Activist warns of bypass wildlife crisis

Wildlife preservation volunteer George Millins.
Wildlife preservation volunteer George Millins.

A concerned conservationist has hit back after a councillor argued a Sudbury bypass should go ahead regardless of its impact on wildlife.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust member George Millins claimed councillor Peter Beer was unaware of the damage that the bypass construction would cause to wildlife on the water meadows.

“Peter Beer’s comments are so obviously targeting the vast majority of the electorate who are also unaware of the crisis soon to befall mankind if we continue to destroy our wildlife and their habitats,” he said.

“Any bypass has got to go across the floodplain, which means damage to the local wildlife.

“Most of our wildlife is in crisis and declining rapidly.”

After a meeting of councillors to discuss plans for the bypass, Mr Beer said that wildlife should not be allowed to stop plans to build a relief road and that “people must come first”.

Mr Beer’s remarks angered environmentalists who continue to raise awareness of the damage caused by this type of construction.

“Given the on-going and indeed accelerating destruction of wildlife, ‘putting people first’ may well result in putting their long-term welfare last,” said Mr Millins.

The 75-year-old said many groups of wildlife, including butterflies, bees, amphibians and reptiles, are currently living on the water meadows, where the bypass would cut through.

Sudbury Common Lands ranger Adrian Walters agreed that any development would cause inevitable damage.

“We see wildlife diminishing before our eyes year-on-year,” he said.

He encouraged residents and councillors to consider the environmental harm.

He said: “If we are just not going to address it, we are not going to have a planet fit for us to live on.”

In response to the concerns raised by environmentalists, Mr Beer stood by his belief that people should come first.

“Wildlife and the environment are very important, but equally important is the fact that some sacrifices have to be made if we are going to get this bypass for Sudbury,” he said.

“Wildlife is affected in the short term but it soon comes back.”