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Greenwich Residents Express Outrage as IKEA Demolishes Precious Green Space

Greenwich residents have expressed outrage after an irreplaceable pond and ecosystem was bulldozed to make space for IKEA’s new car park on the Greenwich Peninsula.

The pond located near Bugsby’s Way was an important habitat for newts, specialised plants, invertebrates and migratory birds.

It was also a much loved oasis for residents and visitors, who are losing their green spaces with each new development.

Furthermore this ecocide could have been avoided.

Greenwich resident and Friend of the Greenwich Ecology Park Richard Hill said

I spoke to the Land Trust yesterday who are shocked that no one contacted them concerning taking any of the plants and sorting out the pond as we could have found new homes for them and the invertebrates.

We now need to get onto them (IKEA) to find out exactly what is planned and let them know it should be an Eco Park only, no ornamental planting, managed by ecologists.

If Sainsbury’s would have handed the running of the park over to the land trust or TCV this would never have been touched.

Greenwich Green Party Chair Dan Garrun said:

Once again we’ve seen what happens when wealthy developers are allowed to do as they please. The Peninsula has been a goldmine for these companies, is it unreasonable for our Council planners to insist that they protect our green spaces?

There is an air pollution crisis on the Peninsula, the air quality is borderline illegal, so green spaces like this really are a lifeline. These plants literally clean the air, so destroying them is an attack on the community, simple as that.

IKEA do claim serious environmental credentials so I urge them to work much closer with local environmental groups. I also urge our council to do more when developers come knocking. With profits guaranteed, we must insist all development is fully sustainable and low impact.

Volunteers from the Greenwich Green Party tested the air in that exact location over the summer, recording air pollution levels between 36 and 38 μg m-3 (particles per metre cubed) between the pond and Millenium Primary school. DEFRA guidelines record 25 as elevated or dangerous while 40 is considered illegal.

Campaigners from various groups including the Greenwich Green Party and NoIkeaGreenwich campaigned against the new IKEA (set to open in 2018) because it would drive a huge increase in car traffic and congestion through the Borough, causing unacceptable levels of dangerous vehicle emissions.

While IKEA claim the store is ‘the best connected to public transport’ and will contain many sustainable features the reality is you simply can’t take a Billy Bookcase home on the bus.

Before picture courtesy of NoIkeaGreenwich:

Pond habitat before IKEA development. Credit: NoIKEAGreenwich

After picture courtesy of Richard Green:

The same pond habitat after IKEA development. Credit: Richard Green