After a long time people are beginning to realise that South Essex, and particularly the Thames Estuary and Marshes, are very special places. Essex County Council has led on a number of major greenspace projects across South Essex, supporting the good work of charities such as RSPB and Essex Wildlife Trust and the Local Authorities. These are set out below.
In 2012 the South Essex marshes have been included in the Greater Thames Marshes Nature Improvement Area (NIA), which stretches up to Wallasea Island in Essex and includes the large Kent and London Marshes. The NIA is only one of 12 in England and has an aim to make biodiversity “Bigger, better and more joined up” (Professor John Lawton).
In 2011 a project called Maxigreen (Maximising Green Heritage) raised £884,000 for major access and landscape projects in the South Essex Marshes from Tilbury in Thurrock to Leigh in Southend.
In 2008 the Government Minister, the Right Hon Margaret Beckett, announced the “Parklands” funding of £9.8 million for the five projects in South Essex.
The successful projects were:-
The five projects will link up to numerous other greenspaces, cycle ways, footpaths, nature reserves, heritage sites and marshlands in what is called the “South Essex Greengrid” (http://parklands.greengrid.co.uk/index.php/greengrid) . This is a project linking all the open spaces throughout South Essex from Thurrock to Southend.
The South Essex Greengrid will,
The funding for the major Greengrid and Parklands projects will further strengthen the Greengrid allowing thousands of residents to visit high quality natural areas which are inspiring, educational and fun.
The Parklands projects in more detail.