Thank you for posting this information, Alastair. I expect most people are totally unaware of the plans.
The web address for the planning application search is http://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/planning/planning-searches
I was out on Porlock Marsh yesterday, and came across 3 yellow signs from Exmoor National Park informing of a planning application affecting the Marsh.
Basically the intention is to construct what they are calling two viewing platforms and no less than 6 benches on different parts of the Marsh. This relates to a project called Porlock Marsh Vision and the aim is to enhance the visitor experience. There is also an aim to create better access.
To those who don’t know the recent history of the Marsh, it was a mixture of fresh and saltwater habitat and pools, plantations and a good breeding habitat for birds as well as attracting a number of rare or unusual birds including national rarities. The decision was made following a large breech in 1996 to no longer restrict the sea water inundation and it has now basically become a coastal saltmarsh, with lots of unsightly dead trees. Consequently there has been a marked decline in breeding birds and overall diversity of wildlife including invertebrates, and it no longer attracts rare birds.
It is my opinion that these proposed plans will not enhance the wildlife in any way, in fact more access and the construction of the platforms and benches would adversely affect it as well as not fitting naturally into the overall landscape. I believe the money would be better spent on trying to improve the actual wildlife habitat that is left. For example, there was talk of creating an artificial reedbed but nothing has come to pass. There is already a certain amount of disturbance to wildlife and these plans would make this worse.
The plans can be viewed on the Exmoor National Park Website under planning number 6/27/19/107
If you scroll down you will see that there are 34 attached files, possibly the main ones to look at are 25 – Bossington Platform Artistic Impression, 27 – PME Platform Artistic Impression, and 31 – Overall Location Plan.
If you scroll down to the bottom of the page/link you can leave comments. If no comments are made the plan is likely to go through without challenge so I would urge anybody who agrees with me to send comments in. The deadline is the 19th of June.