Ingress Park: where river meets homes
Viewpoint: Environment Agency
Three experts from the Environmenet Agency describe their role in advising developers about protecting natural habitats, decontamination and managing flood risk.
Read Joanna Hodgson's article below about biodiversity in the Thames Gateway or select one of the following features:
Joanna Hodgson, Environment Agency
Thames Gateway: biodiversity
By Joanna Hodgson
The Thames Gateway developments are a double-edged sword for species biodiversity in Kent. On the one hand, there is a risk that essential wildlife habitats will be sacrificed to make way for new development. On the other, the developments present a great opportunity to protect existing habitats and create new ones.
Chetney Marshes. Photo: Environment Agency
The Environment Agency’s role in this debate is to advise developers when their plans threaten wildlife habitat and help them to find alternatives that will protect the existing habitat or even add to it. We are involved in the preparation of master plans and in the more detailed stages of planning applications. Using our influence we hope to secure biodiversity gain – rather than loss – before the development is granted planning permission.
Using Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS9), we look to prevent any net loss of intertidal habitat and encourage creation of new habitat as part of the development. Where habitat is to be lost through development we encourage a greater proportion of replacement habitat than the area lost.
St Marys Island. Photo: Environment Agency
Some of the habitats most at risk are the intertidal mudflats and saltmarsh. Mudflats provide a rich food source for many animals and birds such as the redshank, particularly in the winter. Saltmarsh is a unique colony of salt tolerant plants (halophytes). It acts like a natural flood barrier by absorbing wave action. It is an important nursery area for fish and provides a high tide resting place for birds and mammals.
Jonathan Atkinson, Environment Agency
Our influencing of biodiversity and habitat can be demonstrated in the Rochester Riverside development. The Environment Agency has worked closely with Medway Renaissance and SEEDA on this development. The site was previously an industrial site, which had altered the natural features of the Tidal Medway. The new development reinstated some of the original intertidal habitats by enhancing and enlarging three creeks and public open space as an integral part of the design. The edges of the creeks have had wood cladding with shingle backfill put over the sheet piling to create a vertical beach habitat for invertebrates.
last updated: 04/06/2008 at 16:25