Thousands of rare orchids were destroyed by a council in just one day – as part of plans that have now been halted.
Some 17,000 plants were bulldozed by Kent County Council to make way for a drainage ditch as part of preparations for a No Deal Brexit.
The ditch was supposed to tackle flooding if queues built up on the road to Dover. But now Brexit has been delayed, the plans are no longer active – and it will take more than eight years for the flowerbed to be restored.
Some 17,000 orchids were bulldozed by Kent County Council to make way for a drainage ditch as part of preparations for a No Deal Brexit
The vast patch of orchids at Blue Bell Hill Roadside Nature Reserve had been lovingly maintained by Kent Wildlife Trust volunteers for more than 15 years.
It contained incredibly rare man orchids, alongside pyramidal orchids and common spotted orchids. It was also home to a huge population of bees and 20 different butterfly species.
But now all that remains at the site is a stretch of mud.
Kent County Council has now given the volunteers permission to replant the orchids and restore the bed to its former glory.
Christine Hodgetts, a member of Kent Wildlife Trust, said she was ‘furious’ at the council’s decision ‘to work on a totally unnecessary drainage ditch’.
She wrote online: ‘I’d be interested in joining in restoration work but I’m still furious that this has been made necessary by totally insensitive work.’
The council said they drainage on the A229 needed to be improved ‘to prevent flooding and aquaplaning’
The Kent Wildlife Trust said: ‘Following discussions with Kent County Council we will be working together to restore the Bluebell Hill Roadside Nature Reserve over the next few weeks.
‘This work needs to be done sensitively by hand and KCC will be funding equipment, tools and refreshments for staff and volunteers to join in this effort.
‘This has been a devastating and upsetting event but we are pleased that KCC have recognised this and reacted swiftly to help us put it right.’
A Kent County Council spokesman said: ‘Drainage works were required to improve the existing system to prevent flooding and aquaplaning on the A229.
‘We have met with the Kent Wildlife Trust and will be funding remediation works alongside discussions about the long-term management of the site.’