Save Swanscombe Marshes ~ the journey so far....

Swanscombe Marshes © Daniel Greenwood

Since July 2020, when it first became apparent that Swanscombe Peninsula was in danger of being concreted over to allow the building of a theme park, a lot has happened.  Below is a timeline of events so far, which we will continue to update as events progress.



July 2020 – Public consultation launched by the London Resort 

  • The London Resort launched a public consultation to canvas the views of all stakeholders regarding their plans to concrete over Swanscombe Peninsula.  The impressive wildlife survey data was put into the public domain; confirming Swanscombe’s importance to wildlife.  The London Resort’s own surveys revealed that Swanscombe supports over 2,000 species of invertebrate; including the Critically Endangered Distinguished Jumping Spider (Attulus distinguendus), found at only one other site in the UK and more than 200 species of conservation concern.

August 2020 – Petition launched by conservation charities


September 2020 – Conservation charities respond to Public consultation

  • Buglife and conservation partners responded to the London Resort’s public consultation, highlighting the importance of Swanscombe for rare and threatened wildlife; the unique and diverse habitats are irreplaceable.

January 2021 – Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) application accepted by Planning Inspectorate

  • The application for Swanscombe to be considered as a NSIP was accepted by the Planning Inspectorate.  NSIP’s are usually reserved for nationally important infrastructure, such as airports, power plants and motorways.  This is the first time a commercial NSIP has been accepted for examination.  Interested Parties encouraged to make representations.

February 2021 – Rationale for SSSI designation submitted to Natural England


March 2021 – Notification of the Swanscombe Peninsula as a SSSI announced

  • Natural England announced the notification of the Swanscombe Peninsula as a SSSI, subject to consultation.  Swanscombe was notified for its nationally important invertebrate assemblage, breeding bird assemblages and populations of nationally scarce flowering plants.  Swanscombe was afforded immediate, full legal protection as a SSSI under Section 28C of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).

October 2021 – Public rally held at Swanscombe

  • A Save Swanscombe Rally was held on location, with over 100 people attending to celebrate its wildlife and show their concern for the future of the area.  A film was produced during this event sharing the commitment and passion of the local Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI group.

October 2021 – Local Plan Consultation closes


November 2021 – SSSI notification ratified


December 2021 – Local Plan update submitted

  • Dartford Borough Council submitted an updated Local Plan, which commits to protecting and enhancing the SSSI for wildlife and people.

January 2022 – Crowd Justice appeal launched

  • A Crowd Justice Appeal was launched, by Buglife, RSPB,KWT, CPRE Kent and the Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI campaign group.  The purpose of which is to fund the costs of legal and expert advice, to challenge the development throughout the examination process.  In just three weeks the appeal was supported by more than 2000 pledges totaling over £51,000.

January 2022 – A coalition of charities wrote to the BBC

  • A coalition of charities ( including the Chief Executives of Buglife, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, National Trust, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, CPRE Kent, Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI, Kent Wildlife Trust, CPRE, Woodland Trust, The Wildlife Trusts and RSPB England) wrote to the BBC highlighting concerns regarding the BBC being identified as a commercial partner by the London Resort. The signatories believe that this is a clear matter of environmental leadership, and that associating with a SSSI destroying theme park further would have a significant reputational impact for the BBC, as well as going against its Royal Charter commitments to only act in the public interest.

February 2022 – Planning Inspectorate set Preliminary Meeting date

  • The Planning Inspectorate set a date for its Preliminary Meeting, where the timeline for the examination will be decided.  The meeting is scheduled to take place on the 29th March 2022.

March 2022 – Preliminary Meeting will take place

  • The timeline of the examination will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate.  The examination is expected to be completed in a six month period, with a further three month period for a recommendation to be passed on to the Secretary of State, who will then decide the outcome.

March 29th 2022 – Planning Application withdrawn by London Resort prior to the start of the Preliminary Meeting


What can you do to help at this moment in time?

  • 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 34,000 people can you help us reach our 35,000 target?

 

  • Our Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI CrowdJustice fund is still open with a stretch target of £60,000 almost met; the purpose of which is to fund the costs of legal and expert advice, to challenge the development throughout the examination process.  £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.

 

Distinguished jumping spider (Attulus distinguendus) © P.Harvey Distinguished jumping spider (Attulus distinguendus) © P.Harvey

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