RSPB Plea to Stop Energy Park
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
The battle to save the breeding grounds for the black-tailed godwits has just stepped up another notch. In the latest move to stop the development of the £450 million energy marine park by Able UK, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has appealed to Robert Goodwill, the Transport Minister, to halt the application and turn down permission for the building of the energy park in the Humber Estuary which is the only known mud-flat breeding territory for this endangered bird in the UK.
Government asked for clarification on the ecological implications in August, but did say that they were inclined towards approving the plans. Prime Minister David Cameron went on record saying that the marine energy park would be an important investment in Britainís energy from renewable and sustainable resources, as Britain needs to meet the EU low carbon emissions quota and is already falling behind in projected figures.
There was at first grave concern that alternative plans to establish a new feeding ground for the birds across the river in Cherry Cobb Sands would not be feasible. Natural England has since reviewed their statement lowering the risk to the birds. There have been plans made to incorporate a series of sluiced lagoons but this has not been previously tested and so cannot be said to work effectively. The birds come annually to Britainís Humber Estuary to breed and setting up a new breeding ground for the birds would take years before it would be established. The RSBP are concerned that the attempt to replicate the current breeding ground would be unsuccessful.
Tim Melling of RSPB has said that the marine park will turn the most ecologically sensitive area of the Humber Estuary into a concrete jungle, displacing the black-tailed godwits from their migratory feeding and breeding ground. The area is a unique habitat that has been listed as an area of special protection at a European level and is important for its habitats and needs to be conserved untouched. There can be no guarantees that the bird would adapt to the shallower mud flats in East Yorkshire and there is a fear that the birds will die as no habitat has been established for them. The RSPB has said that it will take its fight to preserve this habitat all the way to Europe if forced to do so.
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