Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by Bar Side, May 7, 2012.
Isn't there a wildlife organisation that routinely objects?
RSPB Walberswick. There are concerns over wildfowl nesting, a case which I'd have thought relatively simple to confirm or refute. There are wetland reserves dotted across Northern Europe, so finding some sufficiently comparable case shouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility.
I've seen no references to Col.Stephens' West Sussex Railway (Chichester to Selsey) ever causing local bird life any undue problems and from personal experience, the Ffestiniog's "Cob" doesn't seem to scare it's plentiful avian neighbours unduly and if they were that skittish, you'd hardly get ospreys nesting in the Glaslyn Estuary, near the WHR or the Dyfi Estuary close by the CCL.
How much concern is of the informed variety, from the RSPB themselves and how much is merely knee-jerk opposition from individuals who happen to be members isn't clear to me, nor is the precise nature of those concerns.
Sounds familiar. When I worked in Slinfold, the company received a snotty letter concerning an entire five transit size staff minibuses, which had the temerity to pass to and fro through the village, once in the morning, once in the evening, five days a week.
The letter, which we all saw, stated the correspondent had timed journeys on routes avoiding the village and added "no more than 12 minutes". Not during weekday rush hours it doesn't. Further correspondence revealed the sender was a second homer and locally know serial complainer, who only normally graced the village with his august presence at weekends (when his diversions doubtless would've taken less than the 20 mins we established they needed on weekdays). Following consultation with the workforce, the board translated responses into rather less succinct vernacular and politely, but firmly declined his suggestion.
I seem to recall that the Glaslyn Ospreys have been known to escort the WHR trains at quite close quarters. If they were drones doing the same they would be banned! Maybe they are gricers...
Wildlife, and Mother Nature in general, is a whole lot more robust than some humans would give it credit for. With exceptions, I often get the feeling that wildlife/ the ecosystem gets used as a convenient smokescreen for rather more partisan and human prejudices.
But that's purely a personal opinion.
We have occasional bird issues on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. There is a hawk which flies alongside the engine and peers into the cab.
A few years ago, the Teifi Valley Railway had a problem with red kites: the young ones would insist on resting on the track. The kites weren't bothered by the trains but the loco crew had to watch out for them.
This one sounds like a decent photographic challenge to me!
Just thinking out aloud here, but we've got some truly superb photographers among our number (as well as idiots who can't even get the inevitable finger into focus i.e. like me!). If it is indeed the case that anyone has been muttering darkly to RSPB members (perish the thought!), perhaps some display of choice images which could serve to allay fears of bird scaring among the wider RSPB membership might prove a practical means of supporting the SRT? Thoughts, anyone?
I remember doing some off-road motorbiking in wales and someone came up to say we werr scaring the birds. We pointed to the three red kites sitting in the tree above us watching with interest...
What gives wildlife problems is the relentless eating up of space and destruction of habitat. The odd noisy train trundling through makes much less difficulty for them than the manicured lawn that has no biodiversity.
I want to like that first paragraph twice ..... and the second, for it's spot-on accuracy, several hundred times.
Interacting with wildlife ...
When driving our steam engines backwards, I often look down to the track just in front of me.
Then I very often have White wagtails flying in their typical roller-coaster flight just a few feet in front of the engine and very close to the track.
I have often wondered why, and finally I read that it is a habit they have developed with grazing cattle.
Cattle and steam locos alike stir up insects that the Wagtails catch.
And the beavers keep supplying us with fire wood, they take the branches and we use the trunks for lighting up the locos.
Possibly it is disturbance during construction of the line that would concern the RSPB rather than trains on the completed line.
I remember driving a DMU one day, whilst rabbits, pheasants and foxes were quick to move off the trackside, a human couple busily engaged in sexual activity on the 'disused railway' were not. Several photographers were quick to request a 'run past' as they continued...
"what about livery?" "I don't think they've got much of it left on.."
I was too busy driving to notice....
Breeding seasons have been identified for yonks. If the good folks on the Corris can accommodate slow worms, I'm fairly confident the evidently ecologically aware SRT can work around bird nesting and may even have some part to play in improving things for their neighbours within the reserve.
The wildlife barriers on the Corris Extension need some renewal and will be another cost in the overall expenses of constructing the diversion. It’s also the case that materials used for building the embankment have been sourced locally to avoid any risk of bringing unwanted plants etc into the National Park.
Lester Brown’s comment is accurate. An established railway is a wildlife corridor, as you can sometimes see from the back of a dmu making its way along, with various creatures emerging from cover after the train has passed. Construction though has to be carefully managed and while this thread was unfolding yesterday there were the reports of the devastation caused to the River Lugg and its environs by careless or reckless use of heavy machinery.
Also while this has been going on I’ve been reading a book (purchased from a railway’s online shop to put some money into coffers) about the SR and it confirms that the town of Southwold rarely backed its railway. Or its harbour for that matter.
Its funny how history repeats itself (thinking about Parracombe/ Churchtown here).
I wonder if the residents of Salehurst were equally as antipathetic to the RVR passing their way, back in 1900?
This is where everyone needs to be careful. For many statutory regimes "objections" are the only response - ie the RSPB *may* be entirely happy with the concept, but want specific protections included as part of the permission. That is an "objection" to the concept of uncontrolled development, but is not the same as a NIMBY objection at any cost.
Then you have the poker game of using any right to stop development as a bargaining chip...
The important thing is to judge any "objection" on the facts and be willing to meet any sensible conditions.
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