A NEW nature reserve is on the cards for the South Bank of the Humber Estuary.
North East Lincolnshire.has earmarked up £6.84-million for the project which will involve creation of lagoons, ponds and other habitat on land off South Marsh Road in Stallingborough, near Grimsby.
The approximate breakdown is:
* Up to £4.56-million for land acquisition - either purchased outight or leased for 25 years
* £1.39-million to create appropriate habitat
* £894,000 for ongoing management
It is understood that the reserve, to be known as Cress Marsh, will consist of four different sites so as to provide diversity for waders - including curlew, redshank, lapwing and golden plover - ducks and geese.
The council is required to create the reserve to provide mitigation for habitat which will be lost during development of industrial land and provision of infrastructure as part of its South Humber Gateway employment initiative.
This part of the Humber Estuary is annually thought to provide feeding habitat for at least 175,000 birds - chiefly waders and wildfowl.
Despite the pressure on local authority budgets, NELC is confident that - aided by grants - it has the resources to ensure the reserve is appropriately and effectively managed once it has been created. Contractors will be engaged to carry out this work.
Ensuring the authority meets its responsibilities will be Natural England who have signed off the project as have partner-organisations such as sisters-councils, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership.
The RSPB has insisted that there must be guarantees that mitigation measures will be in perpetuity and not allowed to lapse at the expiry of 25-year leases which landowners might not wish to renew.
What access, if any, the public, including birders, will have to the site has yet to be determined.
The project is subject to approval from councillors once they have assessed the planning application later this winter.