By wildlife artist Leo du Feu: ‘Trees replaced by cars at the Gateway site?’

Wildlife artist Leo du Feu has questioned the decision to fell the area of trees which has been cleared to make way for the Gateway development.

By wildlife artist Leo du Feu: ‘Trees replaced by cars at the Gateway site?’

“Fife Council are to be congratulated on their efforts towards protection and improvement of environment across the Kingdom.

“The most obvious example to me is the increasing number of wildflower areas in parks and on roadsides, and the number of verges left to grow long. Brilliant for insects, butterflies, bees, birds. Beautiful and interesting to look at…

“I’ve read Fife Council’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) and honestly it’s inspiring stuff. Page 5 gives a list of ‘Ecosystem Services’ (what nature does for us): 
– Regulating Services – improves our air quality.
– Cultural Services – inspiration, recreation and emotional enrichment. Tourism.
– Supporting Services – soil formation, photosynthesis, water and nutrient cycling.
“And a few quotes: 
– “It is difficult to put a monetary value on many of these services, such as the oxygen we breathe… Investing in our natural capital is important for our welfare and
long-term survival. It will also help us save money in the long run.”
– “We are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate… It is human activity that is causing this greatly accelerated loss.”
– “The cumulative impacts of development have been great. Introduced invasive species, pollution, population growth and over-consumption are also to blame.” 
– “What many of us don’t realise is that we are in fact harming ourselves by damaging the biodiversity we rely on.”
“How therefore can Fife Council have felt it in any way acceptable or sensible to go against Community Council and allow the destruction of the beautiful corner of woodland that provided a happy welcome to everyone on the approach to Dalgety Bay?

“I’m an artist, a painter of wildlife and nature. These are what inspire me.

“I don’t live in Dalgety Bay but I visit often and I’ve sat in that little wood, enjoyed the spring bulbs, heard a woodpecker drumming his courtship, watched blackbirds overturning the undergrowth for worms. I’ve imagined hedgehogs snuffling for their night time meal, maybe badgers too, and definitely deer will have used the space.

“Now instead of beauty and biodiversity we have a scene of desolation, of tumbled trees and flattened undergrowth.

“Once the development is complete people arriving in the town will be greeted not by nature but by concrete and cars, and I’ll be able to sit sketching a car park before popping into brand new Aldi – 150 metres away from the Asda superstore that’s already there.

“These little wild spots, places of nature dotted around our urban landscapes, make towns and cities places worth living in. They’re also vital for wildlife and to curb biodiversity loss.

“Unless you’re Trump, it’s indisputable that nature is great for our mental health, that carbon emissions need to be drastically cut, that serious actions need to be taken to prevent us losing hedgehogs and bats and bees and many birds – and our health! – forever.

“Trees replaced by cars? Come on Fife Council, it’s meant to be the other way round now.”

Contributed by Leo du Feu


* Leo du Feu is a local landscape and wildlife artist living in Burntisland and can be found on Facebook.  He is the winner of RSW Alexander Graham Munro Travel Award 2008 and a  recipient of 2010 ROSL Arts Commonwealth Travel Scholarship.

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