‘Wonderful’ North Fambridge nature reserve to receive further boost

  Posted: 09.09.21 at 10:30 by Charlotte Lillywhite

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The wetland habitat at a nature reserve in North Fambridge is set to receive further enhancement, after Maldon District Council unanimously approved the plans last night (Wednesday, 8 September).

The proposal, from Essex Wildlife Trust (EWT), involves enhancing the Round Marsh wetland at Blue House Farm by deepening the site in three locations through a wetland scrape, constructing a raised walkway to a viewing platform, adding a base for a future hide to watch wildlife and new banks to minimise disturbance to wildlife.

A spokesperson for the trust told members of the district council’s north western area planning committee that the proposal aims “to further enhance” the reserve - on the north bank of the River Crouch in North Fambridge.

The trust hopes that the proposal will add to site-wide work to improve wetland habitats for wildlife, particularly wading and waterfowl bird species which are a species of conservation concern in the UK.

The spokesperson said: “EWT and the RSPB are partners delivering the Essex Wader Strategy, with the aim of reversing declines of nationally-threatened breeding waders in Essex and in the East of England.

“Blue House Farm has a key part to play in that strategy.”

The reserve in North Fambridge on the River Crouch (Credit: Dudley Miles)

He added: “This wonderful nature reserve is and will continue to be not only a place where nature can thrive, but a place where people can thrive too.

“In a changed world, evidence continues to show that the natural environment and enriching nature benefits the mental and physical health of local communities.”

The trust brought forward the proposals earlier than initially planned, after being given the green light by MDC in May to create a 20 hectares wetland habitat for wildfowl and waders at the reserve.

The plans also include creating new areas above the waterline using excavated soil for roosting and nesting birds and installing a 2km long and 6ft high anti-predator fence, costing approximately £115,000, to replace the existing.

The trust’s spokesperson reassured members that “there will be limited movement of construction vehicles impacting on the community and the surrounding road infrastructure” for the duration of the project.

The reserve attracts different types of wildlife (Credit: Nick Lay)

District council officers had previously recommended approval of the application.

Case officer Miss Matthews told the committee that the proposal is “considered to be acceptable in principle and would not cause harm to the character of the area or the amenity of local residents”.

Proposing approval of the plans, Councillor Mark Durham said: “I think it should be supported.”

The proposed works to the reserve will now take place, after Councillor Durham’s proposal was voted through unanimously by committee members.

The works are expected to take place this month or in October, to avoid impact on nesting birds.

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