Natural History Museum prepares controversial outdoor space plans

The Natural History Museum is consulting on plans to redevelop its outdoor space, including the rebuilding of its wildlife garden.

Image: Morguefile
Image: Morguefile

The new designs, which are going through consultation and will be on public display from 23 September, will connect the museum’s outdoor spaces, reflecting its commitment to supporting biodiversity, and acknowledging the value of urban green spaces, a museum spokesman said.

Museum scientist, Dr Sandra Knapp, said: "I think that the new design is fantastic and is a very exciting opportunity for the museum. In addition to vastly improving access to the building, it will be a more engaging introduction to the museum and its work. The new outdoor spaces will introduce our visitors to some of the reasons why biodiversity is so crucial for not only the planet but also for human well-being."

However, the plans have been criticised by some scientists at the museum who say they will mean the existing wildlife garden will be bulldozed, with one researcher telling the Daily Telegraph that the decision is at odds with the ethos of the museum.

"The habitats have all been carefully managed for 20 years and, from my point of view, it gives the impression that these habitats are disposable," the researcher told the paper. "It’s the sort of thing that you would expect from developers planning a new block of flats, not the Natural History Museum."

The museum responded that the existing wildlife garden will be expanded to cover a space three times its current size.

"Feedback from Museum staff and local residents has been positive, and we are consulting museum scientists and biodiversity experts so that the current wildlife and its habitat is disrupted as little as possible," the spokesman said.

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