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Friends of the North Kent Marshes partner with RSPB to fight changes to EU nature laws

PUBLISHED: 08:09 23 July 2015 | UPDATED: 10:11 23 July 2015

RSPB boat trip around the Thames Estuary to see the site on reclaimed marshland on the Isle of Grain Pic: Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)

RSPB boat trip around the Thames Estuary to see the site on reclaimed marshland on the Isle of Grain Pic: Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)

Eleanor Bentall

The two groups are warning that any watering down of the nature directives could have dire consequences for our landscapes

Aerial shot of Radar and Black Barn Pools, Cliffe Pools RSPB Reserve, Medway, Pic: Rolf Williams (rspb-images.com)Aerial shot of Radar and Black Barn Pools, Cliffe Pools RSPB Reserve, Medway, Pic: Rolf Williams (rspb-images.com)

Community group Friends of the North Kent Marshes (Fonkm) has urged the public to defend laws which protect the Greater Thames Estuary from damaging development.

The group - which was instrumental in fighting against the Thames Estuary airport proposals - have said that changes proposed to the European Union’s Nature Directives could have terrible consequences if passed. The Greater Thames Estuary is protected from development currently, with tens of thousands of birds inhabiting the area, as well as hundreds of tousands of overwintering and migratory birds travelling to the area annually. The EU President Juncker is currently trying to change those laws - something the group says could have a devastating impact on the bird populations both in the North Kent marshes, and elsewhere.

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta on mud, RSPB reserve Pic: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta on mud, RSPB reserve Pic: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

Gill Moore of Fonkm said: “The North Kent Marshes are wonderful for wildlife and they hold a special place in the hearts of the local community. It really is vital that the Nature Directives are left as they are, so they can keep them protected for now and for future generations.”

The directives were key to stopping an airport which had been proposed at Cliffe in 2003. They were also an important factor in the Airports Commission’s decision to rule the site out for a new aviation hub anywhere in the Greater Thames Estuary or on the Hoo Peninsula in September 2014.

Dunlin Calidris alpina, wader roost at Copperas Bay, Stour Estuary RSPB reserve Pic: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)Dunlin Calidris alpina, wader roost at Copperas Bay, Stour Estuary RSPB reserve Pic: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

Nature charity, the RSPB has joined forces with Fonkm to fight against any changes to the directives, working alongside other wildlife groups to fight to keep the important environmental laws in place.

The groups are now appealing for people to respond to the consultation, which can be found here.

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