Essex County Council plants 5,000 sq metre meadow in Mersea Island to rejuvenate natural habitats

Wed, 24/01/2024 - 10:47

The new Mersea meadow marks the council’s first move in ensuring habitats are in a better state than before developments take place.

A meadow spanning 5,000 sq metres has been planted in Mersea Island to help rejuvenate 30% of green spaces around the River Blackwater and River Colne.

Facilitated by Essex Forest Initiative, a commitment by Essex County Council to plant over 375,000 trees in the county between 2019 and 2025, roughly 600 metres of hedgerows and 5,000 sq metres of shrubs are now growing adjacent to the Essex Outdoors Mersea centre.

The meadow will help the council’s aim to protect nearly a third of natural areas identified in the Essex Climate Focus Area, which covers the River Blackwater and River Colne.

It also marks the council’s first move in supporting Biodiversity Net Gain, a government initiative to ensure natural habitats are in better state than before developments take place.

Councillor Peter Schwier, Climate Czar and Cabinet Member for Environment, Waste Reduction and Recycling at Essex County Council, lent a hand at the planting. He said: “I am delighted we have been able to begin the delivery of Biodiversity Net Gain by creating what will be a beautiful natural meadow.

“This new meadow also helps us achieve our aims for the Essex Climate Focus Area, as well as our ambitious Essex Climate Action Plan.

“Essex County Council understands the importance of Biodiversity Net Gain and wants to lead the way for its delivery in Essex.”

John Meehan, Head of Climate Adaptation & Mitigation at Essex County Council, was also in attendance. He added: “I am really excited to see this field, which was growing peas last year, being converted to a wildlife site.

“We can see the native meadow grasses emerging and now we are planting native trees and shrubs.

“In the summer, we will move sheep onto the site, and it will become a haven for meadow-loving birds such as turtle dove, corn bunting and yellow wagtail. We have extended the footpath network so local people can enjoy the site too.”

The council’s extensive climate action work to date can be found in the Essex Climate Action Annual Reports.