Bird plans on show

Greatham resident and Parish Council member Margo (CORRECT) Simmonds goes over the bird habitat plans for the village with Charles Forman from the Environment Agency during a public consultation in the community centre.

Greatham resident and Parish Council member Margo (CORRECT) Simmonds goes over the bird habitat plans for the village with Charles Forman from the Environment Agency during a public consultation in the community centre.

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RESIDENTS in Greatham were updated on plans to create a new bird habitat area near their homes.

Project leaders from the Environment Agency held a drop-in session in the village this week to update residents and answer any questions about the proposals.

The event was held at Greatham Community Centre, where details of the plans were on show.

A site north of Greatham Creek has been identified to create a new inter-tidal habitat to compensate for habitat being lost to rising sea levels and flood defences across the Tees Estuary and at Redcar.

The Environment Agency says it has a legal obligation to replace it, and the Greatham site is the only suitable low lying location in the estuary area.

Charles Forman of the Environment Agency said: “In March 2009, we bought land at Marsh House Farm, Greatham, and have since investigated ground conditions and carried out computer modelling of the tides and water levels to help us with our designs to ensure we maintain and improve flood defences across the estuary.

“We wanted to update the community on the progress we have made in the last year and to outline our latest proposals which have been drawn up taking account of the views we received at our last drop-in event in November 2010.”

The Environment Agency says the Greatham scheme is part of a wider strategy for the Tees Estuary to protect properties from flooding and ensure valuable wildlife habitat is maintained.

It plans to build a new bank further inland from the existing embankment.

Inter-tidal zones are land which is under water at high tide but exposed at low tide.

Much of the inter-tidal habitat around the Tees Estuary is legally protected because it is internationally important for birds.

The Environment Agency hopes to apply for planning permission in December and begin work next spring.