Notts Residents Rally to Stop "Bulldozer Bill" Threatening Sherwood Forest

Words: Emma Oldham
Photos: David Reed
Friday 27 January 2023
reading time: min, words

Newark locals are never ones to take an environmental battle lying down, and this Sunday they rally to stop the "Bulldozer Bill" threatening our wildlife and endangered species. This threatens Nottinghamshire's broader natural commons, including our cherished Sherwood Forest, explains campaigner and conservationist Emma Oldham...


Once again an army of residents is taking to the streets of Newark this Sunday to stand up for nature, and it’s expected to be a big one. Hundreds of passionate people have committed to attending a ‘Bin the Bulldozer Bill’ rally, in determination to protect the laws that protect our beloved and declining wildlife. 

Stopping what’s officially dubbed the Retained EU Law Bill is crucial. With over 1,000 laws originating in our EU membership protecting nature and wildlife now at risk, precious places such as ancient woodlands like our historic Sherwood Forest will lose their legal protections, along with those protecting vulnerable animals - including otters, dolphins and peregrines. 

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson says: “This bill is an attack on nature – that’s why we’ve called it the ‘Bulldozer Bill’ – because that is exactly what it’ll do. It could destroy laws that protect our most precious wild places and the species that depend on them. It would be appalling if developers could apply to build on currently protected wildlife areas if protections for vulnerable species such as otters are lost.”

The new bill could also result in increasing sewage disposal on our rivers and coastlines and more use of pesticides; situations that hardly need making any worse. In 2020 alone, the Environment Agency reported that water companies discharged raw sewage into rivers in England more than 400,000 times.

Rising up for nature isn’t a new scene for Newark. The last two years have seen an incredible groundswell of community and grassroots movement, acting with devotion and unity in protecting Newark’s dwindling green spaces. 

Many of us who have grown up here, or even moved to Newark in just the last few years, have seen development grow at an alarming rate, engulfing our wildlife and stripping away valuable wild spaces. We’ve had enough. Across various groups and communities, there has been an abundance of rallies, peaceful protests, nature walks, litter picks, community events and petition hand-ins, fighting to protect central, intrinsic green areas. 

Paying tribute to some of the places we’ve saved and to some that we’re still fighting for, the rally will pass key areas and start at two pivotal locations now famous to Newark: Newark Library Gardens (1pm) and Balderton Lake, Heron Car Park (1.30pm). The rally will end at the YMCA Newark and Sherwood - the new home of our Newark MP, Robert Jenrick’s office.  We’ll be urging him to call for the retained EU law bill - also known as the ‘wrecking bill’ - to be withdrawn. 

We need to demand our Government withdraw the retained EU law bill immediately. This family-friendly rally allows you to do just that. Hosted by Protect Newark’s Green spaces, banners, placards, whistles and drums are welcome. We aim to fill special postbags with children’s posters and artwork and copies of an open letter (which will be available to sign on the day) and hand them to our Newark MP, Robert Jenrick.  

I encourage the people of Newark and surrounding villages to stand in solidarity with us and other concerned national NGOs including The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and Woodland Trust against what many are calling an attack on nature. Nottinghamshire is suffering from a nature and climate emergency and the UK is currently one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. 

If you can’t attend the rally, please email, tweet or write a letter to your MP asking them to withdraw this harmful legislation immediately. 

We will not let our local and national wildlife treasures be under threat. To save Britain’s wildlife, MPs must kill this bill. 

Follow Protect Newark’s Green Spaces on Facebook

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