East and West Sussex are the British Isles most forested counties. Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site lies within an important nucleus of broadleaf woodland in Mid Sussex that connects these counties and lies at the heart of the High Weald AONB. The patchwork of ancient woodland, rolling agricultural fields and age old hedgerows that surround Balcombe include important fresh water lakes and reservoirs such as Ardingly and Weirwood and lie at the confluence of historic, densely forested country estates- Balcombe, Paddockhurst, Borde Hill and Wakehurt – the nations arboreteum.
These woodlands contain a number of UK endangered species and some of the highest insect diversity indicators in the country, a fact that is currently threatened by Cuadrilla’s proposal for a 45ft gas stack flare. The areas numerous lakes and reservoirs are also important for migrating Osprey and hopes had been to encourage a local breeding pair, a potential boon to the regions hotel and tourism industry. No studies have been carried out to assess the impact Cuadrilla’s operations will have on insect diversity or important threatened species such as the Eurasian Hobby, nor on the impact hydrocarbon development will have on local hotel and tourism businesses.
If you have any comments or information regarding the High Weald or South Downs protected areas please contact Protected Area Watch
The Sussex Osprey – Chris Mills http://chrismillsphoto.com/blogs/?p=176