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RSPB Saltholme expands thanks to Sembcorp

Last modified: 19 November 2014

RSPB Saltholme nature reserve, Transporter Bridge in background

Image: Andy Hay

The RSPB is celebrating as one of its nature reserves, RSPB Saltholme, is expanding after taking over management of an additional six hectares of land opposite the reserve.

The reserve, near Stockton-on-Tees, has received the land from Sembcorp Utilities UK, an industrial energy company, based at the Wilton International site on Teesside. In addition, the reserve has received over £20,000 of funding from the SITA Trust to enable them to provide grazing facilities, including fencing the area in preparation for livestock. 

Emma Birnie, RSPB Saltholme’s Estate Manager, said: “This piece of land is like the final piece in a jigsaw. The new area buffers some land we already own, which is a designated Special Protected Area (SPA). This grassland means there is now enough pasture for us to graze cattle, which is essential to ensure the best management of the site.”

The long-term lease, which complements a similar lease on adjacent Sembcorp-owned land, runs until 2106 and will allow the whole of the area to be better managed.

Emma added: “As the area is an SPA, the window of opportunity for doing work on the land is small. However what we have planned will make this site a haven for breeding birds like lapwing and water rail, pochard and the iconic great crested grebe.”

Dr Douglas Annan, Senior Vice President and Site Director of Sembcorp Utilities UK, said: “We were delighted to lease the land for such an environmentally important purpose.”

Saltholme is open every day except Christmas day from 10am until 4pm November to March and until 5pm April to October. Entrance is free for RSPB members and £4 per car for non-RSPB members.

For further information, visit or contact the reserve on 01642 546625 or email

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