of the plans by Ipswich Wildlife Group and the Green Party, who are urging the council not to sell the land but make it available as a public space.

An IBC spokesman said: “A decision is still under consideration but it is unlikely to be made before December.”

To find out more about SKiM visit www.greenlivingcentre.org.uk/iwg/skim.htm.

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