Tens of thousands of animals will have died in recent floods as small mammals drowned, river creatures were swept away and habitats were wrecked, according to a wildlife rescuer.

Simon Cowell, founder of Leatherhead's Wildlife Aid Foundation, said they rescued a wind-beaten buzzard with a broken wing and miserable hedgehogs who had been washed up in gardens.

But of the countless dead, Mr Cowell said: "We will never see them, we will never know about it, but there will be a knock-on effect. We did not have many rescues because people did not go out."

Even though hedgehogs, water voles and moles can swim, they may still be at risk because the flash floods have disrupted the food chain.

Mr Cowell said: "Any animals that could have survived may well now eat water voles, and if not they are going to be struggling to find food."

Andy Smith, PR advisor at Wildlife Aid, said a Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) consultation about where to build new homes had identified two possible greenbelt sites near the centre in Randalls Road.

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Mr Smith said: "One of them is a flood plain, it's madness. The gardens of houses there already got flooded this month, how much worse will this be when they have put down concrete?

"Then there is the loss of wildlife habitat, another wildlife corridor disappears."

Take part in the council consultation before the deadline of Friday, March 7, at www.molevalley.gov.uk.

There are also copies at council offices, libraries and the Leatherhead HelpShop.

Email comments to planning.policy@molevalley.gov.uk.

Drop-in sessions on a consultation as the council prepares a Housing and Traveller Sites Plan:

  • 25-29 Leatherhead High Street - Saturday, February 1, 10am to 3pm
  • North Leatherhead Community Association - Saturday, February 7, 3pm to 7pm
  • Christ Church (United Reformed), Epsom Road, Leatherhead - Thursday, February 13, 3pm to 8pm