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How looking after ecology opens the door to industry

9:06 am, Thursday, 3rd October 2019

More than 13 species of birdlife, deer and three varieties of butterflies were recorded on just one day this summer at North East Lincolnshire’s new industrial wildlife haven, which, when complete, will be the largest of its kind in Europe.

Meanwhile nearby, a new £8-million road linking Immingham to Grimsby, which is part of the same £42-million project, is progressing well with the first phase due to be completed later this autumn.

The wildlife haven and the road are part of SHIIP (South Humber Industrial Investment Project). Over the next decade this huge project – the most ambitious in North East Lincolnshire’s history – will see:

  • 94 hectares of former farmland opened-up for industrial development, with the necessary highway and utilities infrastructure to attract new business – the creation of 4,000 jobs is the eventual target. A new Stallingborough Business Park is part of that offer;
  • The new 2.5-kilometre road, with cycle and pedestrian lanes, running from Moody Lane in Grimsby to Hobson Way, Stallingborough with a roundabout providing a through-link to the existing highways to Immingham and the port;
  • The completion of the largest mitigation site of its kind in Europe which will offset the loss of land for wildlife and bird habitat due to the SHIIP industrial developments.

Cress Marsh on the South Humber Bank is the first mitigation area and, with significant ground works completed, a bird hide has been built where volunteers, by invitation only, make regular visits to monitor wildlife on and around the new lagoon. The rest of the land will be marsh area, wetland and drier grassland for cattle.

As a heavily protected UK and EU site of interest for wintering birdlife, the mud flats on the South Humber Bank offer vital feeding grounds for birds, which fly here annually from across the globe. They need areas just inland for when the tide is high and during the night – one of these areas now being Cress Marsh.

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Ecology Officer Rachel Graham is delighted by the number and variety of birds that have already been attracted.

“Within this borough we have so much to shout about with a brilliant abundance of natural habitat,” said Rachel.

Less than a mile from Cress Marsh, work on phase one of the Humber Link Road is on schedule. This first part of the work runs from Hobson Way to near the South Humber Bank Power Station and is a completely new construction. Phase Two will take place on a smaller stretch running past the Lenzing factory on Energy Park Way with the final phase, a new road, will stretch to Moody Lane.

Link road project manager Neil Foster is in no doubt of its importance: “Improved infrastructure brings more opportunity and attracts investment. There is a lot to be gained from this,” he said.

The scale of SHIIP, (South Humber Industrial Investment Programme), reflects the aims of its ambassadors to attract an eclectic mix of industry and says, North East Lincolnshire Council’s Deputy Leader and Regeneration Lead, Cllr John Fenty, it is vital for the area.

“SHIIP is about investing for future prosperity, ambition and growth. Yes, significant money has been invested, but doing nothing is not an option and we must be brave. It is only by being so that we can develop as a place where people wish to invest, settle and grow,” he said.