SnOasis on wildlife - the inquiry latest

IF the proposed SnOasis site goes ahead more than 75per cent of the natural habitats on parts of the site will be lost, a Suffolk Wildlife Trust officer has said.

IF the proposed SnOasis site goes ahead more than 75per cent of the natural habitats on parts of the site will be lost, a Suffolk Wildlife Trust officer has said.

Dr Simone Bullion, a senior conservation officer, made the statement at the public inquiry into the £300million ski slope and leisure complex which is proposed for the former Mason's quarry site at Great Blakenham.

The trust first objected to the plans in July 2004 when it sent a letter to Mid Suffolk District Council over the planning application.

Since then, other objections have followed and Ms Bullion appeared at the public inquiry to discuss the level of disruption which the site would suffer.


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She told planning inspector John Grey: “If the SnOasis site is to proceed, more than 75pc of natural habitats in the upper quarry site will be lost due to the development. The remaining areas will experience a very different situation to the one that is there now.”

Ms Bullion said the area was a rare one for its type of grassland, sandy cliffs and chalk sides. She said the area included animals protected under conservation regulations, such as great crested newts, bats, grass snakes and badgers.

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She said: “The Heritage Lottery funded an investigation into the great crested newt in Suffolk. The report showed that newts were only found in 14pc of the 899 ponds tested in the county. They include this one.”

She said the development would put the animals in distress and said suggestions that the wildlife would be “kept an eye on” and given supplementary feed if necessary were not desirable.

She said the trust could not say for definite which animals could not survive on the smaller mitigation site which would be set up if the development went ahead, but said it would be very different for them and many would probably be lost.

The last witness to speak before the inquiry before the planning inspector holds site visits next week was Tom Boles, past president and current vice president of the British Astronomical association and director and operator of Coddenham Astronomical Observatories.

Mr Boles appeared as a witness for opponents SnOasis Community Alliance and he talked of his concerns about the impact SnOasis would have on light pollution.

The inquiry will resume in May when the opposing sides will summarise their arguments.

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