Swanscombe Peninsula remains under threat from destruction, despite being declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
SSSI under threat from development
The site was declared an SSSI after three organisations, the RSPB, Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife called on Natural England to protect the site from the threat of the London Resort Theme Park.
SSSIs represent the best places for wildlife across the UK and various laws protect them from development or other damage – to safeguard them for future generations.
The Peninsula supports over 250 species that are of conservation concern, including a vast population of breeding birds and various nationally scarce flowering plants.
In normal circumstances, designating Swanscombe Peninsula as a protected SSSI would be enough to prevent its destruction. However, the site remains under threat because the London Resort development has been deemed a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), a process normally reserved for major roads, airports or power plants, and as a result, the application can bypass the normal planning process.
This means that any environmental impacts can be deemed acceptable in the name of economic development – including the loss of some of our best national wildlife sites.
Buglife, the RSPB and Kent Wildlife Trust are now calling on Natural England to do everything in its power to ensure this newly proposed SSSI is protected.
Richard Bloor, from Kent Wildlife Trust said: ‘It is fantastic that Natural England has, today, recognised that the Swanscombe Peninsula as an SSSI. This wildlife-rich area is now formally seen as a nationally important site that protects flagship species such as the critically endangered distinguished jumping spider, and populations of many other animals and plants.
‘Despite this, the fight to save this haven for wildlife is only just beginning. We must ensure that the Swanscombe Peninsula, alongside other SSSIs, are fully protected from any further development, and bought into better condition as part of the Nature Recovery Network, ensuring that the UK becomes a less nature-depleted place whilst tackling the nature and climate crises.’
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