Spraying kills off grass at wildlife haven

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LAND designated as a wildlife haven has been sprayed with a chemical, leaving large swathes of vegetation dead.

Contractors halted their work on the site, between Ashington and Newbiggin, after being challenged by a town councillor, but by then six acres of grass had been left yellowing and dying.

Coun Michael Boon managed to prevent the workers ploughing up a dry pond designed as an overflow for a large pond created to prevent flooding on nearby housing estates.

They said they were preparing the land for planting beans, he said.

Coun Boon raised the incident as an urgent item at Newbiggin Town Council’s latest meeting.

He said the 14-acre site at Woodhorn – eight acres of ponds and six of now-sprayed grassland – had been set up as a flood plain and wildlife habitat as a condition of planning consent granted in 2005 for 3,000 homes to be built next to Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington.

The wildlife scheme was to be overseen by Wansbeck District Council for ten years and, after its abolition, responsibility should have been handed over to Northumberland County Council but wasn’t, the meeting, held at Newbiggin Sailing Club, heard.

“We have had seven years of growth which has now been totally destroyed,” added Coun Boon.

Members agreed to press for the land to be returned to its status as urban forest and wildlife habitat.