The UK holds a significant proportion of the world’s chalk rivers
, and so holds a key responsibility for their conservation. The road would require crossing the River Wensum SAC, and would also result in the loss of County Wildlife Site floodplain habitats which are functionally linked to the health of the SAC. Whilst the focus appears to be on ensuring that adverse effects on the SAC are avoided, it is not clear from the information provided if the habitat loss, hydrological and pollution impacts on the supporting floodplain habitats adjacent to the SAC have been considered in assessing the long term impacts on the SAC.
We also consider the River Tud on the southern edge of the proposal to be of equal ecological value to the River Wensum. The Western Link would need to cross a tributary of the Tud below Foxburrow Plantation, with likely hydrological impacts on the flow and water quality of the Tud. Whilst it is not designated as an SAC, and only partially designated as a CWS, we believe it is of equal ecological value, and potentially of SSSI quality. It is also likely to suffer from in-combination effects from the A47 upgrades necessary to join to the Western Link, with cumulative impacts on habitat quality and its hydrology.