Known as Swanscombe Marshes, this urban wilderness is home to thousands of invertebrate species, including over 200 species of conservation concern. This outstanding assemblage is of national importance, ranking with our best invertebrate brownfield sites. It is one of just two places in the UK for the Critically Endangered Distinguished Jumping Spider (Attulus distinguendus), among the host of rare bees, beetles, moths and other invertebrates recorded there.
The Swanscombe Peninsula has a complicated history, with the coastal grazing marsh and grassland habitats subject to landfill and the dumping of cement waste. It also plays host to water treatment works, the HS1 railway and jetties – it even has the UK’s tallest electricity pylon! But despite this, the mixture of natural coastal features and human interference has created a brownfield of the highest quality for wildlife, as well as a valued community space for walking, bird watching, angling and escaping the hustle and bustle of North Kent.
Distinguished Jumping Spider (Attulus distinguendus) © P.Harvey
Thanks to its outstanding wildlife and following a concerted campaign by Buglife, CPRE Kent, Kent Wildlife Trust and RSPB, it was made a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) last year. SSSIs like the Swanscombe Peninsula are the backbone of the UK’s protected sites network; they include our best habitats and are essential to protecting wildlife and supporting healthy ecosystems. For local people in Swanscombe, Greenhithe and Northfleet, the Swanscombe Peninsula is also a much-loved green lung and open space.
But all of this is now threatened by the proposed London Resort theme park. Hyped as the ‘UK’s Disneyland’, much of the unique habitat of Swanscombe Marshes would be destroyed and concreted. At a time when the value of wildlife and open spaces is being appreciated more than ever and amid ongoing declines in some of our best loved wildlife, we can’t let such a precious site be lost.
Swanscombe Marshes © Daniel Greenwood
Buglife Planning Lead, Jamie Robins says “Brownfields like Swanscombe Marshes are some of the most important places in the country for invertebrates. Our No Insectinction manifesto calls for ‘safe spaces’ for invertebrates – the site being designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest is a crucial first step. Now we have to make sure that this theme park is stopped. We need to be clear that a nationally important wildlife site such as Swanscombe should be out of bounds to developers.”
The Secretary of State has accepted the London Resort application for Examination as a National Infrastructure Planning case and is due to be examined in 2022.
The London Resort Theme Park would be No Fun for Nature. Buglife wants to protect this wildlife haven from an unnecessary and ill-thought development, saving it for future generations to enjoy.
If you have any additional questions take a look at our “London Resort Fact Check“. Still have questions? Get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer them.
Kestrel at Swanscombe Marshes © Barry Wright
Thank you for your continued support to Save Swanscombe Marshes. Sadly, Swanscombe isn’t safe yet so if you haven’t already, please do sign and share our petition. “No fun for Nature – Save Swanscombe Marshes” has already been signed by over 35,000 people can you help us reach our 40,000 target?
Our Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI CrowdJustice fund is still open with a stretch target of £60,000 almost met. £60,000 will cover the cost of specialist barristers who are experienced in the legal proceedings and can cast a critical eye over the processes and decisions as well as all calling in other expert advice and opinion to help shape our response.