NINETY primary school children have joined the campaign against plans for a massive housing development next to a York nature reserve.

The Acomb Primary School Year Five and Six pupils have written letters of objection to a planning application to build 500 homes off Moor Lane after visiting the adjacent Askham Bog.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said the children engaged in a series of fun activities, run by its volunteers and staff, to help them understand the importance of the Bog in terms of its wildlife interest and cultural significance to York.

“The children then returned to school and wrote individual objection letters to City of York Council,” said trust conservation policy and campaigns manager, Louise Wilkinson.

She said the trust currently held the "wonderfully written" letters and would present them to the council, along with other letters of objection, near the end of a consultation into the homes application by Barwood Land.

“I believe the initial idea to be engaged in an active campaign was because of Acomb Primary’s involvement in the Archbishop of York Young Leaders’ Award, which is about being the change you want to see,” she added.

She said one pupil, Georgie Faxon, wrote: “If you destroy the habitat in Askham Bog it will ruin the fun for everyone. I’m not against building houses, I’m just against building houses next to Askham Bog. Please do not allow this to happen.”

Another, Alara Ozbek, wrote: “Askham Bog is hugely admired by the citizens of York. Building next to the site would change it forever and it would no longer be remembered as a nice, peaceful place to walk and explore. Askham Bog is too important and loved, not by me alone, but many across York and across the country. I will not allow you to harm Askham Bog by building on Moor Lane.”

A third, Thomas Carrick, wrote: “I am writing to strongly object to the housing development on Moor Lane next to Askham Bog. Askham Bog isn’t just important to York but to the whole country.

“The history of Askham Bog is the history of York. Walking around the site there are several features that show this brilliantly; the glacial moraine near the car park created one hundred and fifty thousand years ago; the peat ditches dug by the Romans when York was first created.”

News of the children’s letters comes after more than 6,000 objections to the application have been lodged with the council via the trust’s website.

The trust has claimed the development would endanger the reserve but Barwood Land managing director Jamie Gibbins has claimed it would assist in the Bog’s long-term protection and enhancement.