Save Tice's Meadow Nature Reserve
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Dear Hanson Quarry Products Europe,
We, the undersigned, would like to take this opportunity to petition you regarding the impending sale of Tice's Meadow Nature Reserve – on the site of your former Farnham Quarry in Badshot Lea, Surrey.
Hanson, working in partnership with the other site stakeholders, have successfully delivered an award-winning restoration of the site, which has developed into a multi award-winning community run nature reserve. The site is used as an example of excellence across the country, including by the Mineral Products Association and the RSPB's Nature After Minerals, and has developed into one of the best inland nature reserves in the south-east, home to many rare and threatened species.
Your nature reserve has also become a hub for volunteering that stretches beyond the reserve's borders and into the local communities, led by the Tice's Meadow Bird Group (TMBG). Hanson should rightly be congratulated for encouraging the development of the TMBG, from a small group of bird watchers, into a highly effective multi award-winning team, with an impressive record of safely delivering numerous ambitious projects, and who have only recently been nominated for a Queen's Award for Excellence. None of this would have been possible without the support and mentorship of Hanson.
Whilst the news of the sale came as a shock to the local community, your reasons for disposal are generally understood and we are not asking you to reconsider the decision. However, concern has been caused by the progress of the sale, particularly the perceived lack of consultation with the local community, local authorities and county wildlife bodies, despite many offers to work together to achieve a satisfactory outcome for Hanson.
The other site stakeholders had hoped to receive some assurance from Hanson at the recent Aftercare & Management Meeting held on Thursday 3rd October. However, the minutes show that Hanson's representative repeatedly refused to offer any form of assurance, and a number of concerning statements regarding the sale process were made, including:
- There will be no test of the new owner's suitability. Hanson's board will not take into account the bidder's intentions, or any reputational damage their intentions may subsequently cause to Hanson, when deciding on a preferred bidder.
- The involvement of the TMBG on site is under threat. Their role on site has not been formalised by Hanson and the new owner will have no obligation to continue to allow them access to site.
All of the site infrastructure paid for and installed by the TMBG – with the express permission of Hanson, and much of which was installed for the Quarry Life Awards competition – may be under threat of being removed by the new owners.
- None of the potential bidders have been in contact with Surrey County Council to discuss the site's regulatory regime, or the various county wildlife bodies to discuss the site's biodiversity and habitat management requirements.
In light of the above, we politely request that you pause and consider that you are not just disposing of a parcel of land, you are selling a cherished community asset and valuable biodiversity resource that you have helped develop. Please do take into account the new owner's suitability when deciding on a preferred bidder, and consider the reputational damage that may be caused to Hanson by selecting an unsuitable new owner. We believe it is in Hanson's long-term interest to leave a sustainable legacy for the local community and environment, that can be held up as an example of your high standards of corporate governance in future.
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