Images of flood on
the day of the battle
panoramas of the battle site
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This is a sad tale of water voles who got in the way of the planning
IN early 2012, the whole zone was
sterilised of water-voles. Both banks have been cleared. It is illegal and those
who did it know that - but they will probably get away with it and the rules
might even reward them because, if there are no water-voles when the area is
surveyed there is no need to change the plan.
This is a water vole (taken near Sheffield). They are shy
and, because they are supposed to enjoy protection, we did not try to
photograph or interfere with the voles that thrive along Germany Beck during the
I would like to make it clear that no criticism of the
Police is intended or implied - They are the only 'good guys' in this sad
- As we worked along the Beck we often heard voles 'plop' into the water
but you don't often see these shy mammals.
- There was lots of evidence of tracks and holes and this was presented
at the public Inquiry.
- But the water voles do not officially exist - They don't exist because
the powers that be decided not to look for them.
- There are two thriving colonies - with a blank space between them.
- In February I spotted that the voles were re-colonising the area so I
wrote to officialdom.
- Letters were not answered so I made a
- In spite of my efforts, the habitat was destroyed,
so I told the police.
- They know who did it but prosecution was not considered possible.
- This links to the timetable I provided for
- But there is some evidence that at
least some of the voles survived (Jan 2010)
IN February 2009, when the vegetation had died back, these holes were
visible. It is very hard to reach the bank from which these pictures were
taken, and special permission and safety equipment was required to reach
We were looking for a battlefield so we had talked with Natural England (aka
English Nature) to make sure we did not disrupt or destroy wildlife during
What a shame that those who are supposed to be responsible did not do
This habitat was raised during the public inquiry
and evidence presented. The inspector
concluded that there was no evidence for water voles even though he was
shown one of the tunnels during his site visit.
City of York,
some vole tracks (you have to look hard!) snapped during one walk along the
beck. We observed that the tracks seem to 'migrate' away from the river -
perhaps that represents their direction of colonisation.
- right - the habitat scraped clean. This image was taken from almost
exactly the same location as the images above - The position has marked
with an industrial GPS when some soil cores were being taken.
- Below - The marks left by the digger. It is a criminal offence to
damage water vole habitats. It is not clear from the image of this stretch
of the beck at the destruction has significantly widened the flow. And
this widening was not continued further back. It was only the portion
where there was evidence of water vole holes that was scraped.
- Below, right - The whole of the area covered by the images where
vole-holes were seen.
The big question
Now that the habitat has been destroyed - does it remove it as a
consideration for the planners?
It cannot be right that those with a financial interest in this land can
start by denying the existence of water voles and then benefit by the
destruction of the voles habitat.
And there is some good news - The other colonies of
water voles are thriving when I last checked so they will be back. (Nvo 2009)
Jan 2010 - While they have destroyed the habitat to
on the north bank, it looks as if there is a colony already established
immediately opposite, on the south bank. Did the colony move or did I miss the
evidence when I last checked?
My correspondence with
City of York,