Councillors deliver verdict on new wetland plans for Witcham and Coveney

Jerusalem Drove in Mepal, which will form part of the new wetland project

Jerusalem Drove in Mepal, which will form part of the new wetland project - Credit: Archant

AN ambitious scheme to convert more than 440 acres of fen farmland back into wetland will bring “significant biodiversity enhancements” according to council planners.

Flood Plane at Jerusalem Drove, Mepal

Flood Plane at Jerusalem Drove, Mepal - Credit: Archant

The Environment Agency has spent the last two years working and consulting on plans to create a vast new wetland habitat for birds and other wildlife on Grade I farmland between Witcham, Mepal, Coveney and Sutton.

The scheme will go some way towards helping the Government hit its target to convert more than 1,200 acres of land back into wetland habitat for birds as set by the European Union.

Peter Doktor, from the Environment Agency, said: “The new habitat will help create a network of wildlife sites around the Great Ouse and the wider Fens, helping wildlife to thrive in this internationally important wetland.

“We have consulted with residents and landowners around the Coveney site in an effort to ensure our proposals were acceptable to them. Following the granting of planning permission we will continue to liaise with the local community to minimise possible disruption during construction.”

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The first phase of construction is expected to begin in spring 2014.

According to the plans, the 400 acres of farmland would be seeded with a “grassland” mix, two key drains would be diverted, an underground storage lake would be created and the land would be partially flooded during the winter months.

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A new public footpath around the site will be created and a 10-space public car park built. The plans also include an array of solar panels for electricity generation.

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