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Save West Tilbury Marshes

Buglife have serious concerns over the impact on the national important invertebrate assemblage found at West Tilbury Marshes, the site for the Tilbury 2 development and are considering a legal challenge to the proposals.

 Secretary of State gave approval for development on 20 February 2019 


The former Tilbury Power Station site supports a nationally important assemblage of invertebrates, with 1,397 species recorded in recent surveys, including 159 species of conservation concern and 31 species identified as rare or threatened - a very high proportion. The important invertebrates found on the site include the Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum), Brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis), Sea aster mining bee (Colletes halophilus) and Five-banded weevil-wasp (Cerceris quinquefasciata).

Buglife has known about the importance of this site for brownfield invertebrates since 2005. Our ‘All of a Buzz in the Thames Gateway’ project identified the site as of high potential for brownfield invertebrates. Subsequent Buglife studies have shown up to 51% of similar high potential sites have been lost due to development in the six years between 2007 and 2013. The development of the former Tilbury Power Station site will add to the loss of wildlife-rich brownfields in the Thames Gateway and threaten the long-term future of the nationally important invertebrates found there.

The Tilbury 2 development will expand the Port of Tilbury and create a new port terminal on the site of the disused Tilbury Power Station. The proposals are for a new Roll-on/Roll-off terminal to import and export containers, a new terminal to import and process bulk construction materials and external storage areas for other goods such as cars. To help the movement of goods and containers, new rail sidings will also be built as well as a new link road and extended jetty.


Jamie Robins, planning lead at Buglife said “This is an exceptional site for brownfield invertebrates. The wide mosaic of successional habitats such as Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA), Lytag and other substrates, has allowed drought stressed grasslands, lichen heath, herb and lichen-rich grasslands to develop. The incredible assemblage of invertebrates currently found on this site won’t be able to survive on the tiny areas of land that will be retained following this development. Much more needs to be done to ensure that these plans don’t lead to yet another loss of brownfield biodiversity in the Thames Gateway.”


Buglife are inviting the public to sign our petition to oppose the expansion plans.

As Buglife’s petition to stop the Tilbury expansion approaches 75,000 signatures, Natural England have submitted a very strong condemnation of the impact of losing the valuable wildlife site around the Tilbury Power Station.

Natural England’s response states “In our opinion, the overall assemblage could be considered to be of sufficient quality to meet the designation requirements of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).” They further add that “The Lytag LoWS (Local Wildlife Site) in particular is regarded as almost unique in England and, whilst as a brownfield habitat it is man-made, would be very difficult to re-create with confidence on a compensation site should it be lost to development”.