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Contains Private and Confidential Information Title Responsible Officer Author(s) Portfolio(s) For Consideration By Date to be Considered Implementation Date, If Not Called In Affected Wards Area Committees Keywords/Index

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Local Nature Reserves - Designation Keith Townsend; Head of Parks and Countryside Service. E-mail townsenk@ealing.gov.uk Tony Ord, Ranger, Brent Lodge Team, E-mail ordt@ealing.gov.uk Phil Belman, Senior Ranger, Brent Lodge Team, E-mail belmanp@ealing.gov.uk . Leisure, Streets and Environment Cabinet 8 July 2003 23 July 2003 Hobbayne, Dormers Wells, Northfield, Elthorne, Norwood Green Southall, Hanwell, Ealing Local Nature Reserve, Nature Conservation, Community

Purpose of Report: The report proposes the designation of five sites listed in the title of this report as Local Nature Reserves.

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Recommended Actions It is recommended that Cabinet: i. agree to the designation of Tentelow Wood and Meadow, Brent River Park Meadows, Bitterns Field, Boles Meadow and Haslemere Wildlife Reserve as Local Nature Reserves in accordance with sections 19 and 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. 1

ii. 2. 2.1.

note that English Nature is being consulted on the proposed designations Reason for Decision and Options Considered Designation of these sites as Local Nature Reserves is by way of a declaration made pursuant to statutory powers. Only Cabinet has the authority to resolve to make the necessary declaration. Key Points Financial Implications

3.

3.1

Costs will arise in respect of advertising the making of the Order. This cost can be contained within existing Parks and Countryside Service budgets. The designation of the sites as Local Nature Reserves will not increase the cost of managing the sites. However, it will provide new opportunities for bidding for grant aid from English Nature for each site. Staffing Implications

3.2

Management work on these sites is already allocated time within the Brent Lodge Ranger Team‟s work programme with assistance from volunteers and partners. For each site routine grounds maintenance work is already scheduled and is carried out by the relevant area contractors. Legal Implications

3.3

The sites will be designated as Local Nature Reserves by way of a declaration and statutory advertisement under the provisions of sections 19 and 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The Sites are all owned by Ealing Council and can therefore only be designated by the Council. Business Plan Implications

3.4

The Parks and Countryside Services‟ Business Plans contain commitments to establish Local Nature Reserves. Community Consultation

3.5

All the work at the sites and the proposed designation is being carried forward in consultation and partnership with the local community represented by the Friends of Haslemere, The Brent River and Canal Society, The Norwood Green Residents Association and the Ealing Wildlife Network.

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Environmental Considerations 3.6 The Council is committed to the care and conservation of the natural environment and the development of Local Nature Reserves contributes to this objective. Disabled Access 3.7 The disabled often find it difficult to gain access to the countryside. The provision of Local Nature Reserves incorporating access for the less mobile is helpful in this respect. The majority of the proposed sites presently have reasonable access for people with varying degrees of disability. The Parks and Countryside Service is committed through the individual site management plans, to actively improve public access including that for the disabled, where it is feasibly possible within the physical constraints of the individual sites. Detailed Section Description of Sites 4.1 Tentelow Wood and Meadow (affected ward Norwood Green) This site consists of 1.1 ha of ancient woodland and 5 ha of meadow. Designated under the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) as Heritage Land, Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC), Metropolitan Open Land (MOL) and Public Open Space (POS) and by the London Ecology Unit as a Grade 2 Site of Borough Importance. Public access to the woods and meadow is provided via a public footpath traversing the site through the meadow and wood, with additional footpaths connecting to the football pitches. English oak and hornbeam dominate the woodland canopy; the under-canopy includes english elm, hawthorn, holly and elder. The woodland floor is predominately native bluebell, as well as bramble, bracken, cuckoopint, lesser stichwort and nettle. Wildlife present on the site includes tawny and little owls, all 3 species of woodpecker, nuthatch, blackcap, and chiffchaffs, all nesting. Other wildlife includes mice, voles, bats, foxes and rabbits. Management of the area is aimed at restoring and enhancing the natural biodiversity of the habitats while maintaining public access. 4.2 Brent River Park Meadows (affected wards Elthorne and Norwood Green) The three meadows to the south of the Grand Union Canal (Trumpers Field, Jubilee Meadow and Blackberry Corner) were intermittently used for grazing by sheep and horses in the past. Since 1994 (1988 for Trumpers Field) they have been managed by Ealing Council as hay meadows with an annual cut in late summer. St Margaret‟s Open Space and Wood were recently acquired after being restored, having been used as an industrial site. All sites are designated under the UDP as SINC, 3

