Date issued: 18 June 2020
Work has started on land east of Colchester that will eventually provide an important new wildlife habitat.
Last year planning permission was granted for student housing on Elmstead Road, on a site within the flood plain of the River Colne. The Environment Agency required extensive landscape work to be undertaken, to help alleviate the impact of the development and reduce the risk of flooding in the Salary Brook area.
However, during the initial flood prevention work, a total of 170 metres of established hedgerow was removed by the developer.
This latest work, on private agricultural land immediately to the north of the A133, involves digging a basin to collect floodwater from Salary Brook. Once complete, the area will be landscaped and replanted to provide a new wildlife habitat.
The scheme, agreed in consultation with Colchester Borough Council’s landscape advisors and Essex Wildlife Trust, will culminate in major replanting work this autumn, including the creation of a boundary hedge and landscaping to enhance biodiversity. The result – once the new growth becomes established – should be a diverse wildlife habitat that complements the adjacent wildlife site at Salary Brook.
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “After the problems we had last year, I am pleased that we have worked with the developers and Essex Wildlife Trust to repair and improve the biodiversity of the site close to the ecologically-important Salary Brook nature reserve.
“We are committed to improving and protecting the environment, and in this difficult case we will be able to now add to what was previously there. There was rightly a lot of concern and interest about this site and working with the developer and Essex Wildlife Trust we have a positive solution. We understand, now more than ever, that healthy ecosystems promote a healthy life and are critical to our individual and collective wellbeing. This project, along with our wider commitment to tackle the climate emergency, is yet another positive step.”
Dr Annie Gordon, Essex Wildlife Trust Landscape Conservation Planning Coordinator, added: “Essex Wildlife Trust welcomes the proposals to replant the hedgerow adjoining Salary Brook Nature Reserve and mitigate the damage to important wildlife habitat that was caused during the initial excavation works.
“We also welcome Colchester Borough Council’s commitment to ensure the scheme delivers improvements for wildlife with additional habitat creation measures. The Trust wishes to thank local residents for their vigilance and for drawing our attention to the removal of the original hedgerow habitat.”