If North Tyneside Council insist in pursuing this reckless and contemptuous attitude towards the wildlife, it will have devastating effects.
Upon receiving correspondence to say amendments had been made to the planning application to address some of the potential ecological impact we felt relieved. This reassurance was short lived, and the application remains the same as do our concerns.
The Environmental Statement October 2017 provided by North Tyneside Council (NTC)/Fairhurst states the causeway has been designed to retain existing tidal restrictions to the Island and therefore no increase in accessibility to the Island will occur, the Habitats Regulation Assessment states there will be will be no reduction in the duration that the causeway is flooded.
As over 97% of the causeway is to be increased in height it would see a considerable reduction in the duration the causeway is flooded.
Additionally, it should be noted that;
- the section NTC intends to retain at the present height is not the section of the causeway that covers first and uncovers last. This point is some 15m from the point chosen by NTC. The documents fail to explain the rationale behind selecting this point to maintain at the present level vs maintaining the present covering and uncovering stretch at the existing levels.
- If a new covering and uncovering point is to be created can it be guaranteed to retain existing tidal restrictions to the island.
- although documents say a 5m section of the causeway will be kept at the existing level section drawings show that in actual fact there is to be a height increaase of between 200 and 250mm higher than at present and sit above the tide level on small (neap) tides.
- it is stated that the overlay thickness is a minimum of 200mm however section drawings show an increase in height of between 240 and 360mm.
While we fully support the need to refurbish the Lighthouse and associated buildings and welcome improved educational facilities and interpretation of the islands biodiversity and understand the causeway does need repairing we do not support the insensitive, unnecessary and by many unwanted additions of the two open top viewing platforms and the overall increase in level to the causeway.
However, two inappropriately built open top viewing platforms are still to be constructed with a convoluted management plan has been offered to circumnavigate the real issue which is that no attempt has been made to design these viewing platforms to avoid causing a disturbance what-should-i-do-with-my-letter/ and proposed repairs and improvements to the causeway will STILL result in an unspecified height increase.
Additionally, all reference to restricting access to the sensitive areas where disturbance occurs has been removed from the application.
As there has been no ecological benefits resulting from the amended and additional documents, with the viewing platforms, new level of the causeway and lack of mitigation to address increased footfall all potentially resulting in significant threat to biodiversity through loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitat we must once again urge you to lodge your objection how-to-object/ to the application and urge the competent authority , in the absence of suitably designed wildlife friendly viewing platforms, to limit this development to the refurbishment of the Lighthouse and surrounding buildings and repairs to the causeway which will see no increase in its overall level.