A RARE wildlife site that was home to two kinds of orchid has been lost after a roadworks contractor used the verge as a store for machinery and aggregates.
Binton Bank – a stretch of roadside verge opposite the Welford turn on the B439 Stratford to Evesham Road – was used by the contractors apparently with permission from Warwickshire County Council’s highways department.
Luddington resident Carol Cholerton spotted machinery on the area, which she knew was a local wildlife site, when she drove past one day. A local wildlife site designation places a duty of care and responsibility on the landowner.
In addition to the orchids being wiped out, a piece of grassland with wildflowers was also damaged and later replaced with what Carol believed to be topsoil after the contractors moved on.
She told the Herald: “I am dismayed and disappointed to hear that a public body like the county council may have been responsible for the bank’s destruction.
“It seems that some weeks ago, a firm of contractors sought permission from Warwickshire County Council’s highways department to use the verge as a store for machinery and aggregates whilst carrying out roadworks..
“If the normal practice of consultation with the council’s field services and ecology department had been followed, the highways department would have learned about the status and importance of this grassland. I have been told that this procedure did not happen and so permission was automatically granted.”
She added: “It is my understanding that Binton Bank will never return to its former status and that this little gem has been irretrievably lost. It is unacceptable that this kind of thing should happen without consequence or even explanation. The behaviour of the county council should not go unnoticed or unchallenged.
“Why did the highways department neglect to consult with the ecology department? How often, I wonder, is the ecology department bypassed? What assurances can the council give that in the future, before any works begin, the ecology department will always be consulted?”
Carol said she had been corresponding with county councillors but had not received any answers to her questions.
Warwickshire County Council has so far not provided the Herald with a comment.