01/09/2006 Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Man made Wetlands created in Essex

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THE UK’s largest man made wetland has been created at Wallasea Island in Essex. The 115 acre wetland was created by breaching the sea wall and will provide habitats lost to birds in the 1990s.

Seven artificial islands, saline lagoons and public footpaths have also been created. The newly-created saltmarsh is expected to attract birds such as avocets, little terns  and dunlins.

As well as benefiting birds, the wetland will also serve to improve flood defences and to create better fish nurseries and recreation opportunities.

According to biodiversity minister Barry Gardiner, the £7.5 million project is one of the most significant wetlands creations in Europe and recreates the "ancient wetlands of East Anglia".

"Saltmarsh is more rare than rainforest, and is important to people, particularly as a flood and storm defence, and to wildlife. Hundreds of thousands of wetland birds rely entirely on the Essex saltmarsh for their food each winter," said Mr Gardiner.

Chris Durdin from the eastern England branch of the RSPB, one of the groups the government worked with on the project, said that the development had been "a long time coming", particularly as habitats were lost due to port development at Lappel and Felixstowe during the 1990s.

"We're very pleased it's happened at last – we're very confident that this will work very well," he said.

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