Saturday, 19 March 2011

Protecting Millfields' nature

There was an interesting article recently on biodiversity in Hackney parks in Hackney Citizen (Wild Spaces: Protecting Hackney Nature) detailing why well-kept parks and open green spaces are not always great for wildlife.  We've posted before on here about the Hackney's masterplan for Millfields and also the work it has underway on increasing the biodiversity in the park. You'd think these would aim to complement one another, but that's not the case. The biodiversity plan refers to compartment 7 in south Millfields as: “one of the most diverse areas of scrub/woodland on the entire site.” 

 pictures taken (19 March) in compartment 7: 
We agree with the Bioversity Plan which says this would an "ideal area to create a small nature garden with meadow areas, minibeast habitats and possible a pond or other wetland feature. " Instead, the differing versions of the Millfields masterplan have all proposed things for this area all of which would require the loss of the current vegetation - the current plan has it replaced with a kitchen garden.

The Biodiversity Plan says the "habitat creation proposals outlined for the other compartments will help to mitigate for this loss". It makes no sense at all to destroy one of the areas in the park with the most biodiversity, in place of a kitchen garden. The other proposals might (if they ever happen) eventually mitigate for some of the loss, but what happens to the wildlife displaced in the meantime?  A kitchen garden somewhere in the park would be lovely, but compartment 7 cannot be the right spot for it. 

It's interesting that neither the masterplan nor the biodiversity plan make any recommendations regarding this neglected eyesore on north millfields. Wouldn't this be a better location for a kitchen garden?


  1. A very timely post in view of Hackney/Millfields Biodiversity Plan currently under study/consultation/implementation.
    It is of great concern to note that Component 7 is yet again up for grabs in the context of the "Masterplan"
    By way of recent history, it should be remembered that this very special area was only saved in February 2010 by very concerted eforts
    by local residents protesting against(MUG Initiated/Council Complied) Pathfinders South Play Area being located on, and thereby by doing, demolishing the site.
    We can only hope.

  2. Compartment 7 is probably the most ecologically sensitive section of the whole of Millfields Park.

    My partner and I have actually seen bats in the rich wooded area of this section of South Millfields.

  3. It makes no sense at all to disturb them when there are so many other areas in the park that could be used for a kitchen garden.


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