Supplementary memorandum by English Nature
TRANSPORT SUB-COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO PORTS
At the oral session of the Inquiry on 28 March,
English Nature undertook to provide further details of the habitat
creation work at Kilnsea resulting from a Section 16 Agreement
between English Nature and Associated British Ports. This supplementary
evidence fulfils that commitment.
In providing this evidence, we also wish to
refute the accusations that we "stole" the Kilnsea site
from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
To create new wetland habitat on former arable
to offset habitat lost at Saltend and Immingham as part of consented
port development. Initially the project sought to create freshwater
wetland and wet grassland habitat, which might be used largely
by roosting and feeding waterfowl (wildfowl and waders). This
land is considered to be a possible site for managed realignment
and the creation of new mudflat following the completion of the
Humber Estuary Shoreline Management Plan and identification of
appropriate managed realignment options.
The agreement was completed on 24 December 1998.
English Nature leased the Kilnsea land from ABP and has undertaken
the necessary management work to secure the initial phase of habitat
creation (ie wet grassland).
Breaking of existing field drains
to impede drainage and allow the site to wet-up.
Fencing to a standard sufficient
to satisfy the requirements of a local grazier.
Establishment of grass sward.
Securing grazing to bring the new
grassland into a condition suitable for the wetland birds.
Establishment of dipwells to monitor
progress of impeded drainage and increased water levels.
Monitoring numbers of birds using
English Nature have undertaken all of the management
work including setting up and quality assuring contracts (eg fencing).
Furthermore, we have established monitoring programmes for water
levels and bird usage and have done this work using our own staff.
Additionally, we have been working to secure more detailed monitoring
work through links with the University of Hull. Capital costs
for materials have been claimed back from ABP, but staff costs
have been borne by English Nature. These amount to:
||Time input||Ongoing staff costs (time)
||Daily rate £
| Chartered Surveyor||Grazing licences, liaison with ABP
||5 days||2 days yr
|Site management staff||Fencing, gates, dipwells, breaking land drains etc
||8 days||4 days yr
|Conservation Officer||Monitoring dipwells, liaising with graziers etc. Overseeing bird monitoring
||12 days||8 days yr
Staff costs are therefore estimated at £2,979 with an
ongoing yearly commitment of £983 per annum. This estimate
does not include other costs such as office space and support
on-costs that would normally be charged in a commercial environment.
Nor does it include the other transport and subsistence costs
that these are. However, it is worth pointing out that the project
is overseen from our offices at York, which are some considerable
distance from Kilnsea.
The site is meeting its initial objectives and is now deceptively
wet with pools of water amongst grass. Bird usage continues to
increase, with peak counts of up to 2,500. The only species which
is not represented on the site, but was displaced by the developments,
is ringed plover, a bird which would not be expected to visit
the site. Wet coastal grasslands are a very rare resource around
the Humber and although the site does not compensate for lost
habitats "like for like" it has made an important contribution
to the overall suite of habitats available to migratory waterfowl.
On a recent visit our staff also noted displaying lapwing, suggesting
that the site is in appropriate condition to support breeding
This agreement was the result of negotiations between English
Nature and ABP. Initially, it had been suggested that the site
should be passed on to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, but finally English
Nature agreed to responsibility for managing the site. The rationale
for this was that YWT had more limited staff resources than English
Nature and would be less well-placed to deliver the results that
were needed. This was exemplified by the failure of the Trust
to manage a similar parcel of land which has been their responsibility
for some years and has still to be reverted to wet grassland.
Part of this land is strategically placed for managed realignment
and we would ultimately expect the sea walls to be moved. Such
a project would require substantial capital costs and the involvement
of various other agencies such as the Environment Agency. It would
therefore be unreasonable to assert that this was English Nature's
responsibility and that we had failed to deliver what ABP had
expected. At the time of the agreement, the Humber Estuary Shoreline
Management Plan had not been completed and it was premature to
expect the resulting flood defence strategy to be implemented.