Thames Gateway Minister Bob Neill today visited the new port and logistics park currently under construction at London Gateway. Watched by a group of children from the Abbotts Hall Primary School, the minister named the new Stanford Wharf Nature Reserve before helping to relocate wildlife from London Gateway to new homes on Canvey Island.
The ministerial visit was made in recognition of the sheer scale of the engineering and environmental strategies being applied by DP World London Gateway and wildlife groups to manage its environmental obligations. Over 200,000 animals have now been relocated off the construction site, making it the largest relocation of animals ever in the UK.
London Gateway’s new nature reserve is located just west of the new port and logistics park construction site, which together will create a Portcentric hub next to the largest consumer market in the UK, providing customers with substantial supply chain savings and efficiencies.
The reserve is 30 times the size of Trafalgar Square and was named today as the Stanford Wharf Nature Reserve, with thousands of birds expected to flock there every year. The name comes from historical connections as it used to be an ancient Roman salt manufacturing area. Salt was made from local sea water and transported as valuable freight across the UK due to its excellent food preservation qualities. DP World will publish a book on the site’s history in October.
Bob Neill MP said: “I am extremely pleased to be at London Gateway for the first time and to see for myself how DP World’s investment in this region is beginning to develop and restore confidence in the area’s economic recovery. This innovative development is changing the landscape along the Thames in many ways, bringing world class trading facilities, new jobs and training opportunities, at the same time as creating valuable green spaces for the local community and an ideal wildlife habitat.”
He added: “The new Stanford Wharf is steeped in the trading history of the Thames and will continue to be an important part of local life in Thurrock. I was proud to take part in the relocation of local wildlife as part of the important wider environmental strategy for the area and Thames Gateway.”
London Gateway’s chief executive Simon Moore said: “I’m delighted Bob was able to name the new reserve on this historical site. What we are doing here is all about taking London and south Essex back to its roots as an international maritime trading hub and the new name Stanford Wharf Nature Reserve reflects this well.”
The Thames Gateway minister went on to help ecologists release slow worms from the London Gateway site into their new homes on the RSPB’s West Canvey Marsh on Canvey Island, about four miles away. He released them into their new habitat under the careful eye of ecological experts and met with the RSPB’s regional manager Paul Fisher.
Paul said: “We already provide an ideal location for local people to observe wildlife such as little egrets, lapwings and marsh harriers at West Canvey Marsh. The reserve also provides the right habitat for reptiles such as slow worms, which are being relocated as part of this construction project. We are working with partners throughout the Thames Gateway to provide green spaces for people and wildlife.”