Helen Bach: Brookfield Plantation decision day

Decision day for the future of Brookfield Plantation will soon be upon us, says Helen
Decision day for the future of Brookfield Plantation will soon be upon us, says Helen

Decision day for the future of Brookfield Plantation will soon be upon us.

The fate of Chalky, the white stag, his herd and other wildlife pals now lie in the hands of Corby Council.

The councillors have to decide whether or not to grant planning permission for a ‘resource recovery park’.

If this gets the go ahead, 50 hectares of established trees will be destroyed.

These include significant stands of broadleaved varieties – oak, hazel, sycamore, poplar and elder – and coniferous trees including Scots pine, Corsican pine, European larch and Norway spruce.

Brookfield Plantation is home to 85 protected and notable species, including great crested newts, badgers, bats, red kite and grass snakes.

There’s other wildlife too, with bumblebees, hedgehogs, lizards, dragonflies, damselflies, crickets, grasshoppers, butterflies, toads, frogs, rabbits, foxes and spiders.

Understandably, given all of the above, Brookfield Plantation is a designated Local Wildlife Site.

It’s had what you might call a chequered past, in that there are said to be unknown materials buried beneath it from its British Steel days.

The expression about not digging up the past is usually meant metaphorically, but in this case I feel it might be wise to take it more literally.

Fortunately nature has reclaimed it over time, and it now supports a varied ecosystem, with the trees acting as a ‘lung’ to absorb pollutants.

Opposition to the ‘resource recovery park’ is nothing to do with NIMBYism – it’s to do with protecting the environment and doing the right thing for our children and their futures.

We are temporary caretakers of this land – it’s our duty to protect it and the wildlife it supports.

To this end I’ve written articles, a poem, a children’s story, attended a protest march and meetings, written to the council, the MP and the newspaper, delivered leaflets, set up the ‘Save Chalky and his Brookfield Plantation Friends’ Facebook page, and proudly worn a ‘Save Chalky’ T-shirt.

If you also want to keep the trees, please tell your friends, family and neighbours, and make sure the council knows your opposition before it’s too late.

Borrowing from Joni Mitchell, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone, they want to pave paradise...

Read more from Helen here.