Anglers and bird watchers in Reading and West Berkshire were today celebrating the news that the Government has rejected the recommendations of the panel looking at development potential in the South East to include Kennet meadows as a ‘strategic development area’. This followed a vigorous campaign by Martin Salter MP, local councillors, residents groups, bird watchers, anglers and walkers.

Today’s announcement by the Government said:

‘The strategic development area South West of Reading has not been carried forward because of concerns about its potential for flood risk.’

The campaign to save Kennet Meadows stretches back over 20 years and the latest threat came from Prudential’s plans to build 7,500 homes in the functional floodplain of the Kennet Valley between the M4 and Reading. The proposals were rejected by the Environment Agency as increasing flood risk to thousands of properties in Reading. The plans would have seen building on the Burghfield Lakes and Englefield Lagoon – home of record breaking fish and waters that have been fished by some of Britain’s top anglers.

Labour’s Angling Spokesman and Reading West MP Martin Salter said:

‘This is a massive victory for our campaign and justifies all the hard work and lobbying of recent months. Government ministers such as Jonathan Shaw and John Healey took time out to visit the area and see for themselves just how crazy it would have been to concrete over the Kennet Water Meadows which serve as Nature’s natural flood reservoir, and provides such a fantastic haven for fish, birds and other wildlife.’

In April 2008 Martin Salter presented a 1,500 signature petition to Parliament opposing the Panel recommendations for Kennet Meadows.