If these developments continue it is likely that birds such as black-tailed godwits will cease using their favoured feeding grounds.
The Humber estuary is one of the six most important places for birds in the UK. During the winter, it is home to thousands and serves as an important refuelling point for many more on their way from Northern Europe to sunnier climes.
The mudflats are stuffed with creepy crawlies, offering a banquet at low tide for many wading species including curlews, golden plovers and black-tailed godwits. It is estimated that more than 170,000 birds use the Humber area during the winter. What's more, the Humber is also a hive of bird activity in the summer with the RSPB's Read's Island boasting an avocet breeding colony and marsh harriers.
The south bank of the Humber is not only popular with birds but also with industry and has become a hotspot of port-related activity. Known as the South Humber Gateway, there are aspirations to make the site a globally important hub for port-related industry including energy production and chemical manufacture. If not managed properly, this could lead to the loss of roosting and foraging habitat for birds at high tide.
Rising sea levels associated with climate change, meanwhile, are causing the loss of intertidal habitat particularly mudflats, saltmarsh and lagoons.
If the Humber estuary is going to retain its importance for wintering birds, we need to replace areas of intertidal habitat lost to rising sea levels and ensure that any development proposals make adequate provision for waterbirds.
Our objections and concerns
One of our concerns was a proposal by Able UK for a massive 3 square kilometres port-related storage facility on a site on Halton Marshes.
The site of the proposal is currently open farmland where many birds roost and forage at high tide when their mudflat feeding grounds are underwater.
We recognise the aspirations to create a world-class economy around the South Humber Bank but we also strongly support the need to sustain a worldclass environment. We argued that Able UK's original proposal, which was submitted to and accepted by North Lincolnshire Council last year, did not make adequate provision for the foraging and roosting waterbirds.
We worked hard to find a resolution with the applicant, Able UK, North Lincolnshire Council and Natural England, the Government's nature conservation adviser. We agreed a way forward, which addressed our outstanding concerns around impacts on the waterbirds affected by this proposal. We also identified a way forward which would allow this application to be re-considered by the Council and avoid any unnecessary delays.
Some of the other objections were less simple to resolve but we are confident we can find a way forward which meets the aspirations of Able UK and safeguards the amazing wildlife of this estuary.