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Harwich port expansion project gets 117 hectare wildlife sanctuary

Freeport East Dunlins in mud .jpg
The UK's Bathside Bay project in Harwich has had its plans for a 117 hectare wildlife sanctuary approved by local authorities.

The new development will create a mixture of estuarine and coastal habitats, including intertidal mudflat and saltmarsh.

Bathside Bay is located at Harwich International Port and has planning permission for a new container terminal which will be built on existing land and reclaimed land from the bay, creating up to 122 hectares of new port area.

Bathside Bay falls under Freeport East, one of eight freeports given approval by the UK government in January 2023. Freeport East encompasses Felixstowe, Harwich and Gateway 14.

The new wildlife environment was approved by Tendring District Council’s Planning Committee on Monday 18th March and includes the creation of a fresh/brackish water habitat and managed realignment of coastal flood defences at Little Oakley. Five viewing platforms and permissive footpaths will be in place to maintain access to a beach and enable visitors to enjoy the wildlife, including breeding waterbirds.

Steve Beel, Chief Executive of Freeport East, said: “Given the planning processes that most other projects face, Bathside Bay is one of the few new port projects in the UK with the potential to service the offshore wind sector in the coming years. Supporting the UK’s 2050 Net Zero aspirations already makes this a genuinely “green” development. However, we recog"nise the importance of balancing the demands for new infrastructure and development with protecting and nurturing our local biodiversity, both on land and in the marine environment.