Conservationists tell of fears for East Winch Common over A47 improvement bid

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The future of key ecological sites in West Norfolk could be put at risk if the A47 is expanded, a charity has warned.

Officials from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust spoke out this week in response to the A47 Alliance’s recent call for a government commitment to invest in more than 20 separate schemes along the length of the route.

Chief executive Brendan Joyce said the trust was particularly concerned about the potential impact on East Winch Common, a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

The common, which is next to the existing road, is a key site for dragon and damsel flies, as well as many rare plants and orchids.

Although the trust concedes that a bypass round the village, which is one of the projects proposed by the Alliance, may help to protect the common, Mr Joyce said a dualling of the existing road could lead to some or all of the common being lost forever.

He said: “It would be like knocking down a stately home or a Grade I listed building.”

The A47 Alliance has proposed a bypass as a long-term project after 2021.

Vice-chairman Vivienne Spikings said: “That will taken into consideration at the time.”