CONSERVATIONISTS say the ‘DIY bypass’ east of Hereford is a threat to wildlife and a scar on the landscape near the nationally important Lugg Meadows nature reserve.

Engineers started building the farm access road in September which will allow deliveries to and from the anaerobic digester plant at Court Farm in Hampton Bishop.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust representatives fear this new access road poses a threat to the few remaining curlews in the area as it is just yards from the site of special scientific interest.

Conservation senior manager Andrew Nixon said: “The road is a visual scar on a traditional meadow landscape that has persisted for centuries.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact it will have on the adjacent Lugg and Hampton Meadows site of special scientific interest and the River Lugg special area of conservation as well as the loss of good quality meadow grassland along the route itself.

“The impact of the road on the few remaining pairs of breeding curlew on the adjacent meadow is also of serious concern.”

He said the curlew is one of our most rapidly declining breeding bird species.

Numbers have declined by 46% decline across the UK from 1994 to 2010.

“Herefordshire Wildlife Trust objected to the proposed road development in 2016 based on these concerns,” he said.

“We are therefore surprised and very disappointed that the statutory bodies have concluded such a significant development will not have a detrimental impact on the designated features of both the SSSI and SAC.

“This development demonstrates the awful impacts road developments have on our natural environment.

“It is clear that the past proposal for an eastern route relief road would have had devastating impacts on the Lugg SSSI meadows and the River Lugg SAC had it ever come to fruition.

“With further major road building schemes planned within the county, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust will expect statutory bodies to ensure that the county’s wildlife and species are properly protected and will work hard to hold them to account.”

Herefordshire Council granted planning permission in April 2017 for the scheme which the Hereford Times recently said acted as a ‘DIY bypass’ as it will provide a private link from the Hampton Bishop road to the Ledbury road on the edge of the city boundary.

The eastern route for a city bypass has been continuously ruled out by the county council’s current administration due to environmental constraints.