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How looking after ecology opens the door to industry

SHIIP: The most ambitious industrial development project in North East Lincolnshire Council’s history is proud to include the largest wildlife protection area of its kind in Europe.

How looking after ecology opens the door to industry

The first site is now up and running along the South Humber bank to protect vital feeding grounds for more than 60 species of birdlife. Developed as part of the South Humber Industrial Investment Project, (SHIIP), Cress Marsh stretches across 100 acres and is the first and largest piece of land to be developed in this way as part of SHIIP.

Once completed, the whole project will represent the largest mitigation site in Europe for the protection of the birds that rely on the mud flats south of the Humber estuary for their winter feeding.

Cress Marsh is already attracting significant wildlife. In just one day in July, recordings show 13 different varieties of bird feeding there – including Herring Gulls, skylark, lapwing and wagtail. Three species of butterfly, and stag and roe deer were also noted. With support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP), North East Lincolnshire Council and its regeneration partner ENGIE, Cress Marsh was purchased with significant ground works, fencing and the creation of a bird hide then taking place.

The development of the mitigation site is part of the overarching £42-million SHIIP plan which includes the development of 94-hectares of identified land between Immingham and Grimsby. This will contain the necessary infrastructure and road connections to attract business with a new Stallingborough Business Park, supported by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (HLEP), part of the offer.

Also, part of SHIIP is the building of the £8-million Humber Link Road. Constructed in three phases, with support from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, (GLLEP), the 2.5-kilometre highway links Hobson Way, Stallingborough to Moody Lane, Grimsby – offering a better option for traffic that currently uses the A180.

The mitigation site is being created to negate the impact of the new industrial developments on the wildlife and gives it a unique competitive advantage over other areas.

SHIIP project manager Winston Phillips explains how new developments along the South Humber bank come with a requirement for businesses to offset their developments with specified areas of mitigation land – providing sanctuaries for the wildlife that come to the UK and EU-protected nature area.

In other areas of the UK, companies will have to sort all of this out for themselves, which – aside from the cost – can cause significant delays to the submission of planning applications.

“However, the work of SHIIP is taking all of this way from a potential investor, the work will have already taken place, and this gives North East Lincolnshire a large competitive advantage over other areas,” explained Winston.

“We should not underestimate the pull of such an offer for companies that have made plans and want to move on as efficiently as possible,” he added.

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