A letter published in the Ely Standard:
Dreary Presentation But I Made My Point About Wicken Vision
15:58 - 18 November 2008
I HAVE just sat through another dreary presentation from the stubborn National Trust regarding its ideas for these Wicken Fens. Thanks to East Cambridgeshire District Council's public participation procedure, I was able to put the following points and questions to a key committee:
The National Trust preaches conservation and practices it with public approval in most parts of the country. The so-called Wicken Vision (a plan to expand the existing Wicken Fen to some 15,000 acres) appears contrary to the principles of conservation in that it seeks to destroy that which is good and worthy of conserving.
Therefore, would it not be better to:
* Promote the conservation of first-class food producing Fen land that has been drained and maintained at vast expense for upwards of 400 years? The Trust's proposals will produce areas of stagnant water and an unkempt jungle of elder bushes, ragwort, stinging nettles and thistles, and the only beneficiaries of an expanded Wicken Fen will be mosquitoes and flies.
* Promote the conservation of Conservation Areas within the Fen edge villages of Wicken, Burwell, Reach, Swaffham Prior, Swaffham Bulbeck and Lode and Long Meadow, as well as those within the Fed edge villages of south Cambridgeshire - Stow Cum Quy, Fen Ditton, Horningsea and Waterbeach - all of which will be affected adversely, if the plan is allowed to proceed and to be 'successful', by an extra influx of cars, buses and tourists? The Trust plans a new car park of some six acres on Green Belt land between Lode and Bottisham. Other car parks are also on the cards.*
* Promote equally the conservation of the non-conservation areas of all of the above villages on the grounds that all of the residents of all of the villages deserve protection from an extra influx of cars, buses and tourists?
* Promote the conservation and continued maintenance of the Cambridgeshire Lodes? It is factual that the future of the Lodes is inextricably intertwined with the National Trust's plans to raise water levels and thereby to flood lower lying land in the Fens. The lower lying land is adjacent to some of the Lodes and flooding will undermine and destabilise the Lode banks.
* Promote the conservation of 'The Little Chapel in the Fen', a non-denominational place of worship and harvest celebration built in 1884 near Upware, the foundations of which will be undermined and made unstable by a rise in the water table in Swaffham Fen?
* Promote the conservation of the country's resources by opposing the construction of a 'Bridge of Reeds' over the A14 at a cost of £20 million?