Operation Bluebell: safeguarding the flora of Hollington Valley
April 3, 2016 by combehavendefenders
On Saturday 2 April, local residents gathered in Hollington Valley for Operation Bluebell: civil disobedience to protect some of the flora of the valley. Although a legal process against the Queensway Gateway road is still in train, participants wanted to preserve some of the bluebells from ongoing work on the site, with the intention of returning them once the future of Hollington Valley is secure.
The large oaks on the eastern edge of the site, near Whitworth Road, were surrounded by bluebells – see the photo below. Tragically, the oaks were felled last spring, cut down by SeaChange contractors in order to allow a road and business park to be built on top of our beautiful wildlife site. But the bluebells came up again, and will soon be in flower.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is an offence to uproot any wild plant. Conveniently, this law appears not to apply to SeaChange, who have uprooted plants and trees over vast areas of countryside in and around Hastings over the past few years, for no good reason. However, undeterred by the legal aspect of the situation, we carried on, gently digging up some of the bluebells and taking them away for safekeeping. Nobody came to arrest us, and our bluebells will be cherished until they can be returned to their rightful home.