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Status: Local Wildlife Site (LoWS/CWS/SINC)
Summary: This is the site of a very old landfill site dating back to Victorian times. It is highly probable that tipping ceased in 1958 when a change in ownership occurred. There was a long continuity of cattle grazing until at least 1997, as indicated by the presence of an important population of the UKBAP Hornet Robber Fly, discovered in the mid 1990s. The sandy shoreline is unprecedented as a habitat in the Thames estuary, together with a section of low chalky cliff.
Reason for interest: There are extensive flower rich areas, varied vegetation structure, important plants such as Stinking Goosefoot (W&C Act Schedule 8), Nationally Scarce Saltmarsh Goosefoot, Borrer's Saltmarsh Grass, Stiff Saltmarsh Grass and abundant White Horehound and Houndstongue. Very important for invertebrates, including UKBAP species Hornet Robber Fly and Brown-banded Carder Bee, and almost certainly other UKBAP species. Numerous rare and scarce species.
Comment: Extensively worked in recent years has seen much of the hinterland inland of the coastal strip Topped with Soils from various major national infrastructure projects over Old Victorian Landfill, restored to working Arable Farmland under licence from NE. A bit of a Political hot potato but probably the correct thing to do so long as mitigation is comparable to the undoubted loss of brownfield habitat and all that it supported. Coastal Strip still remains intact supports significant assemblages of Plant and invertebrate of biological interest Conservation areas to Periphery of site increasingly important as Buffer and sanctuary areas. The whole area is under pressure from significant developments that are now into the planning and implementation stages. while there is significant opportunity to secure landscape wide enhancements for wildlife and for People to enjoy. There is also a risk that any enhancements resulting from mitigation and compensation will not be visionary enough in concept or design to provide habitat types that are essential for many of the specialist species for which Thameside Essex is currently recognized as vital important in their conservation.
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