31 Jul 2017
Place Services’ ecology team is busily progressing a review of the Local Wildlife Sites for Rochford District Council. The final report will provide an up to date evidence base to support any planning decisions affecting Local Wildlife Sites as there is a general presumption against development upon them.
Local Wildlife Sites are areas considered to be of importance at a county level for the wildlife that they support, and their protection within the planning system is hugely important in safeguarding habitats and species considered to be of principal importance for conservation at a national level. Many of them also contribute to making our communities great places to live and work, providing access to the high quality greenspaces that are so important to our wellbeing.
Rochford is a district with a good network of ancient woodlands as well as highly significant coastal habitats. Many of the Local Wildlife Sites provide extensions that add value to the nationally and internationally important sites that have been designated to protect key habitats and species populations.
Place Services will be visiting all of the existing Local Wildlife Sites to check that they still satisfy the standard criteria for selection and to highlight any threats or problems with site management. We will also be looking for any additional sites that meet the selection criteria to strengthen the network, giving species the best chance of adapting to our changing environment.
Some early highlights include: some flower rich seawall sections supporting key species such as Spiny Restharrow and Sea Clover; Bluebell filled ancient woodlands; and newly recognised areas of reed bed habitat.