Stephen Metcalfe, local MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, joined legendary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough at the opening of the Thameside Nature Park on Saturday.
The former landfill site has been transformed into a beautiful and innovative nature reserve and visitor centre with superb views over the flats and Thames Estuary. The 120 acre wildlife site lies on 50 years of waster from six London Boroughs making the transformation into grasslands, woodland, ponds and reedbeds quite remarkable.
Mr Metcalfe commented: “Despite the weather, it was fantastic to be at the opening of this incredible site and to be in the esteemed company of Sir David Attenbourgh. The transformation really is incredible and it is something that Essex Wildlife Trust should be extremely proud of.”
“It is not only an achievement in terms of nature but also for science and engineering. The methane gas created by the waste from the landfill is being siphoned off underground to be used for energy and the visitor centre comes complete with hydraulic jacks to cope with settlement of the rubbish below.”
The site has become a haven for bees, thousands of birds, and reptiles and has attracted rare and threatened species including the skylark, adders, the shill carder bee, and water voles. There are also cycle paths and walkways enabling visitors to see all that the reserve has to offer.
Mr Metcalfe added: “Sir David Attenborough was right when he said This is a great new chapter in the history of this part of the Thames Estuary. I would encourage all of my constituents to get out and enjoy this great place and I look forward to seeing it grow and develop in the future.”