Petition is successful with 46,080 signatures
To: Wealden District Council
Help stop Wealden District Council from forcing Pete to destroy his life's work.
We won the campaign! All of the demands have been met and Wealden Council and The Planning department are going to leave Pete alone.
(A special thanks to Sana for getting in touch and promoting the petition further and giving me advice)
- Retract their demands for Pete to destroy his life's work, including his 180 native plants which are used for educational purposes and to provided bio diversity to other ponds.
- Retract their demand of removing a fox Pete has in his garden
- Retract their demand for Pete to remove all the 'recyclable materials' in his garden, which he uses to build bird, bug houses and wooden wildlife arches
Why is this important?
Pete has been told by Wealden District Council that he must either remove or destroy everything in his garden within 28 days due to the Council seeing Pete’s aquatic nursery as a ‘commercial enterprise’(1) and their objection to Pete using recyclable materials to build wooden wildlife arches, bird and bug houses. Pete has been told the removal of all of the contents of his garden and restoring it to it’s originality would cost him £10,000!
Pete’s aquatic nursery contains 180 native and rare plant species which he has grown himself throughout his life and are used for educational and research purposes and also to grow plants to be put back into other ponds to create biodiversity for the native fauna and flora(2).
I have also been told that Great Crested Newts currently reside and/or have resided in some of the ponds in Pete's garden*; this is important because GCN's are a European protected species, where “The animals and their eggs, breeding sites and resting places are protected by law”(3)
Pete’s daughter, Kerrie, has described Pete’s work of building ponds and creating natural habitats as his “full time job and passion”(4) and Pete himself has described it as his "complete life", "sanctuary" and “lifetime hobby"(5).It’s not a 'commercial enterprise' as WDC are demanding it is, a definition that seems to be the raging bull behind their decision.
This direct quote from Pete is exactly why Wealden Council must be forced to retract their demands of Pete: "There are so many species of birds and insects in my garden, so many to list, but I have many varieties of amphibians, larvae, fish, pond snails, insects, sparrows, blue tits, Robins, who take benefit of the bug and bird houses I create using recycled goods, also bees, I make bee houses from old tin cans which are very popular in season oh and of course my fox who has been a resident in my garden for 2 years"(6).
Wealden Council also want Pete to remove the aforementioned Fox, calling it 'vermin'(7), which is factually and legally incorrect, see quote below:
“As for the fox, I understand someone mentioned they are ‘vermin’. I can state, categorically, that foxes are not and have never been officially categorised as ‘vermin’ in law. For that reason, local authorities have neither an obligation nor a legal responsibility to deal with foxes in the manner they have with rodents and specific species of insects and birds. Frankly, if you choose to allow a fox to reside on your own private premises, that is your choice"(8).
As most of Britain’s ponds have disappeared, they are now classed as an endangered habitat and 50 years ago, there were twice as many ponds as there are today(9). If WDC's demands go through, this can and will only have a negative impact; resulting in the direct and indirect loss of important biodiversity, habitats and rare plant and wildlife species, only adding to our current biodiversity crisis.
WDC must see that issues concerning the environment are hugely important to all of our lives and us.
What Pete, his family and all the volunteers do for the community, planet and wildlife is of the purest intention of the heart and wouldn't be possible without his garden.
* I am awaiting further confirmation and evidence on this due to the monumental importance of this point, along with the potentially huge change in trajectory if shown as fact. I want it to be officially stated as true or false as I do not wish to sway the case in my favour, waste people's time or garner signatures based on a claim that cannot be proven officially; will keep everyone posted ASAP.
Thanks for all the support, shares, messages and words of advice so far.
‘YouTube video, Save Pete the Pond’s Garden!’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSmrhcTaOLQ
5) Quote taken directly from Pete from a private message between me and him on Facebook
6) Quote taken directly from Pete from a private message between me and him on Facebook