Protest held over proposed environmental impact of 'UK Disneyland' theme park

Tap to watch a video report by ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

It's forecast to generate £50 billion pounds for the economy and create 48,000 jobs but today campaigners rallied against plans for the London Resort theme park near Dartford.

The concern is that the creation of the £2.5 billion attraction on the Swanscombe Peninsula would see habitats destroyed.

London Resort argue they would invest millions into the ecology of the site as part of the project.

How the London Resort could look Credit: London Resort

Jamie Long from Buglife said,

"The London Resort theme park would potentially destroy one of the most important habitats we've got left in the South East of England.

"It's got two thousand invertebrate species found on it including over 200 rare and scarce species, things like the distinguished jumping spider, the siesta mining bee.

"Loads of fantastic species. It's not just bugs, there's marsh harriers, bearded tits, nightingales, water vowels, you couldn't ask for a site with more wildlife on it."

Vicky Ellis from CPRE Kent added,

"We're losing biodiversity at a massive rate and we've got to take this seriously now.

"Swanscombe is quite built up around here so you've got traffic issues around here as well.

"Nature has got to come first at some point and we can't keep squeezing it and building on it."

Land where The London Resort is set to be built.

London Resort say much of the land is contaminated and underinvestment has seen habitats decline.

Andy Martin, Director of Communications and Strategy at the London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) said,

"Much of the area earmarked for the UK’s only next generation theme park, is contaminated. While the brownfield, former industrial site, has led to the creation of a diverse habitat, it has been left unmanaged with zero investment for decades and the habitats are returning to scrub at an alarming rate. 

"The latest analysis shows the rate of decline and concludes it will continue to decline in ecological value and see a reduction in biodiversity.  This analysis has also been made available to everyone."

  • Julia Hunt from Kent Wildlife Trust is not convinced a theme park will help the ecology of the Swanscombe Peninsula

Andy Martin continued,

"Every group that is now in opposition to the creation of 48,000 jobs, £50bn of gross economic activity, a third of which will go to local regions, is also opposing the £150m investment into reversing the ecological decline that is currently happening."

In March the Swanscombe Peninsula recieved protected status from Natural England, making it harder to develop on the land.

London Resort object to this as it awaits to hear from the planning inspector about its proposals.

The Government will have the final say on whether the theme park should go ahead.