Dec 12 2013 by Sophie McCoid, Ormskirk Advertiser
PLANS for a new wildlife marshland at Hesketh Bank have been submitted to West Lancashire Borough Council.
The plans involve creating 154 hectares of estuarine wetland habitat by breaching the embankment at four locations.
There will be nine lagoons created to provide wader feeding habitat and the existing inner embankment between Hesketh Out Marsh East and Hesketh New Marsh will be improved to act as a primary line of flood defence. The new embankment would measure 7.8m in height
An extension to the car park area and a new bird hide have also been proposed and if the plans are passed the development will begin in early 2014 and will be completed in 2016.
The proposal is set to be approved at the West Lancashire Borough Council planning committee meeting tonight if certain conditions are met.
Environmental groups such as Natural England support the plans as it will “support key biodiversity action plan species and habitats”, but there have been a number of objections raised against the proposals.
The MOD, Blackpool Airport and BAE systems have all raised objections regarding the birds that will be attracted to the new habitat.
They all believe the marshland will attract large, flocking birds that will increase the chance of birds striking aircraft especially regarding Wharton Aerodrome.
All of the organisations believe that bird species such as gulls would “have a significant adverse impact on aviation safety and proposals to manage the site are not considered sufficiently broad.”
The development would also have an impact on the River Douglas and sediment issues may cause navigation problems.
The Canal and Rivers Trust disagrees with the environmental statement that the scheme will have a negligible impact upon navigation and state “any impacts of sedimentation upon navigation would be very significant given that this would likely result in the need for dredging of the waterways, possibly for an indefinite period.
“Any restriction in the use of the river would be detrimental to the leisure and recreation value.”
The Douglas Boatyard and Preston Marina have also expressed concerns about sedimentation as their businesses rely on Preston docks trade.