Saturday, May 18, 2024

Governments buying Islands

Great Britain: Private Island Preserved For Future Generations

A British conservation charity has purchased an eight hectare private island in England’s East Yorkshire region, protecting its wildlife and putting a halt to any existing development plans.

Hook Island, UK - Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

Hook Island, UK – Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

A British conservation charity, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), has this week completed the sale of a privately-owned island in England’s East Yorkshire Region, paying a grand total of GBP 47,500 for 19 acre Howden Dyke Island and its wealth of wetland birds.

More commonly known as Hook Island, the island – located in the River Ouse – has long since been recognized as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is home to a broad range of avian life, including a colony of lapwings, golden plovers, herons and even little egrets – a particularly rare breed of heron.

Targeted for development since 2009, the island was initially placed up for sale for a rather optimistic GBP 100,000, but failed to attract any serious bidders due to a threat of flooding. Studies suggested that the river’s six-meter tidal range would put pay to any habitation plans, with the possible exception of a specially designed stilted construction.

The island came to the attention of the RSPB by coincidence, after a member of the charity’s Humber-based team stumbled across a newspaper article and – half-joking – forwarded it to Site Manager, Pete Short. In no time at all, the mail had made its way to the group’s Bedfordshire headquarters, where a decision was soon made to buy it.

Secured for the knock-down price of GBP 47,500, the island is a dream come true for Short and his team – many of whom used to bird-watch in the region. “You can’t really put a cost on saving the natural environment,” said Short. “It is somewhere special; somewhere away from people – a nice, little sanctuary.”

Going on to suggest that if the society had not bought the island, “somebody would have wanted to do something with it,” Short sees the purchase as a very positive development for both the island itself and its thousands of avian inhabitants: “No longer at risk of development, the island is now safely preserved for the benefit of future generations”.

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