Back in 2014 Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham & Rainham was contacted by local residents with their concerns about the purchase of land at Ingrebourne Hill from the council for the extension of the existing waste fill site. The decision has been met with ongoing resistance.

Being one of few untouched green spaces in the local area, both residents and local Councillors as well as Jon Cruddas MP raised the issue.

Unfortunately the initial decision was taken and passed by Havering council.

Here’s what Jon had to say at the time: “Amidst a recent spate of poor decisions in the south of the borough it seems that the residents have been overlooked again by Having Council. Moving forward all we can do is ensure that the site meets all necessary guidelines and does not impact upon the rest of the park. I will continue to do all I can to hold the council to account and address any issues or concerns raised about the site.”

Now over a year later the issue is being reignited by the fresh concerns brought forward by Havering friends of the earth; the local branch of the widely recognised global environmental organisation.

“Havering Friends of the Earth are very concerned that Ingrebourne Valley Ltd have appealed against the rejection by the council of their plans to dump thousands of tons of rubble between Ingrebourne Hill and Hornchurch Country Park.”

The organisation strongly oppose these plans.  As the country park, which is in the green belt, is a nationally important site of special scientific interest. It supports a wide variety of flora and fauna, and the river Ingrebourne has the largest area of continuous reed bed left in London. The Friends of the earth believe that such biodiversity is essential for our wellbeing, and if we don’t protect it we will be left with nothing but dust and pollution.

The Havering Friends have also expressed their views about the length of time that the proposed plans would take to be installed as well as their concerns about noise, dust and pollution. The previous operation allegedly overran by several years.

The Organisation has also highlighted the environmental importance of the site.

“We believe that the proposals misunderstand the importance of the existing landscape: rough grass areas are ecologically significant, and provide rich habitats for wildlife when left alone. Many species of wild flowers, invertebrates, small mammals such as rodents, reptiles and amphibians have created their own environment since the previous disruption.”

The area as it stands includes meadows and marshes which are ideal hunting grounds for barn owls, kestrels and marsh harriers. Sixty one species of bird breed regularly in the area, including reed buntings, reed warblers and sedge warblers, cuckoos, water rail and kingfishers.

The friends of Havering have made it clear they believe all of this would be destroyed by the proposal. “No amount of re-planting or constructing new ponds etc. will save the wildlife from this ecological vandalism.”

Jon Commented: I am still very much opposed to these expansion plans. I have been contacted by many residents on this issue and as the local Member of Parliament I will contact the Council on behalf of residents.

Jon Cruddas will be contacting Havering Council to find out more about this issue and will inform residents of any further developments. In the meantime if any resident wishes to discuss the issue please email: cruddasj@hotmail.com