The proposed London Resort theme park development would lead to the loss of nationally important habitat for invertebrates and a host of other wildlife. The Swanscombe Peninusla supports a unique mosaic of coastal habitats, grasslands, scrub and wetlands that have developed as a result of the site’s complex brownfield history.
This diverse habitat supports an invertebrate assemblage of national importance, with over 250 species of conservation concern already recorded from the site, ranking it as one of the best invertebrate sites in the UK. It is one of only two sites for the Critically Endangered Distinguished jumping spider (Attulus distinguendus), but also supports the Sea aster mining bee (Colletes halophilus), Brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis), Black-headed mason wasp (Odynerus melanocephalus), Five-banded weevil wasp (Cerceris quinquefasciata), and the Saltmarsh shortspur beetle (Anisodactylus poeciloides) among a host of rare and scarce species.
The proposed layout would lead to the direct losses of significant areas of Priority habitat under Section 41 of the Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act (2006), including irreplaceable Open Mosaic Habitat on Previously Developed Land and coastal grazing marsh. The remaining habitats are also likely to suffer from long-term disturbance as a result of visitor numbers, lighting at night, noise, infrastructure and changes to the site’s habitat resources.
There also concerns that the development could disturb the Swanscombe Marine Conservation Zone, designated in 2019 for the Tentacled lagoon worm (Alkmaria romijni) which thrives in the intertidal habitat of the Thames where London Resort intends to create ferry infrastructure.
It isn’t just invertebrates that would suffer from the proposed theme park. Swanscombe supports populations of the Red listed Nightingale amongst its diverse breeding bird assemblages, while in winter it supports impressive populations of Redshank and Lapwing. Recent surveys have also identified strong populations of Common lizards, the presence of otters and a number of nationally scarce plant species.
The Swanscombe Peninsula is not the right location for the London Resort theme park and would have an unacceptable impact on the valuable habitats and species of the marshes.