Natural England told that you want the Swanscombe Peninsula protected

Swanscombe Marshes (c) Daniel Greenwood

The deadline for supporting the designation of the Swanscombe Peninsula as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) SSSI is 12th July 2021. Can you spare 10 minutes to tell Natural England that you agree that this nationally important wildlife site should be protected?

 

The importance of the Swanscombe Peninsula for nature was recognised by Natural England in March, when it notified this wildlife haven in North Kent as a SSSI. This means it is an area of particularly high interest for its wildlife and significance for our natural heritage. Although this legal protection took effect immediately, there is currently a consultation on this designation.

Will you help us make sure that one of the country’s most threatened wildlife sites receives the protection that it deserves, by taking part in the online consultation and letting Natural England know that you want its SSSI designation to stay?

The consultation portal is currently live at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-england/swanscombe-peninsula/, where you can find all of the information on the proposed SSSI, including the detailed analysis of its precious flora and fauna together with and a map of the proposed SSSI.

You can respond to the consultation online following the guidance below, but if you would rather, you can simply compose your own email, outlining your support for the SSSI designation and sending it to [email protected]. You can find guidance on what to say in our answer to question B6 below.

When you are ready to take part in the online consultation, make sure that you have 5 or 10 minutes free, then click on ‘Click here to submit an online response’ near the bottom of the page.

The first page asks you to say who you are and asks if you have any legal interests in the land or own any land in the SSSI. It is important that even if you have been made aware of the consultation by any of Buglife, CPRE Kent, Kent Wildlife Trust or RSPB, that you make it clear that you are answering on behalf of yourself and not for an organisation in question A4.

The second page is for ‘Your views on the Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI notification’. Most of these questions simply require you to select ‘Yes’, as the text boxes are reserved for explaining any objections. However, the following should help guide you through this section easily:

B1. Do you accept the scientific rationale behind the notification of this site for its special interest?

Please select ‘Yes’ and move on to the next question, leaving the text box blank

B2. Do you agree that the boundary of the SSSI appropriately encompasses the features of special interest?

Please select ‘Yes’ and move on to the next question, leaving the text box blank

B3. Do you agree with the views about management?

Please select ‘Yes’ and move on to the next question, leaving the text box blank

B4. Do you agree that the operations requiring Natural England’s consent are appropriate?

Please select ‘Yes’ and move on to the next question, leaving the text box blank

B5. Do you have any additional evidence or further comments that you wish to submit in relation to the SSSI?

If you don’t have any additional information or thoughts that would further support the SSSI notification, please select ‘No’ and move on to the next question, leaving the text box blank.

However, if you have any additional evidence such as your own survey data or observations of wildlife using Swanscombe Peninsula, then select ‘Yes’ and either explain your evidence in the textbox or choose to upload a file by selecting ‘Choose file’.

B6. Do you wish to submit a representation to the notification of Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI?

Please select ‘Yes, I support the notification’.

This is your opportunity to clearly say why you believe that the Swanscombe Peninsula should be notified as a SSSI in your own words. Some ideas of what you can write are included below, but take any opportunity to personalise your response, with your own views on the site and your own experiences of Swanscombe if you live locally.

Explain why you think that the notification is justified based on the important wildlife and habitats that the Swanscombe Peninsula supports. This could include highlighting:

  • The supporting information compiled by Natural England provides a detailed picture of the rich wildlife on the Swanscombe Peninsula.
  • The Swanscombe Peninsula clearly meets the criteria for qualifying as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
  • Swanscombe supports a unique complex of open mosaic habitat on previously developed land and estuarine habitats, including grasslands, scrub, wetlands, grazing marsh and saltmarsh.
  • The nationally important assemblage of rare and threatened invertebrates, rich breeding bird assemblages and populations of nationally scarce vascular plants make it essential that the site is protected as a SSSI.
  • Swanscombe Peninsula is also a vital greenspace for the local community, a place where they can escape and re-connect with nature.
  • Highlight your concerns that wildlife across the country is in catastrophic decline, and that it is more important than ever to make sure that places like Swanscombe Peninsula are protected for future generations and for perpetuity.

The third page is then simply answering if you are happy with the online consultation process- your chance to give feedback on the consultation itself.

The fourth page will then ask you to click ‘Submit Response’ which will then give Natural England permission to include and analyse your submission. You will then be emailed a copy of your final submission.

Thank you for your continued support for our efforts to Save Swanscombe. If you haven’t already done so, please sign and share our petition, which has already been signed by over 24,300 people.

Attulus distinguendus (c) Roman Willi

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