Sandon green and keen

Fixing not fuming

We are a group of like-minded people, living in Sandon, Herts, in the UK, who believe that preserving and caring for the natural world is on the same page as democracy for people, a sympathetic built environment and debate without fear or favour. We have joined forces with the aim of enhancing the beauty and tranquility of this area, reducing harm to wildlife, and increasing well-being for all inhabitants. This broad palette means we are interested in planning issues, building proposals, wildlife safety, energy sources, and the robustness of the environment.

North Hertfordshire local plan
District council endorses local plan


On 11 April 2017 NHDC voted to submit the local plan to the secretary of state, setting the submission date for the end of the month.  The plan was backed by 29 votes to eight, with three abstentions. The Liberal Democrat district councillor Steve Jarvis voted against the plan.
Find Steve’s Twitter comment At:

Contact for documents Louise Symes: 01462 474359

Proposed changes to local plan – which seem to dilute energy efficiency for new developments and skirt around legal habitat safeguards

On 18 October 2016 NHDC published the local plan draft (submission 2011-2013). See at:, or at the council offices, district libraries and at Stevenage Central, Stevenage Old Town and Luton Central libraries.

Sandon Conservation Group forwarded a comment on the plan – see Planning

Bird spotting
Eurasian dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) Photo: Natural England/Allan Drewitt

Richard Genochio, of the Therfield & Kelshall Natural History Society, writes:

Therfield has been privileged by the arrival [on 26 April 2017 – and still present by the beginning of May] of two pairs of dotterels … read more at Conservation in the County

Sandon Action Group

This spring some residents of Sandon created a group concerned with proposed developments at Sandon Bury Farm in the village. They are issuing weekly updates.

To contact SAG email:

Mike Ayton & Pete Laskey, co-chairs, SAG

Permitted development rights

Change: from light industrial to residential. Starting from 1 October 2017 – and for a temporary stretch of three years – a new permitted development right will allow change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from class B1(c) (light industrial) to class C3 (dwelling houses).

But local authorities can withdraw the rights, using article 4 of the 2015 order. And a change of use will be subject to prior approval from the local authority, with conditions and limitations.

For more info see:

Any unnecessary tree felling in Sandon or nearby?

Let us know

Here’s a story about a man who destroyed trees – as reported by Caerphilly Observer, September (2017)

“A man who illegally chopped down over 200 ‘ancient’ trees in Blackwood has been fined more than £112,000 after failing to appear at a court hearing for a second time.”
Keith Smith was found guilty, on 15 September, of felling about 200 hedgerow beech trees on rented land at Pen y Fan Farm without the necessary licence. The prosecutor said it was believed the 62-year-old, who ‘previously failed to get [planning] permission to do something with the land’ [at Pen y Fan] subsequently felled the trees in ‘revenge’ after objecting to solar panel proposals. The solar panels had gained the ‘green light’ from Caerphilly county borough council’s planning committee and were to be installed at the same farm.

Natural Resources Wales would reportedly not have granted Smith a felling permit because the trees were mature, formed part of an ancient hedgerow and provided a valuable wildlife habitat.

See full story at: /news/966182/blackwood-farmer-handed-112000-fine-over-illegal-felling-of-200-trees-near-blackwood/

Protecting trees

Developments could need planning permission and the issue of trees, their retention, felling, pruning, and replacement, will be a part of the deliberation process.

Protected trees: Deliberately destroying a tree, or damaging it in a manner likely to destroy it, could mean a fine of up to £25,000 following conviction at a magistrate’s court Other offences, such as unauthorised pruning, can carry a fine of up to £2,500.
You will normally have to plant a replacement tree if the tree is cut down or destroyed.

Info from:

Sandon Bio Survey


Our first local bio survey took place September 2016. Quite a few households took time to identify species and record them, which was very encouraging. And the results threw up finds that included the rare, as well as the prolific – and, unfortunately, some sad, not so unexpected, absences.

See more at … Conservation in the county

All the survey bird and mammal species were spotted. People listed additional birds – owls, fieldfares, skylarks. A weasel, a stoat and pipistrelle bats were seen.

While it can be hard to find let alone identify insects, such as the dragonflies, which may not frequent gardens much anyway, we suspected the same could not be said for native ladybirds – yet few households recorded them. Harlequin ladybirds, introduced to the US in the 80s as a biological control agent, especially against aphids, have been in Britain since 2004 and scientists think they may be too tough a competitor for the native two-spots.

But better news. The distinction award goes to the great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) living on Roe Green. This amphibian has declined significantly. So among all the precious residents we have a rarity.

And here is one of Sandon’s great crested newts:

Roe green newt1

North Herts draft local plan approved

Baldock residents appalled. See Planning

Brexit: Red alert for environment


Weaker environmental protection from now – see the Guardian story covering wildlife, green energy, climate change, farming, and the impact of skewed financial investments that were backing a safer, cleaner, Britain

Why do hedgerows matter?

Here’s a good rundown from Buglife


The Herts Environmental Records Centre reports that it has now acquired more than two million records on species, sites and habitats. See Projects

Open Democracy

“Here’s ado, To lock up … from the access of gentle visitors!” The Winter’s Tale

Mark Twain surmised: “Supposing is good, but finding out is better.” We thought our council planners seemed to be locked in, sequestered by the scheme of things. Soooo, we’ve unchained them! See Planning