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Wildlife haven protected as theme park threat looms - Kent Wildlife Trust

Natural England has recognised the outstanding wildlife value of the Swanscombe Peninsula and declared that it should be a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife and the RSPB welcome the news that the Government’s environmental advisor Natural England has recognised the outstanding wildlife value of the Swanscombe Peninsula and declared that it should be a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The recommendation follows the three organisations uniting in calling on Natural England to help protect the site from the imminent threat of the London Resort Theme Park by designating the site. In February ‘A Rationale for the SSSI designation of the Swanscombe Peninsula’ was delivered to Natural England, alongside a letter signed by 77 current and former senior staff from nature organisations and public bodies.

Recognising the national importance of the site is a significant landmark and is a key step in the ongoing battle to protect the Swanscombe Peninsula and its unique wildlife from destruction. The Peninsula supports a nationally important population of invertebrates, with over 250 species of conservation concern, an outstanding population of breeding birds and a suite of nationally scarce flowering plants. 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.

In normal circumstances, designating a site as a protected SSSI would be enough to prevent its destruction. However, the Swanscombe Peninsula remains under threat. This is because the London Resort development has bizarrely 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 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.

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