We have covered this story over the past couple of years from the early fight to save it from the QPR training ground plans to the current efforts to have it designated a nature reserve. This is the latest press release from the Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign:
29 June 2021
‘The petition to designate Warren Farm in Ealing, West London, as a Local Nature Reserve has been signed by over 10,000 people, less than 6 months after it was launched. The growing support for the proposal was recognised by the new Ealing Council Leader Peter Mason who met with campaigners on Warren Farm last month to discuss the future of the site.
The proposal to designate Warren Farm and surrounding meadows by the River Brent as a statutory Local Nature Reserve (LNR), was developed by the Brent River & Canal Society (BRCS), which – under its founder Luke Fitzherbert – campaigned successfully to create the Brent River Park (BRP) in the 1970s. The Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign group was launched in January of this year.
Since Ealing Council stopped using Warren Farm as a sports facility, the meadows have rewilded and now form a unique urban grassland. Species of birds, mammals, plants, reptiles and insects – which are rare in London – have been recorded thriving on the land. This proposal would preserve the meadows for future generations and ensure the protection of its rare and endangered species such as the Skylark, a red-listed bird facing UK extinction.
The BRCS and Warren Farm Nature Reserve campaign, which was initially inspired by young conservationist Kabir Kaul, has also gained the backing of some prominent environmental campaigners, such as Lord Randall of Uxbridge, forensic botanist Mark A Spencer, Barn Owl Trust, West London Ramblers and London National Park City. The inclusion of Warren Farm in CPRE London’s ‘Ten New Parks’ campaign recently featured on a BBC London news report.
With councils across London facing challenging biodiversity net gain targets, areas like Warren Farm have assumed a critical importance. It is highly unlikely that Ealing Council would achieve its climate emergency goals if this species-rich site were to be developed.
BRCS Trustee and campaign organiser Katie Boyles commented:
“We are absolutely delighted to have achieved 10,000 signatures on our petition within 6 months of starting the campaign. London has just half the green space it needs for a population of its size. Lockdown has opened peoples’ eyes to the importance of local nature and it is clear from the huge level of support we are receiving that residents want to see green spaces like Warren Farm protected.
We were recently invited on a walk around Warren Farm with Peter Mason. Together we discussed the possibility of some limited sporting usage, but our position remains that our rewilded meadow must be left to nature.
We simply cannot afford to lose this vast wildflower habitat. The biodiversity loss would be catastrophic for Ealing. We have plant species recorded growing here that are facing UK extinction and our proposal fulfils goals set within the council’s own policies in their Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy. We are in conversation with the council and this is how change begins. Now it’s over to the Leader of Ealing Council and the Mayor of London to make this happen.”
BRCS trustee and local naturalist Phil Belman said:
“We have asked Peter Mason to initiate those aspects of our Vision which do not depend on any decision on sport. This includes completing Local Nature Reserve procedures for the Brent River Park Meadows, already approved by councillors, improving public access and signage at Warren Farm, starting LNR negotiations with adjacent landowners and bringing in new byelaws.
Councillor Mason has committed to deliver Ealing Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy and new Biodiversity Action Plan. The BRCS Vision is an acid test of his leadership and good intentions, and we expect him to take this opportunity to deliver actions, not just words.
The people of Ealing want our politicians to do the right thing and save the meadows of Warren Farm for future generations to enjoy. 10,000 people wait to hear.’