Spurn Bird Observatory

More on the YWT visitor centre plans

25 January 2016

The Observatory met with the RSPB last week to discuss their position on the YWT plan for their new visitor centre, below are the points brought to their attention.

1 The VC and mast is located adjacent to the Humber Estuary within the impact risk zones of the RAMSAR SSSI SAC and SPA. The estuary itself is nationally and arguably internationally important for passage and wintering waders with this stretch of foreshore being particularly important for roosting and feeding waders. The submission by the applicant includes WEBS counts information compiled by SBOT confirming this fact however the Map 5 – Discrete roost area (extract from the Shadows Habitats document) is submitted by the applicants has been doctored to mislead planners, statutory consultees and the general public. One of the main high tide wader roosts directly out from the proposed VC has been omitted. An ABPmer submission for the road to the point in 2013 clearly shows the correct roosts and it is quite clear there is likely to be significant recreational disturbance here.

2 When the point was open 90% of people went to the end and parked in the point car park. (see YWT comments in Shadows Habitat Document 1.10. Fortunately there are no high tide wader roosts in this locality so the impact of the 60,000 to 70,000 visitors was negligible on roosting and feeding waders. However the new proposal looks at steering visitors out east from the proposed VC along ‘Big Hedge’ to the sea or down the west side of ‘Clubleys field’ where people walk south to the warren and then along the Humber foreshore to the breach (narrow neck). YWT survey information attached confirms that 79% of people will walk to the breach (narrow neck) and if their aspirations of 60000 visitors is achieved then this means 47,400 visitors will cause huge recreational disturbance on the roosting and feeding waders between the warren and the breach assuming the re-direction is successful.

3 The observatory considers the survey data to be under reporting. Unfortunately the observatory records in larger areas at spurn but our intimate knowledge and continuing reference to residents note books which are more specific confirms that far more species than suggested from YWT surveys were present. Obviously time of day and tide state can play a large influence so it would be quite easy to survey at the wrong times of day so you return the information required. For instance several observations have been made of the Humber since 5th Jan 2016 demonstrating between 40 and 160 curlew directly out from the proposed VC. Clubley’s field has also held between 6 and 86 foraging curlew on at least 7 dates. The Car Park and newly proposed footpaths will cause disturbance here. Last spring and summer whimbrel were recorded in Clubley’s field on at least 11 occasions from April to July with a maximum of 14 birds.

4 We note in an extract from the new Hull Local Plan planning document that RSPB and YWT recommend a wind turbine exclusion zone of 600m around the Humber Estuary SPA. It is our view that the proposed radar tower is very similar in nature to a wind turbine as the proposed mast section utilizes a wind turbine base and has a rotating radar blade. We are at a bit of a loss as to why a conservation body would consider a radar scanner in such a sensitive location mounted on a wind turbine base with a rotating element. Obviously the observatory consider this to be a large risk due to displacement of roosting and feeding waders and also collision path of waders, raptors terns and wildfowl. As you know spurn is a funnel and most raptors pass over the triangle field.

5 With regard to the funnel affect the proposed location in our view will truncate wildlife corridors and habitat for tired migrants.

6 With the increase in visitors to potentially 60,000 then some will head north and again we consider un due pressure will be put on the Little Tern colony.

7 The suggested screening mitigation to the VC disabled ramp is a ‘willow fence’ Not sure what this quite means but if it is planted it won’t grow or take 20 to 30 years to become established due to the salt laden air and wind or if fence panels it will need to be engineered designed else it will be destroyed in the first period of adverse weather /winds. A willow fence panel in an exposed location would simply fall apart due to wind speeds.
‘From the above facts is very obvious to the committee that by far the most sensible location when putting wildlife first and foremost is Kilnsea Wetlands. It’s a big win for the birds and a location that I am sure will get the backing of the whole community. Surely that’s what a community grant should aim to achieve. There are other less significant issues but these are the main considerations of the Observatory.

Kind Regards
Rob Adams
Chairman Spurn Bird Observatory

For further information on some other reasons local residents and birders alike are objecting to these plans readers may want to visit this blog

or

this facebook site

Both of which have lots of information regarding this matter

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