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Conservation Area, MOL and Brent River Park. They are situated alongside the River Brent / Grand Union Canal and the Southall to Brentford railway line, which are designated as Green Corridors. There are a number of public footpaths on the sites and access can be made at several entrance points from roads or the canal towpath. The meadows contain at least 10 grass species as well as a large variety of herbs or wildflowers. Most notable are pignut, locally scarce and in decline, and a single spike of green winged orchid recorded in 1984. Other species include knapweeds, hedgerow cranesbill, hedge and ladies bedstraw, zigzag clover, tufted and common vetchlings, meadow buttercup, bulbous buttercup and lesser stichwort. Surrounding and dividing the meadows are a variety of hedgerows of different ages and compositions including english oak, ash, hawthorn, field maple and hazel. Parts of these hedges contain native bluebell, hedge bedstraw and red campion. Within Jubilee and Trumpers Field are 2 recent ponds, which are becoming well established with a pond and marginal flora with several species of dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies and other aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates. 4.3 Bitterns Field (affected wards Hobbayne and Dormers Wells) This site comprises riverside fields and meadows bounded with hedgerows, scrub and woodland strips. The whole area is 18.6 ha including Bitterns Field, Mayfield, Greenford Island and Marnham Field. The meadows are of NVC neutral grassland, with a diverse range of wildflowers. Some of the species present include knapweed, fleabane, red and white clover, scentless mayweed, bristly oxtongue, goats rue and tufted vetch within a complex of fine grasses. The riverside is lined with pollarded crack and white willows. Tree species in the area include english oak, ash, field maple and hornbeam. Shrubs include hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn and guelder rose. Honey suckle is present on Greenford Island. A small reedbed containing phragmites, lesser pond sedge, meadow sweet and purple loosestrife is an important habitat supporting birds including wintering water rail, nesting reed and sedge warbler and reed bunting. All surfaced footpaths and principal grass paths on the site are statutory rights of way, regularly used by local people including dog walkers and rambling/walking groups. The area is designated under the UDP as SINC, Conservation Area, MOL and Brent River Park. 4.4 Haslemere Wildlife Reserve (affected ward Northfield) This community site of 1.6 ha was until recently an area of disused tennis courts, which had been overgrown by self-seeded plants. Silver birches had grown to maturity through the tarmac surfacing along with oak saplings. Ornamental cherry has suckered creating thickets. 4

With assistance from the Brent Lodge Ranger Team, a local group, the Boston Manor Residents Association, set up the “Friends of Haslemere Wildlife Reserve” in 1999. Since then much of the tarmac has been removed, a pond has been dug and is now established and a mixed native hedge has been planted around the site with species including hawthorn, oak, blackthorn, guelder rose, hazel and field maple. Open meadow areas have been seeded to enhance the native populations of flora whilst some non-native species such as buddleia, have been reduced as part of the management of the site. 4.5 Boles Meadow (affected ward Hobbayne) This site, adjacent to the River Brent, is a permanently damp meadow on the Hanwell spring line with willow pollards and willow and ash coppice, a thicket of blackthorn, semi mature woodland and an oxbow lake. The woodland consists of mature english oak, lime, english elm, white willow and a few horse chestnuts with an understorey of holly and yew. The rare hybrid basket making willow discovered growing on this site. Wildflowers within the wood and meadow include the native bluebell, agrimony, meadow vetchling, cuckoopint, ivy and willowherb. All three woodpecker species have nested as do long tailed tits within the blackthorn thicket. Spotted flycatchers nested on the site until the early 1990‟s.Other birds include robins, jays, moorhen, herons, wintering water rail, and teal. Mammals to be found are fox, wood and yellow necked mice, grey squirrels, pipistrelle bats and weasels. The damp environment of the meadow and the oxbow lake makes it a suitable environment for amphibians including frogs, toads and newts. The Process of Designation 4.6 Once consultation with English Nature is completed it is intended to designate, subject to your agreement, the sites as Local Nature Reserves under sections 19 and 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. The advantages being; a. It shows that Ealing Council is committed to managing sites for nature conservation and for the enjoyment of local people. b. Designation links to actions in the Ealing Biodiversity Action Plan. It will enable the „Friends Groups‟ and the Council to apply for grant aid from English Nature for work on the sites. c. It will enable us to call on the English Nature Officers for management advice on the sites. A detailed management plan has been prepared for each of the proposed LNR sites. English Nature is statutory consultee for proposed LNR‟s and consultation is taking place concurrently with this report. The views of English Nature will be taken into account prior to designation, however designation itself is a matter for the Council. 5

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Documents and background information 1. Files in Parks and Countryside Service, Brent Lodge Ranger Team Base, 2. Brent River Park Countryside Management Plan, Andy McCord, Phil Belman. 3. Tentelow Wood and Meadow Management Plan - Authors, Dave Stokes and Andy Willmore, Phil Belman. 4. Brent River Park Meadows Management Plan - Authors, Andy Willmore, Phil Belman. 5. Bitterns Field Area Management Plan - Authors Tony Ord, Phil Belman. 6. Boles Meadow Management Plan - Authors, Jo Wilson, Jane Goffe, Phil Belman. 7. Haslemere Wildlife Area Management Plan - Authors, Andy Willmore, Phil Belman.

Glossary UDP LNR SINC MOL POS Unitary Development Plan Local Nature Reserve Site of Interest for Nature Conservation Metropolitan Open Land Public Open Space

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