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Tuesday, 17 December 2013 (3046625)
Air safety fears prompt more talks on salt marsh scheme
by Danielle Thompson

PLANS to create a new salt marsh at Hesketh Bank have been put on hold while more discussions over aviation safety and navigation take place.

The Environment Agency, Natural England, who safeguard England's landscapes and protect wildlife and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds submitted a planning application in September to create an intertidal salt marsh habitat at Hesketh Out Marsh.

A salt marsh is a grassed or shrubbed zone between land and open salt water flooded by the tides, which delivers nutrients to coastal waters, support land animals and provide coastal protection.

The salt marsh creation would involve the upgrade of the existing inner flood defence embankment and breaches in the outer embankment to enable the creation of the salt marsh, including the excavation of lagoons and creeks, construction of access ridges through the site, installation of bird hide, extension to existing car park, improvements to the footpath along the crest of the embankment and reprofiling of existing access ramps into the site.

But plans were met with protests by a boatyard and an airport who fear that the proposal could put them out of business.

Raymond Jackson, the director of the Douglas Boatyard raised fears that changes to sedimentation and additional silt in the River Douglas could make the channel un-navigable, while a spokesman for the Canal and River Trust said affected sedimentation patterns would be detrimental to the leisure value of the waterways.

A spokesman for Preston Marina said that an adverse effect on navigation could be ‘very serious’ for their business and a spokesman for Blackpool Airport raised fears that the development presented a hazard aircraft around Blackpool Airport

The decision was made by the West Lancashire Borough Council planning committee on Thursday December 12 that planning permission was deferred for further safety discussions.


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