WILDLIFE has been put under the spotlight – by industrialists who are planning the future of the Tees Valley.
Roosting birds have taken the latest headlines in the plans for an enterprise zone in Hartlepool that could create thousands of jobs.
Campaigners at Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) do not want a prosperous economic future to happen without any thought for wildlife.
A progress report prepared by TVU officials said talks have already been held with Natural England, the Environment Agency and RSPB to identify any worries on habitats and species that could be affected by development.
It added: “It is important to ensure that the simplified planning regime for the enterprise zone sites creates the right conditions for economic development and growth, whilst not having an impact on the environment and wildlife.”
The report said the process for dealing with planning applications – called Local Development Orders (LDOs) – for the zone was going well and it was all happening through regular dialogue.
It added: “A good example of the benefit of this early dialogue is at the Port Estates EZ site in Hartlepool. Concerns were raised by Natural England about wetland birds actively using parts of the Port at certain times of year.
“Natural England advised on mitigation works to enhance the existing roost island within Hartlepool West Harbour. A condition for this was included within the draft LDO, avoiding any potential delays to the EZ timetable.”
Hartlepool has clinched a 33 per cent share of the Tees Valley-wide enterprise zone site.
Potentially up to 15,000 jobs could be created for areas including Queens Meadow, Port Estates, and Oakesway in Hartlepool, with thousands more jobs likely for the rest of Teesside.
The report added: “The LDOs are on track for submission to Government, subject to resolving issues raised during public consultation. A report on the consultation will be prepared to accompany the final submission.”