York & North Yorkshire

Sir David Attenborough renews opposition to York bog home plans

Sir David Attenborough at Askham Bog Image copyright Tom Marshall
Image caption The broadcaster and naturalist has again given his backing to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Sir David Attenborough is making fresh calls to back a campaign against plans to build houses near a nature reserve.

Askham Bog, in York, is a wetland habitat and Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Developers Barwood appealed against the City of York Council's decision to refuse permission for more than 500 new homes to be built near the site.

It said the plan would help meet York's "acute housing needs" and protect Askham Bog "for future generations".

The nature reserve is a survivor of the ancient fenlands of Yorkshire.

It is on the site of an ancient lake left behind by a retreating glacier 15,000 years ago.

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'Collective responsibility'

Sir David said: "I am disappointed to hear that Askham Bog is again under threat.

"So much of the natural world is in peril and now, more than ever before, ancient places like Askham Bog, rich in biodiversity, must be protected.

"It is hugely valued by the people of York and by all naturalists and is part of our cultural and natural heritage. It is our collective responsibility to save it."

The naturalist and broadcaster first spoke out against plans to build on the land in January.

Image copyright Tom Marshall
Image caption Sir David Attenborough called the York site "part of our cultural and natural heritage"

Jamie Gibbins, managing director of Barwood, said the proposed development at Moor Lane would have a "permanent and impenetrable barrier" on the northern edge of the bog, and would address York's housing needs "in an environmentally sustainable way."

He added: "We are confident that the proposals are technically robust and will offer protection to Askham Bog for future generations."

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the charity that manages the bog, has said it needs to raise more than £15,000 to pay for scientific evidence and legal representation at the planning inquiry, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

A three-week planning inquiry is set to start on 12 November.

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