A NEW sanctuary for rare insects and butterflies is set to be created in a Canvey orchard, but there are concerns mature trees will be felled as a result.

The haven for invertebrates is being established in two hectares of greenery, between Ormsby Road and Coker Road, in a joint project between Essex County Council and Government wildlife specialists Natural England.

It is being created to make up for the loss of natural habitats in nearby Canvey Wick, as a result of the council’s plans to extend Roscommon Road to join Haven Road.

Ray Howard, county councillor for the island, believes the scheme will clear up a largely neglected area of woodland.

He said: “It’s quite an overgrown area at the moment and I think it’s great news it’s going to be cleared up.

“I’ve been reassured residents are going to really like it when it’s completed.”

As part of the scheme, brambles will be chopped back, a wild flower meadow will be planted and a hedge which crosses the centre of the orchard will be replanted.

Some trees will also have to be felled to provide more sunlight for the insects and butterflies to thrive.

The council has put silver anti-nesting tape around all the trees to stop birds from making homes in the foliage, but this caused nearby householders to fear the whole wood was getting the chop.

Canvey councillor Dave Blackwell was approached by residents concerned about the wood’s fate.

He said: “I can understand why they were worried. There are more than 100 mature trees in the orchard and it would be a huge shame if they were removed.

“I just wish the council and Natural England would tell people what they’re doing first because people are very protective of their local environment.”

The council was unable to confirm how many trees will be felled.

However, it has assured residents whose homes back on to the orchard a screen of vegetation will remain between their homes and the Roscommon Way extension.

It is hoped the area will ultimately be designated a local nature reserve and benefit from information boards and footpaths.

Work will be going ahead in the coming months and the council has promised to leaflet residents to keep them informed of developments.