The Swanscombe Peninsula has been confirmed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its grassland, wetlands, birds and insects – including one of the rarest spiders in the country.
Natural England, the government’s nature adviser, finally granted full SSSI status yesterday, after initially granting protected status to the 260-hectare marshland site in March.
The area is home to more than 1,700 invertebrate species, which includes over a quarter of the UK’s water beetle species and more than 200 species that are considered of conservation importance.
Part of the peninsula has been earmarked for development as part of the London Resort theme park. Whilst SSSI status does not prevent development of the site, it does need to be taken into consideration when planning applications are submitted.
The decision brings hope for the 1000’s of species that call Swanscombe Peninsular home
It will be another thorn in the side for the developers of the London Resort, who have been struggling with moving the project forward for a number of years. accused Natural England of trying to “frustrate” its plans and called the initial SSSI assessment as “unreasonable and unjustified”.
Environmental groups have called on the London Resort developers to withdraw their planning application to build on this nationally important site.
There is still a fear that the UK government will use this as an example of their greenwashing by allowing development on SSSI sites. The government justify this by saying 30% of the country is still protected. Also, many of the UKs existing SSSI sites are not maintained in a good condition, let alone our nature deprived national parks.
A petition to save the Swanscombe marshes has been set up and can be found here.