Fairlop Plain – Site of Metropolitan? Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC or SMI)

Fairlop Plain including Fairlop Waters Country Park covers an area of 593 hectares of Green Belt. Consisting of: lakes, wetlands, semi-improved and improved neutral grassland, meadows, nature reserve, hedgerows and arable farmland is a recognised Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) (currently Borough Grade 1 Site Re.BI02 Fairlop Plain & Fairlop Waters), adopted in the Local Plan. It also extends into London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and Havering.

In 2016 the GLA recommended upgrading to Site of Metropolitan Importance (SMI).

Green Belt Map - Fairlop Plain
  • Largest SINC in London.
  • Virtually impossible to recreate.
  • Rare & valuable habitats including farmland.
  • Important for conservation on a Metropolitan level.
  • Diverse range of habitats and species including nationally rare species
  • Great Crested Newts, Farmland birds, Nesting Sand Martin, Little ringed plovers, Golden plovers, Waterfowl including diving ducks, Breeding yellowhammer, Skylark, Corn bunting (one of largest colonies in London)
  • Brown hares, sparrow, dunnock, kestrel, barn owl, starlings.
  • Farmland a rare sight in London, ancient character of countryside.
  • Nature Reserve.

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Wes Streeting MP signed a pledge to protect green belt land in the borough having met with representatives from Aldborough Hatch Defence Association, Seven Kings and Newbury Park Residents Association, Barkingside 21, Hainault Forest wardens, local farmers, SOS, as well as others: “defend the Redbridge green belt for current and future generations and to oppose any plans to build on it”.

Council Leader Jas Athwal local forums 2021 included several references to Fairlop Plain and Fairlop Waters. East Forum 23 Mar 2021 “when people um say well there’s no development where would the council build would they build on green belt they can’t do that

“the green belt is simply not something we can build upon. but what we have done is made sure that we expanded the Green Belt, expanded Fairlop Waters to double the size” Cllr Jas Athwal 23 Mar 2021.

This is not entirely accurate as the areas being used to expand Fairlop Waters are already within the Green Belt, although not part of Fairlop Waters they are currently part of Fairlop Plain.

Surely now is the time to ratify the GLA’s recommended upgrade for Fairlop Plain including Fairlop Waters and farmlands to Site of Metropolitan Importance (SMI) ?