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A Christmas gift from Natural England to the wildlife of Kent

Cooling Marshes
photo Alex Bates

After months of preparation I am delighted to announce that Natural England have consented for wetland restoration work to begin on Cooling Marsh on the Hoo Peninsula in North Kent.

Incomparable farmer, Alex Bates has been working hard to turn his land around for wetland birds and improve the fortunes of breeding waders on the North Kent Marshes. Now, with help from the RSPB and EPR Consultancy, who pulled together the paperwork needed to get consent, the project is ready to go.

Alex has been waiting for the go ahead before beginning work on restoring the wetland which will involve reversing years of marshland drainage in order to hold more water on the land in the spring. I have been working with Alex for the last few years and know how delighted he will be to finally rev up his engine and get going on this project which he is funding himself.

Cooling Marshes is a fabulous open area of grassland situated right on the Thames. Lapwing currently breed there in small numbers but this project represents a fantastic piece of the jigsaw which could really make a difference.

Well done to everyone involved in getting this project signed off. In a year when, at times, it has felt like everything the farmers and I are trying to achieve on the marshes has been bogged down in paperwork, getting the green light for this is the best Christmas present we could have.

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