Rayleigh and Wickford MP Mark Francois took time on a Friday morning recently to officially open the new “Cell Five” area within the RSPB’s major Wallasea Island Project.
Watched by RSPB members and other local volunteers, including from the River Crouch Costal Communities Team, Mark opened the sluice to allow water from the River Crouch to flow into the new part of the major RSPB investment at Wallasea Island.
The RSPB reserve at Wallasea, which was partially created by using spoil from the tunnels for the Crossrail Project, will represent one of the largest wetland habitats for migrating birds in the United Kingdom. Cell Five, the latest part of the scheme to be opened covers a considerable part of the island itself and, overtime, the water will help convert it into a wonderful wildlife habitat.
Looking forward, the RSPB now have plans to open a new visitor centre in the Cell Five area in late 2018 and Mark was shown the plot of raised ground on which it is likely to be built. A new centre should then help to attract visitors to the nature reserve in the future. Commenting on the opening of Cell Five Mark said:
“I would like to congratulate the RSPB for the multi-million pound investment they have made at Wallasea to help create one of the finest wetland habitats in the country. Supported by other partners, including Rochford District Council and the River Crouch Costal Community Team, they have created not only a paradise for bird watchers but a potential tourist attraction in years to come. I was honoured to play a part in marking the progress of this important project.”