Since my last post (1) I have walked the proposed stretch that will join the newly proposed route of Penwortham By-pass to a new bridge over the river Ribble.
Whether this will be built is open to conjecture at the moment. However what makes it significant is that the completion of Penwortham by the new route will only work if it is built. There are many flaws with this.
It needs to pass Howick Cross electrical substation.
It will destroy an area of natural coastline.
It will run through Lea Marsh, which is a Biological Heritage Site. I have learnt through LERN (2) that this is a grazing marsh composed of salt marsh grasses and rushes. It is the home of two rare species; long-stalked orache and meadow barley.
Through the Lancashire Wildlife Trust I have found out downstream lies The Ribble and Alt Estuary Special Protection Area. Unfortunately Biological Heritage sites are nowhere near as well protected. In this case, if a bridge was built it would be acceptable for saltmarsh and mudflat to be restored elsewhere.
Personally I don’t agree with the argument that it’s acceptable to destroy a piece of land so long as a similar habitat is created somewhere else. It won’t be the same. In fact this is an insipid cover for the fact a unique piece of land will be ruined, its grasses gone for good, its birds and wildlife dehomed.
I’ve been in touch with the RSPB but they haven’t got back to me about the different birds who live in the area yet. However a walk down the river reveals this is the habitat of herons, cormorants, oyster-catchers, lapwings and a variety of gulls.
Is the destruction of this natural coastline, its vegetation and the homes of many birds worth an extra ten minutes off travel time to the industrial sector at Warton, for those privileged enough to be able to afford to own cars? My answer is no.
I’d like to thank Nik Bruce at LERN and David Dunlop at Lancashire Wildlife Trust for their quick replies to my e-mails and making this information avaible.