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Will a wildlife crime be committed?

Niki Carter | 20.06.2010 08:35 | Free Spaces | Oxford

North Hinksey Parish Council are carrying out unecessary work on a lovely bit of woodland, despite local opposition.

Even though 137 people signed a petition to save a tiny bit of woodland near us, North Hinksey Parish Council are going ahead. We love the little bit of woodland as it is. Some of us enjoy the wildlife in it and the hundreds of birds from wrens to long tailed tits and noise daws and some of us use the wild wood as a respite and cure from work and troubles. All the small area needs is a bit of care, like taking out dead branches. The Parish Council's consultation process was a hollow joke.
Of the 137 petitioners, there are over 20 active members of CopseWatch and for over a year we have asked again and again for a proper consultation with concerned local people and again and again for proper maps and plans but nothing. We have resorted to FOI Act for some of the information but it is amazing how Councils can wiggle out of things. Did you know that Parish Councils are answerable to no-one? The ombudsman only kicks in at District level. This has to change.
In February the council staged a 'consultation' which they the reported so insufficiently that we don't even know how many people turned up, where they came from or what their comments were! People without the internet are disenfranchised and we are all treated with contempt by Parish Councillors.
That the Parish Council can spend so much of our taxes on work most locals do not want done is wrong anyway but at this time of redundancies etc, it is obscene.
Not only are the Parish Council planning to build paths and platforms and reroute a stream but they are doing it now! Today. While birds are nesting or fledging and while mammals are foraging for their young. The main work begins at the end of the week apparently (they won't give us exact information). Why not wait till September, as RSPB suggest? What is wrong with these people?
We even called an election for a vacant seat on the council because so many members a co-opted but then found out we would have to fund all the advertising and all the leaflets and just couldn't afford it. The Parish Council did not announce the election at a meeting, we had to call the Vale to find out if there was going to be one or not, and they did not advertise it on their web with the result that most people didn't even know there was an election. As there were only two candidates with similar platforms, one me, I dropped out to save money but this is wrong. Democracy does not exist.
Oh and some of the money the Parish Council want to do this work, and I think they have got it, is from the disastrous development on Cumnor Hill at the old Timbmet site, an SSSI - no longer so special.

Niki Carter
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Hide the following 5 comments

Wildlife, animals including humans, don't matter to those who have power

20.06.2010 09:30

Yet again we are not consulted.

It happens at every level.

Central government, on all issues including war.

Local government on all issues including the so called 'Northern Gateway' which is just an excuse for local councillors to destroy masses of land to build un-wanted/needed business park, or demolish a much used and loved swimming pool in East Oxford only to take the land for yet more (student) accommodation.

Those who run all media outlets, especially BBC but also including this one at times.

Local community groups who do not listen to others in the group and alienate those who have different beliefs to their own.

It happens any place where some are more equal than others.

If we, who are grass roots activists cannot/will not take the time to listen to others and include their views then what hope for the future.

The Barracks Lane Community Garden seemed like such a lovely idea some years ago and thanks to a number of dedicated individuals it became a reality. Many lovely events have taken place at the garden.

It is used by a lot of people who have carried out heroic selfless deeds in the name of what is morally right in this world which we all share, but it is not rum democratically.

Sometimes it has been necessary to challenge, or even break the 'law' in order to do the right thing, prevent war for example. Sometimes we have all had to do something we didn't really want to do for a higher principle.

Sometimes, no matter how many signatures we collect on a petition or how many people march, repeatedly on parliament, 'they', our elected representatives just don't listen. It is like being ruled by a monarchy or dictatorship, not being part of a democracy.

Even Prince Charles, when entertaining guests at a palace last year, realised that the only right thing to do in the company of many who lived by different principles to him, was to make the whole dinner vegan so that everyone could partake equally. It was a beautiful gesture.

Of course the signers and the marchers are not the majority, we are often the few, who have, at that time moved ahead of the crowd and realised that an injustice is going on and that it is unacceptable. We have usually tried the routes of speaking to others including our elected leaders, trying to explain what we know, that this particular form of barbarism is no longer acceptable. That it is time to move to a high level of consciousness.

As time has passed the Community garden has become a haven for a certain often middle class group, more of a monarchistic system where some of us no longer feel welcome as our beliefs, feelings and opinions are trampled under the comfortable ways of those with the loudest voices.

May I apologise on behalf of the Garden Fairy, who could see no other way of expressing beliefs that others want to ignore. The Garden Fairy hopes you can also see the error your ways, and realise that we are in a position of being able to move on to not exploiting other animals and creatures including bees.

In this Community Garden we can all enjoy the fruits of the garden without harming or offending others in this space.

un -consulted

Hey North Hinksey Parish Council leave that wood alone

20.06.2010 09:58

Limestone paths, viewing platforms! What next a tarmac road and a café – perhaps a McDonalds would be nice.

Why can’t this idyllic wood be left as it is? Part of the attraction of places like this is that human interference is kept to a bare minimum.



Update on woodland work

20.06.2010 12:52

Lots of us went down today and talked to the main workmen and we managed get loads of information and though I still think the work is better done in Autumn but the Parish Council has realised that we actually care for the area and admitted mistakes had been made in procedure - so big result.

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Usually the argument is to make it accessible to the disabled

20.06.2010 14:02

With things like this where they are just adding paths to an existing woodland, the argument used is that they are making it more accessible to people in wheelchairs or with other physical disabilities.

Not saying that makes it right, but it's a point of information.

It sounds like people go in the woods already so it's not like it's a complete wildlife haven at the moment.


Law on your side?

20.06.2010 15:00

You might want to check out the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (available from ). Quote:

1 (1) Subject to the provisions of this Part, if any person intentionally -
(b) takes, damages or destroys the next of any wild bird while that nest is in use or being built;
he [sic] shall be guilty of an offence.

Time to get the camcorders / mobile phone cameras out and do a bit of citizen investigation / monitoring?