ABP celebrates 40 years of conservation at RSPB Blacktoft Sands

June 26, 2013

The RSPB’s Blacktoft Sands nature reserve, the second largest tidal reedbed in the UK, marked its 40th birthday with a special open day event and helping with the celebrations were representatives of Associated British Ports (ABP), which owns the land on which the reserve is located.

The charity has been at the site since 1973, when 122 hectares – equivalent to 170 full-size football pitches – were offered to create a wetland reserve that would provide habitat for the many species of birds and wildlife that make the Humber Estuary their home.

The two organisations have been working closely ever since to ensure the continuing success of the facility, which attracts 20,000 visitors a year.

More than 180 people attended the free reserve open day, which featured guided walks and a cake-cutting ceremony performed by the RSPB’s Humber Reserves Manager Pete Short and ABP Sustainable Development Manager Humber Tom Jeynes.

Mr Jeynes said: “'We are proud to be associated with the Blacktoft reserve, which highlights ABP’s ongoing commitment to sustainable development.

“ABP’s investment plans across the Humber over the next five years total more than £250 million and will make a vital contribution to decarbonising the UK economy.

“By working in partnership with the RSPB it is possible to deliver this investment and the thousands of jobs it promises, whilst ensuring that we continue to promote the estuary’s rich wildlife habitat.”

Currently the reserve, which is located on the banks of the River Ouse near Goole, is home to 270 species of birds including bearded tits, bitterns, and marsh harriers, as well as thousands of ducks that descend on the lagoons during the winter months.

The RSPB’s Humber Reserves Manager Peter Short said: “Over the past four decades some of the UK’s most charismatic and threatened wildlife has made Blacktoft Sands its home. In 1973 bitterns, avocets, and marsh harriers had all but vanished from our shores but our visitors are now lucky enough to see them all. That’s something definitely worth celebrating.”

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