Sir David Attenborough has again intervened in the fight to stop 500 homes being built next to an ancient York nature reserve.

Sir David, who has called the 120-acre peat bog “irreplaceable”, talked to parliamentarians about the serious impact climate change is having on the Polar Regions and the threat of this on our planet on Monday (February 4).


Following the talk, York Central MP, Rachael Maskell talked to the broadcaster and naturalist.

Rachael Maskell said “David Attenborough urged me to try and stop the proposed housing development adjacent to Askham Bog.

“Having already met with the Wildlife Trust, there are many sites across York where development can take place.

“However any alterations to the environment surrounding the bog will have serious consequences for this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).”

Negative impact

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust chief executive Rob Stoneman shows Sir David Attenborough round Askham Bog nature reserve. Photograph: Tom Marshall, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
She described Askham Bog as “a favourite place for so many of us to visit” and home to some unique species, adding:

  • Changes in our climate are already impacting the site, but it is clear that any changes in the way the water flows could have a further detrimental impact on the bog.

    Once it has gone, we will not be able to get it back. Even with the housing developers seeking to put water diversions into their plans, this development will still have a negative impact.


While York “urgently needs affordable and social housing” the MP called on planners to ditch the proposal by developers Barwood Land for a site on Moor Lane, close to the reserve.

“When you have such a renowned expert calling for a moratorium on this planning development on this site, those making the decision must heed such wisdom and evidence and reject this plan.”