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Cress Marsh taking shape

A VIEW from the skies of North East Lincolnshire’s unique new bird and wildlife haven shows how recent heavy rainfall has provided the vital water required for lagoons and their ‘cells’ to take shape.

The images are of the new 100-acre Cress Marsh Ecological Mitigation site, which forms a major part of North East Lincolnshire’s £42-million South Humber Industrial Investment Programme, (SHIIP).

The only development of its kind in Europe, its creation means businesses can effectively bypass any planning requirements with regards to providing ‘offset’ land for wintering birds, which rely on the Humber bank as vital feeding grounds. Saving months at the planning stage, the necessary offset land has already been created satisfying the environmental needs of any new business or industrial build.

Completed early this year, the site includes a bird hide next to a large central lagoon, which feeds seven more water-filled ‘cells’ via pipework infrastructure. Just two months ago the area was only very partially filled, but these images – taken last month – show just how the rainfall has helped to submerge the land.

By invitation local ‘twitchers’ use the bird hide to log the breeds visiting the new site, and most recent figures show ten varieties that are in The British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) ‘red’ or ‘critical list’. These include Grey Wagtail, Herring gull, Lapwing, Skylark, Linnet, Ringed plover, Ruff, Yellow Wagtail and Yellowhammer.

Meanwhile visiting birds on the amber list and spotted at the site include Black headed gull, Common sandpiper, Greenshank, Kestrel and Reed bunting – to name just a few. In total, 51 different species have been noted in the last six months.

North East Lincolnshire Council ecology officer Rachel Graham is delighted with the progress of Cress Marsh: “This represents a significant step forward in our efforts to ensure business and the environment can exist side-by-side and what we see here is a blueprint that others will hopefully learn from and follow,” she said.

As reported, Cress Marsh and the overall SHIIP programme is set to transform North East Lincolnshire’s industrial fortunes. Taking shape along the South Humber bank the project is being supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership, (HLEP), the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) and North East Lincolnshire Council, under the manager of council regeneration partner ENGIE. The whole project comprises of Cress Marsh, the creation of a new link road between the ports of Grimsby and Immingham and a new Stallingborough Business Park.

Council regeneration head Cllr John Fenty said of Cress Marsh and the wider SHIIP project: “This is a unique opportunity to create a real platform for growth, creating a positive environment to facilitate new and existing industrial development, which the whole of North East Lincolnshire will benefit from.”

More information on SHIIP can be found at www.investnel.co.uk.

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