Thursday 11 May 2017

Arbury Road Cycle Lane Scheme - Peak Stupid Achieved

So we're not going to get dumber than this.

The way you recover native biodiversity if you really, really have to re-plant an old hedge? You allow the seeds and root stock there to re-grow and selectively re-plant local specimens in and around the shrubs and trees you carefully select based on what thrives in that specific environment and within constraints of hedging culture in that area. If you have to re-seed then you do so with specific reference to what was there before and what thrives in the microenvironment in question.

What you don't do is ignore what grows well in the local area, order in an inappropriate mix of plants from goodness knows where and plant them past the end of the season in which it makes sense to do so, which of course then necessitates that you mulch round with wood-chips to give what precious moisture remains in an arid East Anglian soil, and suppress any hope of re-growing any wild plants.

Then there are really only two ways of making that worse. One, you then don't water enough through a really dry (but not amazingly so for the location) Spring so some of what you've planted dies. Two, you put a fence up with narrow mesh to stop anyone trampling through - and you make the mesh narrow enough such that if any wild animals want through, they're boned. You don't, say, just stretch 3 rows of wire along the line (to stop people trampling through), if you really want to cock it up you turn it into a hedghog barrier too.

Its like... I dunno, they said 'post and wire' fence, they didn't say 'chicken wire' or 'stock fence'. What they've constructed is a perfect habitat for climbing plants - when it finally rains, yeah, there'll be some things grow up there. It'll be goose grass and maybe bind weed, and it'll shade out everything else that might grow around the trees, while making sure that nothing bigger than a mouse (or maybe a rat) can get through the gaps. The shading put on to the space by this growth up the mesh will mean that even if we attempt to guerilla-garden some replanting that will probably fail too.

City Deal seem intent, at every stage, on making this scheme worse. Yeah, we need a cycle lane, but here's a golden opportunity to do something solid for local ecology too - and they've buggered it up. And at each stage they bugger it up more. Its hard to see such ineptitude as accidental - I'd actually rather believe its malice than stupidity at this stage.

We need good cycle lanes down the whole length of Arbury Road and I stand by my criticism that if we're not going to get that I oppose the entire scheme on the basis that its just not good enough. What it looks like is that we're going to have an almost good enough lane along some of it, at high ecological cost and to the total disrepute of the City Deal and other cycling projects going forward.

Beyond repair. Disgusting.

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