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Views to be sought about visitor impact on former gravel pits

Parks, sports and leisure

15 November 2021

Map segment showing the location of the gravel pits

Public views will soon be sought on plans to limit the impact recreational use has on the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Special Protection Area (SPA) to the east of Northampton.

The area lies between Brackmills Industrial Estate and Riverside Retail Park and is part of a series of former gravel pits running along the length of the River Nene between Northampton and Thrapston.

Cabinet on Tuesday 9 November agreed that our Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits SPA Mitigation Strategy can go out for public consultation.

The strategy will help safeguard birds such as the golden plover and lapwing, which are protected by national and international legislation, and which over winter at the gravel pits.

Cllr Rebecca Breese, Cabinet Member for Planning, Built Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “Many people visit the area and of course, we want to make sure people can get out and exercise in these beautiful surroundings.

“However, we also need to consider local biodiversity, so we feel some controls might be appropriate.

“Adoption of the mitigation strategy will allow us to put measures in place and to educate visitors about the wonderful wildlife we’d like to protect.

“This valuable, natural asset can then be enjoyed for many years to come by people living in West Northamptonshire.”

New development within 3km of the area will add visitor pressure and the strategy sets out the financial contribution developers will have to make for measures needed to protect wildlife, including fencing, signage, and wardens.

Signage would encourage visitors of the need to keep dogs on lead to avoid bird disturbance along with information on nearby green spaces where dogs can be exercised off lead.

The strategy is similar in nature to others around the country which seek to protect important habitats such as the Thames Basin Heath and the New Forest.

The consultation will run for eight weeks from 13 December to 7 February. Details can be found on our Consultation page from 13 December onwards.

A copy of the mitigation strategy can also be found on our website from 13 December onward.

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