May 19 2013 Latest news:
by John Phillips , Senior Reporter
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
An environmentalist has warned that work to turn a protected park into an Olympic training ground risks harming its wildlife.
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) member Wendy Perren, 61, spoke out after workers built a throwing cage, fences and other facilities to let athletes train at Mayesbrook Park in Lodge Avenue, Dagenham, during the Games.
The 40-hectare park includes a small reserve for nesting birds and Barking and Dagenham Council says its brook has become a “haven for wildlife”.
Ms Perren fears it could take years for wildfowl and birds such as mallards, Canadian geese and song thrushes driven away by noise and air pollution to return to the park.
She said smells from lorries and workers building new surfaces at the park were so bad, her partner Paul Moore had suffered his first asthma attacks in two decades.
Ms Perren, of Lodge Avenue, said: “It’s just a living hell. It is not fair on the residents who live here.”
Mr Moore, 61, said: “I have been here for 30 years. In that time I have never seen devastation on this scale in the park.”
The RSPB said it had received complaints from residents but had been unable to pursue them for lack of resources.
An RSPB spokesman said: “Residents concerned by the temporary Olympic use have contacted us, but the park’s designation and the temporary proposals do not meet the criteria we have set for committing our stretched resources.”
The council says on its website that works are under way to turn Mayesbrook Park into Britain’s first “climate change park” and the brook had become a “haven for wildlife”.
A council spokesman told the Post: “The work for the Olympics is of a temporary nature and as a result will not unduly disturb the park’s wildlife. Whilst Mayesbrook Park is being managed for climate change and wildlife conservation, it is also managed for community access, recreation and sport.”