Mystery surrounds the destruction of a much-loved wildflower habitat on an estate in Tottenham – an act Haringey Council has dubbed “ecological vandalism”.

Residents of Ferry Lane Estate were shocked to find the area of wildflowers, part of an “important corridor for wildlife”, had been mown down earlier this month.

The council has urged anyone with any information about the incident to contact the police.

Jeanette Sitton, nature officer at Ferry Lane Action Group (Flag), said the wildflowers ran along the length of a woodland and meadow in a “long-established ecological corridor”.


A photo of the wildflower habitat before it was destroyed (Credit Jeanette Sitton)

A photo of the wildflower habitat before it was destroyed (Credit Jeanette Sitton)


She added: “It is very important to local residents, in the most part because it is a pretty resting site. It is very, very lovely.

“Residents use it for dog walking and, in the woodland, they look at the birds and wildlife. Some residents watch the hedgehogs coming through the fence into the ecological corridor. We even have a great spotted woodpecker. There are a lot of nature lovers on the estate, and a lot who live locally.

“All this is made worse still by potentially endangering ground-nesting birds – the chicks in particular. This is their nesting season.”

Ms Sitton said the vast majority of residents had not been consulted before the flowers were destroyed, and the council had not given permission for them to be cut down. She claimed a resident of the estate was responsible and suggested they had done it “because they do not like the area looking natural and wild”.


A photo of the wildflower habitat after it was cut down (Credit Jeanette Sitton)

A photo of the wildflower habitat after it was cut down (Credit Jeanette Sitton)


Quentin Given, a spokesperson for Flag, said: “Ferry Lane is a pretty, green estate, and having trees and birds and so on is one of the things that people value about the area.

“Over the years, there has been a habitat developed with some wildflowers, brambles and other things. It has been quite a rich area for birds, butterflies and other animals.”

Mr Given said there had been a “dispute” between some residents “over how much grass should be mowed”, but this should have been resolved through discussion and compromise.

He added that Haringey Council had been looking at the area as a potential new site of importance for nature conservation, which would give it added protection.


A photo of the wildflower habitat after it was cut down (Credit Jeanette Sitton)

A photo of the wildflower habitat after it was cut down (Credit Jeanette Sitton)


He said: “Together with the railway line, it provides quite an important corridor for wildlife and mammals; hedgehogs, moths, butterflies and so on.”

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: “We are shocked to hear that a wildflower habitat on the Ferry Lane Estate had been irresponsibly and selfishly destroyed.

“Anybody with any information regarding the identity of the perpetrator or perpetrators of this act of environmental vandalism should contact the police.

“It’s important to all of us who value the local environment here in Haringey, including ourselves at the local authority, that distressing incidents such as this one are not repeated.

“Council officers are continuing to liaise with Flag and other associated stakeholders to help ensure the biodiversity and ecology of the site is replenished, preserved and protected going forward.”

Armadale Close resident Cordelia Donohoe said: “Sheltered housing residents on Ferry Lane Estate voted unanimously in their residents association to clear some nettle and bramble along the fence opposite their housing, in order to save a hawthorn hedge planted by TCV [The Conservation Volunteers] which was being drowned out. A wildflower meadow was not destroyed at all. That is a complete distortion of the facts. It was never formally declared a site of importance.

“The council officer quoted as saying that it was selfishly destroyed was obviously not aware of the situation. There are ongoing talks with the other residents association on the estate, Flag, and differences of opinion on how the area that surrounds the elderly and disabled residents is maintained.

“More generally, Flag has never consulted residents on how the grounds should be maintained and we often find ourselves drowning in high grass, poisonous and dangerous plants, overgrown nettle bushes surrounding play areas and amenity areas that no-one can actually use.

“Notions of biodiversity are being bandied about, but being overrun with nettle and bramble does not biodiversity make. Land needs management to encourage a diversity of species.

"The primary species on a housing estate’s amenity areas should be humans, including the elderly, the disabled and children. Roadside verges and woodland are a different case.”

The Metropolitan Police Service was approached for comment.