Thames Basin Heaths at Bracknell get protection

Thames Basin Heaths at Bracknell get protection

Recently, the BOC provided records for birds seen in the area of the Transport Research Laboratories in Bracknell. This confirmed the existence of protected birds on the heathland nearby and has helped proposals to develop the TRL land to be rejected beause of the lack of protection. The full story has been told by BBOWT and their Press release is as follows:

‘The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) has welcomed the decision by the Secretary of State to refuse the proposed redevelopment of the Transport Research Laboratories (TRL) site at Crowthorne. The application had previously been turned down by Bracknell Forest Council, but that decision had been appealed by the developers.

Mr Jackson, Head of Policy for BBOWT, said: ?This is a common sense victory for wildlife in Bracknell. The Secretary of State has not said that development can?t take place in Bracknell, nor even that there could not be some development of the TRL site. What he has said though, is that any development must ensure that it properly protects the wildlife of the borough.?

The proposed redevelopment of the old TRL site included 975 houses along with a business park. The site lies very close to the Thames Basin Heaths, which are protected because of their internationally important populations of birds, including nightjars, woodlarks and Dartford warblers. These birds are particularly vulnerable to disturbance from dogs when they are walked on the heaths during the bird breeding season.

A plan to ensure that any new developments around the heaths protect the birds was drawn up by Natural England, the government?s conservation advisors. That plan requires areas where dogs can be walked safely to be created and promoted, and management of the heaths to ensure visitors are aware of the importance of the birds found there. The TRL development proposal set out dog walking land, but BBOWT, the RSPB and Natural England all gave evidence to a planning inquiry that there would, however, be insufficient protection for the heaths. The inquiry Inspector agreed with them, and recommended that the Secretary of State turn down the appeal.’

All birdwatchers are reminded of the importance of submitting records, especially for the more sensitive species. Please do not assume others are submitting them just because others go and see birds in the same place. There are many easy ways to submit you records explained on this website and on

Colin Wilson –

23 June 2009