Peter Birchall is popular for his YouTube videos about wildlife, filmed in his Eastbourne back garden that he has turned into a paradise for endangered species, with a parrot on his shoulder. The garden includes rare plants and flowers, ponds and rewilded spaces for a variety of animals to flourish and thrive – 183 native and non-native species! He has also worked with local authorities and schools to help educate students about the environment and bidiversity, as well as organisations including the Sussex and Kent Wildlife Trust, RSPD and the National Trust.
However, his local council, Wealden District Council, have now ordered Mr Birchall (known as ‘Pete the Pond’) to remove the garden by the end of March over ‘environmental concerns.’
The wildlife expert, who is widely held to be a top authority in the country on the design and maintence of ponds and aquatic gardens, told London Economic that he feels “absolutely devastated” as his ‘life is his garden.’ He also says the garden is a potential habitat for endangered great-crested newts.
The Council appear to have accused Mr Birchall of running a ‘commercial enterprise’ from his garden, citing materials that he upcycles (such as wood into bird and bug houses) to save from landfill as an ‘eyesore’, despite him offering to tidy it up and explaining that it’s a hobby he makes no income from. The garden forms a ‘reference library’ for wildlife that he has built up over 20 years.
Whilst Wealden District Council have confirmed that the matter is the subject of an ‘ongoing investigation’, supporters of both Peter and wildlife biodiversity have flooded him with support, including starting a petition – something he has found ‘completely overwhelming.’
To sign the petition, follow here.
You can also watch ‘Pete the Pond’ on his YouTube channel here!