A Park’s Soundscape is Endangered

Coots around Princes Park’s island

Hello everyone! Today I would like to express my frustration with a council project that is threatening to damage the beauty of free nature manifestation, a small island at Princes Park (Liverpool, UK) where birds can nest and rest. The project plans to build a bridge to the island and allow unrestricted public entrance.

The impact of this project could cause:

Disruption of Avian Species: noise pollution, habitat fragmentation and disturbance; the sudden increase in human presence may drive some shy and less adaptable species away.

Degradation of the Ecosystem: The bridge construction process will inevitably involve deforestation, ground excavation, and alteration of the park’s landscape to accommodate the infrastructure. This would result in the loss of critical vegetation and disturbance of the soil, leading to erosion, habitat destruction, and the loss of native plant species.

The project’s concept is to build a memorial for Nelson Mandela. However, it is ambiguous whether Mandela himself would approve of this. Mandela not only fought for South Africa’s liberation from the oppressive apartheid regime but also emphasised the importance and value of our natural environment.

About the soundscape:

Princes Park is rich in the sound of several birds, including parakeets (even in the Winter), blackbirds, tits, robins, swallows, thrush, chiffchaffs, moorhens, ducks, geese, swans, and the island is often visited by a heron.

I went to the park on the 9th of July 2023 and crossed the construction bridge to make recordings of the soundscape that is endangered if the project goes forward. Watch the 1st video:

I shall continue to report our fight to allow this island to remain free to nature.

To sign the petition: https://www.change.org/p/save-the-island-at-prince-s-park-change-the-location-of-nelson-mandela-s-memorial

For more information:


Update 01/08/2023: Protesting with loudspeakers and soundscape recordings

At the opening ceremony, there was a peaceful demonstration by environmentalists and residents who were uncertain about the impact of this project on the park’s ecosystem.

In this demonstration, I took a portable speaker and a sign with me. The sign read ‘birds‘ on one side, and ‘people/phones/dogs‘ on the other. Thus, I switched between the soundscapes of birds, and anthropogenic noise, to raise the awareness of the people that supported the event, and to show that the soundscape also matters. However, I was shocked to see that a lot of people don’t seem to care about sounds; it seems to me that soundscapes are still not taken seriously. It was interesting to see that the police didn’t know how to react to the fact I wasn’t playing music or speaking on the loudspeakers. They seemed confused about the fact I was executing soundscape recordings, especially as the birdsongs began to merge with the park’s actual birdsongs.

It seems the council will go ahead with the project. That is comprehensible, taking into consideration the powerful meaning that the monument of Nelson Mandela can have to this Liverpudlian area (Toxteth, L8). It is just a shame that they didn’t consider that this could be installed anywhere else in the park, where nature would not need to be disturbed.

Further information:

On the inauguration and protest: https://www.itv.com/news/granada/2023-07-18/mandela-day-south-african-anti-apartheid-activist-statue-unveiled

On the possibility of corruption involving the project: https://www.livpost.co.uk/p/exclusive-ex-deputy-mayor-went-on

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