The London Resort has formally objected to Natural England’s notification of the Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI.
The objections centre around Natural England’s methodology, saying that the “grounds of the robustness of the evidence base, the lack of reasoned judgements by Natural England as required by the guidelines and Natural England’s failure to take a reasonable and proportionate approach”.
In particular, the London Resort challenges the choice of ecological survey data relied upon by Natural England:
“Absent (of) any alternative evidence or justification, it appears that the notification of all of these parcels of land has been undertaken in order to frustrate the DCO application, rather than to protect and safeguard areas which support notified interest features or which are specifically required to ensure that the interest features will be sustained.”
London Resort plans to invest £150m in ecology
Most of the area earmarked for the development has not been managed for many years. The London Resort argues that if left in this state, there will be a decline in ecological value and biodiversity:
“From the data summarised above, it is axiomatic that there has been a significant decline both in distribution and abundance of the vascular plant species across the site in recent years. As a result, there are significant doubts as to the long-term viability and sustainability of populations currently present within the site, even in the locations where they are present. There have also been identified declines in relation to breeding birds and invertebrates”.
LRCH has committed to invest £150m on “remediation, mitigation, habitat enhancement providing around 8 miles of footpaths and public rights of way and substantial ecological compensation” as part of the development.
In a statement, Andy Martin, Director of Strategy and Communications for London Resort said, “Sustainability has always been at the core of our vision. Our proposals show how we can deliver millions for the economy and thousands of jobs for the region while protecting and enhancing natural habitats. Natural England’s approach to designating the whole of the peninsula as an SSSI is at odds with that vision and, with the continuing degradation of much of the site, is sadly at odds with protecting nature.
“The selection and notification of the site as a SSSI was not made in reliance upon compelling or robust scientific evidence, but by the submission of the DCO application. The evidence obtained from the 2020 analysis substantially weakens the case for the notification of much of the site as a SSSI and is one of the key reasons behind our objection.”
Last month Merlin Entertainments challenged The London Resort’s planning application.
In April, PY Gerbeau, CE of The London Resort, spoke at greenloop about creating carbon neutral theme parks.