Have your say on future of the city’s environment

House spider
House spider
Have your say

Are you concerned about preserving wildlife habitats in the Sheffield area?

Might you be worried about the activities and strategies of those responsible for, or contracted to improve and maintain our highways, including trees and verges? Moreover, what about the wider issues on your doorstep.

Might your local green space be sold off for development? What has happened to all the promises, commitments and strategies for local people, communities, wildlife and countryside from the heart of the city to the leafy suburbs and beyond? Where are our countryside rangers, and isn’t this supposed to be The Big Society? All these and more are issues raised by YOU, the Star readers and my other correspondents.

Clearly, people are worried and in some cases with real justification. Because of all this, I have been invited to speak to an open meeting organised by the local Green Party next Wednesday, October 9, 7.15pm for 7.30pm start at the Garden Room, St Mary’s Community Centre, Bramall Lane, Sheffield. There will be an illustrated talk followed by an open discussion.

The issues include street trees and wildflower verges, which are apparently under threat and reported to me from several sites across Sheffield, and the hugely controversial proposals to build on the ancient woodland of Smithy Wood near Ecclesfield. Hard on the heels of that threat is George Osborne’s ‘baby’ of the HS2, which will ‘take out’ the remainder of that particular medieval woodland.

Furthermore, the proposed HS2 will almost certainly leach out of the regional economy by drawing business into London, and it will lead to a dramatic decline in the existing rail services into central Sheffield. That will undoubtedly be to the serious disadvantage of city centre businesses. Don’t get me wrong, high-speed rail can be great but here we would be better off improving the existing lines and services and making them lower cost for all to use.

HS2 will be far too expensive for the likes of you and me but we will pay for it with our taxes and the irreparable damage to our woods and other greenspaces. There is more on my website and blog but please do come along as this affects you, your children, and your children’s children; our environment is not just for today.

On a happier note, the other news has been of giant hornets causing mayhem in China and the false widow spider coming into season in parts of Britain, especially in southern England.

This is one of the very few quite nasty spiders over here and fortunately, you won’t meet one in our region, at least not yet.

However, watch out for the big house spider, which is both useful and harmless. This is their time!

Professor Ian D Rotherham, researcher, writer and broadcaster on wildlife and environmental issues, is contactable on ianonthewildside@ukeconet.co.uk; follow Ian’s Walk on the Wildside blog, www.ukeconet.org for more information.