A YORK MP has said he would lie down in front of bulldozers to save Askham Bog - and has invited Prime Minister Boris Johnson to join him.

York Outer MP Julian Sturdy campaigned against a developer’s plans to build up to 516 homes on land adjacent to the bog.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust - which runs the nature reserve - and more than 7,600 people objected to the plans. Sir David Attenborough also criticised the scheme.

A planning application for the scheme was turned down at a City of York Council meeting in July.

But the developer lodged an appeal against the decision.

Mr Sturdy, speaking in the House of Commons to Dominic Raab MP, who was standing in for Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions, said: “Will my right honourable friend put in a good word with the Prime Minister to ask him to join me in lying down in front of the bulldozers to save that important piece of natural heritage?

“Askham Bog, a world-renowned nature reserve in my constituency, has been described as ‘irreplaceable’ by no less than Sir David Attenborough; yet it is threatened by proposals to build more than 500 houses on adjoining land.”

Mr Raab said he will speak to the Prime Minister about the issue for Mr Sturdy and added: “I share his passion for preserving our precious natural habitats.

“Local community views are of course incredibly important to the local planning process, that is what our revised national planning policy framework provides.

“He will understand that I cannot comment on individual planning applications.”

Speaking after PMQs, Mr Sturdy said: “I was disappointed to hear that the developer has chosen to appeal the council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the development on land south of Moor Lane.

“Given the huge effort made by the local community to resist this controversial development, which we thought had paid off with the planning committee’s empathic decision to reject, it is very sad to see this called into question once again.

“Whilst the First Secretary of State was unable to comment on the individual application, I have been encouraged by the Government’s renewed commitment to conserving the natural environment and involving local people in the planning process.

“There is widespread recognition that Askham Bog is a site of unique ecological importance and I hope that this will be reflected in a final decision by the planning inspectorate to not put this at risk.”

Louise Wilkinson, conservation policy and campaigns manager at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The trust will be participating fully in the planning appeal to save the incredibly important Askham Bog.

“We will continue to stand up for its wildlife on behalf of all the people who love and value it.”

A three-week planning inquiry will start on November 12.

At the planning meeting in July the agent for the developer said the plans would help address York’ s “housing crisis”.

And they claimed technical studies showed “there’s no prospect of the bog drying out”.