Immediate release July 16 1996
Peaceful demonstration accompanies destruction of Snail's Habitat
Local residents and campaigners today gathered at Bagnor, one of the sites of the rare Desmoulin's Whorl Snail as the Highway's Agency started the process of attempting to relocating it. The snail which dates from the ice age is one on a European Community list of threatened species. Campaigners believe this incident further highlights the inadequacy of the Environmental Impact Assessment and bemoaned that this information was not available to the inspector at the 1988 public enquiry. The snail is highly site specific and it's habitat has never been successfully relocated. The Highways Agency has refused to undertake a trial relocation. Experts are divided about the likely success of the attempted relocation.
Dr Martin Willing, one of this Country's foremost conconologist has said
"relocation is not the answer to habitat loss, but merely an experiment with an unknown outcome ... I am afraid that I can only view the relocation proposals as trying to address a complex and, in my judgement, probably unsolvable, problem in a naive and simplistic manner with no sound or accepted scientific foundation"
Andrew Wood of Newbury Friends of the Earth added
"The new location for the snail lies 100 yards from the bypass and is surrounded by a 100 acre gravel pit. It represents a grave for a rare and endangered species rather rather than a new home. The attempted relocation of the Desmoulin's Whorl Snail is little more than a publicity exercise especially when one considers that non road building alternatives exist. This incident must bring into question the Government's commitment to retaining our most rare and endangered species."
Further information contact Newbury Friends of the Earth office: 01635 45544
BBONT (Berkshire Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire Naturalists' Trust) press officer Jessica Wenban-Smith 01865 775476 is also available for comment.