I love the coast – but I have to admit to being a land-lubber at heart. So heading off for the Thames this morning in full sunshine made me think that our planned boat trip would be running as planned. But the east coast has a mind of its own.
Our voyage was to be an opportunity to take journalists out to see the area currently targeted as four-runway airport in plans by architect Lord Foster – the boat trip will go ahead, but not today. The Thames was whipped into waves by the unrelenting wind – and it was with some relief that we were able to view the estuary from the shore at Grain.
It was all happening on Kent’s Hoo peninsula today as Shadow Transport Secretary, Maria Eagle MP, was visiting the area to get a first-hand account of the issues.
Shadow Transport Secretary, Maria Eagle MP, visiting Grain. Photo Rolf Williams RSPB
Braving the wind we managed to have a conversation about why the Thames is globally important for bird conservation, why this windy corner is a risk-filled environment for airport proposals (the Thames has been rejected repeatedly by study after study) why taking a massive bite out of the estuary’s capacity will give rise to potential impacts on the dynamics of the whole estuary and worsen flood risk, why we welcome the Government’s recent decision to declare the Thames Estuary a Nature Improvement Area.
It was good to catch up with local campaigners and – Friends of North Kent Marshes was born at the height of the last (successful) No Airport at Cliffe campaign.
The tide was in and gulls constantly rode the wind as they moved along the shore, a couple of hundred oystercatchers huddled in the lee of a bank – representatives of the hundreds of thousands of water birds that depend on the Thames for their survival.
It’s up to us to tell their story – and to step up for this special place (though, possibly not in a hat).
This post's author in conversation with Maria Eagle (I leave you to take view on the hat) Photo Rolf Williams RSPB
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A short and simple post.
Please watch the video and then please e-mail George Osborne. The Chancellor’s March budget will be a powerful signal of the intentions of the coalition Government towards the natural environment. We believe in a world enriched by nature, where growth is sustainable not at the short-term cost of our finest wildlife sites.
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