I read with concern all the comments in your newspaper (30th January), from the local Wildlife Trust regarding habitat that would be damaged if anyone dared to utilize the small amounts of land required to run a single tram line through to Ilkeston via Kimberley and Eastwood.
Largely upon existing infrastructure. Take a seat please and allow me , if I may, to impart a little wisdom.
1) It is axiomatic that whenever railways or trams are concerned the local wildlife trusts, insist on making out the rare habitat is being damaged.
Ignoring the adaptability of most of our wildlife in this country.
The realities are this: a) Any railway line or tram that is reinstated uses a mere fraction of land (and therefore displacement of wildlife) when compared to road widening, new A roads or indeed whole motorway sections. When, mark you, the wildlife organisations are strangely silent about whenever it comes to the huge amounts of construction that take place.
Yet a thin corridor of land, namely a former railway line, is used, usually for a short distance only, and you have the most almighty row that starts up about endangered species.
The assumption being that wildlife cannot recolonise elsewhere, like ten yards away in the trees or beneath them, and just carry on with their lives.
b) Where I live in Hempshill Vale there appeared, in 2008, just across from Low Wood Road, a large board beside the former GNR avoiding line that went through Hempshill and on to Kimberley in the 1960s.
It said: The Nuthall Multi User Railway footpath. With a telephone number for a council office in Nottingham. I rang this number and got told that the pathway, which was to one side of the track bed (covered over by swampy bracken and gorse and no use to either God nor man), had been part of a council project since 1988 and was still on-going.
Twenty years in the planning. The council official, I shall always remember this, told me that the pathway, which is also designed for bike use, would have been in use long ago if it had not been for the Wildlife groups in the area constantly complaining about walkers and cyclists going along and disrupting the wildlife! The official telling me that it was all part of a cycle way that was supposed to reach down into the city centre.
The wildlife trust was not complaining about a railway line mark you, this was a simple path for walkers and bikers that the ecological lot did not want built as it would spoil rare habitat. c) The Wildlife Trust make a reference to people always taking the easy option (quote) of using old railways when they want to bring back trains or trams; They roll out this old chestnut whenever railways are mentioned. The railway infrastructure, built at great cost by the Victorians and Edwardians, was built to last and take such railways . That is what they are for now! Why cant you understand this!
What in heavens name do you think the former railway lines are for?
2) I have argued, and will continue to argue for the new tram line to go through Kimberley to Eastwood and thence round in a short spur to the new railway station to be built at Ilkeston.
Through all the other areas such as Kimberley, to pick up passengers and generate business for the communities.
That way we maximise the environment, business and the residential communities in the area. For this generation and the next and the next after that. We cannot afford to put our head in the sand anymore when it comes to the re development public rail and tram infrastructure.
The Wildlife Trusts can rest assured that the birds, the mice, the rats, and all the species of insect will doubtless shift themselves further over into the existing embankments.
So doing away with all the grotty bracken and muddy swamp that has grown up in the bottom of the railway cuttings since Dr Beeching swung his railway axe in 1967.
Thereby doing his best to help ruin the transport system of this country which is now, bit by very little bit, being restored. Despite all the do Gooders trying to work the thing otherwise!