The skylarks of Wanstead Flats have been an important part of the biodiversity of the area for many years.

If you are taking an Easter walk across Wanstead Flats you may be lucky enough to hear and see one - that mesmeric song, as they ascend helicopter-like into the air.

Wanstead Flats has been an important site for the little bird for many years.

However, together with many of our other native birds, the skylarks' numbers have been dwindling. Some remain but they need our help and protection, if numbers are to be restored.

It was this challenge that led a few years ago to a small part of the Flats being cordoned off for the nesting season (between March and August). The temporary fence around a few acres adjacent to the Centre Road car park helped skylark numbers recover. It has been a slow process but some progress has been made.

This year, however, some human beings have decided that despite the huge space available, they want to walk through this specific area. It is not clear why, whether they are anti-skylark or anti-nature generally. Or maybe anti-people? 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Donovan is angry that some visitors to Wanstead Flats are ignoring noticesPaul Donovan is angry that some visitors to Wanstead Flats are ignoring notices

They have repeatedly cut and vandalised the fence put up by the City of London Corporation (CoLC) to protect the skylarks. It is all very frustrating but also difficult to fathom. 

There has never been a problem before. There are notices explaining what is going on. The local Wren Group are regularly in the area, explaining why the fences are up for this limited period. But it seems this year, some people just don't want to cooperate.

The Flats and Wanstead Park form a large part of the biodiversity mosaic of the area. We are lucky to have so many migrant birds coming through Wanstead. The rewilding efforts, and the fantastic cows in the park - all is to be applauded. 

Local people love the area but we are also the custodians for the future. It will be a sad legacy for future generations if we destroy the habitat and presence of skylarks and other wildlife.

There is already the scourge of rubbish dropped and dumped everywhere. It is only due to the heroic efforts of volunteers and the COLC that this is kept under control.

If recent years have taught us anything then it must be that no one is an island. All are dependent on each other and need to cooperate to survive but some, for whatever reason, seem determined to destroy things.

The destruction will take us all under, so let's come together to look after our precious Flats and Park, ensuring it lives on into the future - show your support by signing this petition:

  • Paul Donovan is Labour councillor for Wanstead Village ward, Redbridge Council and a blogger (