Ouse Washes plans revealed at Coveney exhibition

PLANS to create a wildlife haven for birds on the Ouse Washes were revealed to villagers in Coveney this week as part of a 10-week public consultation launched by the Environment Agency.

The 500-acre wet grassland habitat site near the village will become a breeding ground and refuge for birds such as the Black Tailed Godwit and the plans were on display at Coveney Village Hall on Thursday, with dozens turning out to have a look.

Peter Doktor, project manager for the Environment Agency, said: “What we want to highlight to people in Coveney and in Witcham are the opportunities the project will bring in terms of public access and visitors to the centre.

“There will be cattle grazing the land so it will remain agriculturally productive and, should the situation regarding food security change, it can easily be converted back to arable land.”

Mr Doktor said that almost all the land for the project had been secured, with the final few acres being negotiated with landowners.

He hoped to have a planning application submitted to East Cambridgeshire District Council early next year and, should it be approved, work could be completed by 2014.

Two public exhibitions are being staged and a two-month online consultation has been launched to get views about proposed access and recreation facilities. The consultation is open until December 14.

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A second exhibition will be held at Witcham Village Hall on November 6, running from 1-7pm.

The public can also find information on the proposals and provide comments during the consultation by visiting www.environment-agency.gov.uk/ousewashes or writing to Peter Doktor, Environment Agency, Dragonfly House, 2 Gilders Way, Norwich NR3 1UB.