LANDOWNER has warned that if landfill
proposals at Thakeham go ahead it will
destroy a unique rewilding project.
Burrell, 47, owns the Knepp Castle Estate
at Shipley, which is at the centre of a
ground-breaking ecological project to
return 1,000 hectares of lowland Sussex
Weald into natural wildland grazing.
The Knepp Wildland Project, which lies to
the east of the proposed landfill site, is
the first of its kind and has excited
interest from governments and
environmental bodies across Europe.
Mr Burrell has argued the landfill
proposal by Cory Environmental at Laybrook
Brickworks at Thakeham not only threatens
the project's survival but flies in the
face of current thinking on the
environment and public health.
comments come as the County Times continues
its 'End this Landfill Lunacy' campaign and
as the battle against the dump gathers
Mr Burrell said: "Here we are, being
supported by Government to try and tackle
some of the most serious problems facing the
country, like sustainability, soil
degradation, loss of habitat and species
extinction, and yet we're still having to
deal with out of date, environmentally
hazardous, polluting landfill."
"There's a real risk to the health of
everyone living in the area of the landfill,
as well as to the survival of wildlife.
"What will be the point of the Knepp
Wildland Project when it's overrun by
seagulls and rats?"
He added: "We always thought we would
have to prepare for a battle and make sure
our work was heard as part of the campaign
against this proposal."
The project uses grazing animals such as
longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, Exmoor
ponies and fallow deer to manage and
recreate natural habitat.
Its aim is to provide a model for a more
natural system of meat production that also
encourages soil recovery and biodiversity.
the eight years since the Knepp Wildlife
Project began, a number of rare and
endangered species, including turtle doves,
nightingales, Beckstein's and Barbastelle
bats, woodlarks, water voles and purple
emperor butterflies have been recorded.
has been staggering for us," Mr Burrell
said of the new wildlife emerging. "It
has been terribly gratifying."
Half of the wildlife project has been funded
by the government, with backing by Natural
England, the Environment Agency, Sussex
Wildlife Trust, the British Trust for
Ornithology, the National Trust, and the
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Chief executive of Sussex Wildlife Trust, Dr
Tony Whitbread, has written to the county
council voicing his concerns over the
proposed landfill site and the affect it
would have on the Knepp project.
"The proposal for a landfill site on
the immediate boundary of this nationally
important project is a major threat,"
"The proposed site is on Weald clay and
fills up with water when not pumped. The
risk from run-off of polluted water into
surrounding water courses is extremely high.
"It is probably inevitable that run-off
from the site will flow directly into the
water system running through Knepp – it
already does so – polluting a rich
wetland, undermining future plans and would
effectively negate one of the key features
of the whole rewilding project.
"The Knepp Estate is in the process of
developing a major, and nationally leading,
nature conservation initiative.
"The potential benefits from the
project in terms of biodiversity could be
The site has stirred interest across the
globe and in May Mr Burrell attended the
European Wilderness Conference in Prague as
a guest speaker.
"Every year we meet the most
extraordinary people," Mr Burrell said.
"Sussex has become the place to come
and look at the process and see what
The Lay Brook itself runs through Knepp
Castle Estate, feeding into the Hammer Pond
and subsequently into the River Adur.
Burrell with one of the longhorn cattle.