Fears for wildlife as landowner looks at new plan for festivals in Epping Forest

MARK BLUNDEN
People walk through Epping Forest: PA

Music festivals attracting tens of thousands of people could be held in Epping Forest despite concerns about the effect on wildlife in its parks and woodlands.

Three “large events” — which could each attract up to 50,000 people — are being proposed just months after a smaller plan was ditched following a community campaign.

The City of London Corporation wants tenders from “major event-organising companies” to stage concerts, festivals or sports events at Wanstead Flats, Warlies Park and Chingford Plain.

The corporation hopes to “generate significant income” to help maintain the forest.

Each event could last three and a half days, but set-up and take-down times may mean a month of disruption.

Last year, residents concerned about the forest’s “fragile habitat” successfully fought plans for a 50,000-capacity music festival on Wanstead Flats.

But the corporation wants to explore the “opportunity for an alternative event” on the Flats, plus the two additional sites, as soon as this autumn.

The sites are home to otters, water voles, badgers, newts, dormice, breeding skylarks and roosting bats.

Ecological consultants have raised concerns about “trampling”, littering and noise.

The corporation is due to discuss the plans on Wednesday.