A WILDLIFE trust has secured more than £250,000 in funding to transform a habitat for threatened bird species.

Essex Wildlife Trust's Blue House Farm nature reserve in North Fambridge is a sanctuary for birds throughout the year.

Ground-nesting waders such as lapwing and redshank utilise the vast landscape, spanning 287 hectares, for breeding during the summer months.

However, since 1995 both lapwing and redshank breeding numbers have declined by 43 per cent.

The latest landscape conservation project led by Essex Wildlife Trust aims to transform large sections of the habitat into a wet grassland.

The trust has now secured £263,874 funding from Biffa Award to enhance wet grassland at the reserve and create new wetland scrapes and ditches.

James Astley, grants and trust officer at Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “Blue House Farm is a sanctuary for birds and bird-lovers alike.

“The views of the estuary and the sea of green fields already make this one of the best wild coastal landscapes in Essex, attracting wildlife and public visitors from afar.

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“This latest project really will elevate the landscape at Blue House Farm nature reserve, in consideration of our most threatened bird species.

“We would like to thank Biffa Award for their generous funding. Without them, this essential work to provide a better habitat for our resident and migratory birds wouldn’t be possible.”

A wetland creation of more than 40 hectares will deliver greater breeding opportunities for threatened species.

It will also provide habitat connectivity and ensure climate change resilience through water storage, soil health and carbon sequestration.

This project will provide threatened species with a sizeable habitat for feeding, breeding, migration and respite, so biodiversity can flourish.

Rachel Maidment, Biffa Award grants manager, commented: “Biffa Award is delighted to be able to support Essex Wildlife Trust to create this valuable wetland haven for a variety of important species.

“It is paramount that we continue to invest in projects like this through our Partnership Grants Scheme which play a significant part in promoting nature’s recovery.

“We can’t wait to see more birds using the site and flourishing following completion of the work.”