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Funder's latest contribution to Rainham Marshes nature reserve ensures the sites' attractions will grow for future generations

Last modified: 10 August 2016

Sally Miller from Veolia North Thames Trust tests the electric fence, flanked by (left to right) warden Nicole Khan, RSPB SE Director Chris Corrigan and Neil Fuller, from NE and a VNTT trustee

Sally Miller from VNTT tests the electric fence, flanked by (L to R) warden Nicole Khan, RSPB SE Director Chris Corrigan and Neil Fuller, from NE and a VNTT trustee (c) Tony O’Brien

Image: Tony O'Brien

Veolia North Thames Trust has been funding projects at the RSPB’s Rainham Marshes nature reserve for nearly two decades. The UK Government requires operators of all landfill sites to pay a levy which is used specifically to enhance and improve adjoining areas. 

The latest project has seen a £100,000 grant to cover the cost and installation of a 2.6 mile long fence around Wennington Marsh in the centre of the nature reserve. The site attracts ground nesting lapwings, but many chicks are lost to foxes every year. The species is currently red-listed as the population is falling. The fence will allow them to breed successfully and reverse their slide towards extinction.

“VNTT’s support has accelerated the improvements we’ve been able to make at Rainham to benefit nature, local communities and visitors.”

Site Manager Andrew Gouldstone says: “We know predators have an impact on the number of young birds which make it to adulthood and have enjoyed enormous success in boosting survival rates using fencing. This new fence will be a huge step-change, making this site a major contributor to the future survival of lapwings. We’re enormously grateful to VNTT. Their support has accelerated the improvements we’ve been able to make at Rainham to benefit nature, local communities and visitors.”

In 2015, the reserve supported 61 pairs of lapwing, producing 66 young; well over the number of young per pair required for a stable or increasing population. In 2016, the reserve supported an excellent 68 pairs of lapwing and 60 pairs of redshank. The numbers of pairs of these declining birds has gone up every year for the last four years, and we know the installation of these fences plays a big part in this success.

Doug Benjafield Chairman of VNTT says: “This is just the sort of project that the Trustees are keen to support as it supports the local wildlife and hopefully it will encourage the increase in local bird populations, providing somewhere very interesting for local families to visit to see nature at its best.”

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