Devastation on Earlswood Common

21/07/2021

Once again, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has shown total contempt for wildlife and our green spaces.

The fairways at the old golf course on Earlswood Common were left happily uncut for weeks, allowing grasses and flowers to thrive, so that butterflies and other insects could feed - then, probably in response to complaints from disgruntled dog walkers, the whole lot was butchered prematurely on 14 July, with the long grass left to rot on site, depriving thousands of insects of their habitat, and making an unsightly mess that does not serve anyone. Only a few poor clumps of harebell and camomile were allowed to survive in this desert.

Recent research has shown that insect numbers around the world are plummeting; wildlife organisations have appealed to amateur gardeners to leave our lawns long to support the vital pollinators, - so why can't the local council show something resembling a plan? When asked the question on Facebook, Councillor Natalie Bramhall, who had proudly announced the impending cull, refused to engage in any meaningful discussion. It is very clear that she is not interested in improving the shoddy 'management' techniques.
 We are well aware that the common needs to accommodate all its users - human, canine and otherwise - and only want a compromise that will benefit everyone.

Of course there need to be pathways cut through the long grass for dog walkers and others - as has been done well on the Pendleton Road side of the common. However, the rest must be left to grow between March and August, so that wildflowers can complete their life cycle and set seed, providing a healthy habitat. Signs or panels should be put up to explain the need for this type of meadow management - and the benefits of it for all of us. 

Photos taken by Rob Tweed, 17/7/21