Landowners in Sudbury have been urged to preserve long-established green spaces in the area, after a well-used portion of countryside was ploughed over.
The Sudbury Area Green Belt Group (SAGBG) voiced concerns about the damage done to land off Churchfield Road – one of several green spaces regularly used by walkers – after it was churned up by a plough earlier this month.
Nick Miller, SAGBG secretary, described the impact of the ploughing on wildlife as a “major disaster”, and called on Babergh District Council to designate green spaces in this vicinity as a public amenity.
“This is the closest countryside for lots of people, and the setting adjacent to the health centre and Chilton Church is precious,” he said.
“This is a disaster. We must hope some of the wildlife can recover; if the owners can be stopped from making it worse.
“The damage is very bad, but it’s recoverable. What we need is for the owner not to do any more work that would make it unsalvagable.”
The group is now pushing for owners of land in this part of town not to plough, fell trees or use herbicides, due to the risks they pose to many plants and animals, including species with protected status, like nesting skylarks, lizards and small heath butterflies.
Mr Miller said he had been in touch with Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and suggested there could be grounds for an injunction against landowners if these species are not safeguarded.
Last week, SAGBG welcomed support from Sudbury Town Council for a proposal to include more green spaces in the final plan for the major Chilton Woods residential and commercial development in the town.
A spokesman for Babergh District Council said the green belt would be a factor in the planning committee’s final decision on the Chilton Woods proposals, stating: “We are aware of the environmental impact of the development.”
The spokesman also said that, as part of the work-in-progress district local plan, the initial details of which will be outlined over the summer, will include requirements for green space protection.
They added that if anybody in the area suspects that protected species are being adversely affected by any works, they should get in touch with the police.