It seems safe to say that the average Disney fan is also an animal lover. After all, how could you not care for animals after seeing them on the savannah in the Animal Kingdom or hearing about their human-caused plights in Disneynature and National Geographic documentaries? If you’re a Disney fan who is also fighting for environmental conservation, habitat restoration, and animal rights, then you will be pleased to hear the most recent news about the massive resort that was being planned in London!
The United Kingdom’s version of ‘Disneyland’ was first planned in 2012, and was meant to start construction in the year 2024. However, the £3.5 billion resort (which was going to include “hundreds of restaurants, shops, [and] hotels, as well as ‘immersive’ jungles, woods and castles”) has been canceled in part because environmental conservationists have protested against its construction!
The 1,245 acres that were meant for the London Resort are located on the Swanscombe Peninsula in between Dartford and Gravesend in Kent, and that land has been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England, which means that the area is legally protected because it provides crucial habitat for rare or endangered wildlife.
In this case, that wildlife includes otters, water voles, and rare bird and insect species. Since the land was classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest in need of protection, environmentalists were quick to passionately protest against a Resort’s destruction of the habitats involved.
Conservationists and scientists spoke to media outlets like BBC while challenging the construction of the London Resort. “We can’t let such a precious site be lost,” Jamie Robins, from the conservation organization Buglife, said to BBC. Conservationists and animal rights activists also protested against Paramount UK, which has a stake in the London Resort’s construction and development. You can see one Tweet from the “Save Swanscombe Peninsula” campaign below!
Come on @ParamountPics! Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI is no place for a theme park it’s a much loved green space as well as being one of the best wildlife sites in England! Withdraw your commercial interest from the #londonresort and #SaveSwanscombe https://t.co/rPVbJjxEGl pic.twitter.com/hvwNLJxRYD
— Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI (@sspcampaign) March 5, 2022
The chief executive for London Resort said that £150 million from the project would be focused on helping the landscape and wildlife, but it was not enough for environmentalists, and a petition is still going strong online against the Resort. BBC and ITV Studios also had a commercial interest in the London Resort, but they have since withdrawn from the project, leaving just Paramount UK under pressure.
Pressure due to the environmental concerns also combined with some tax exemptions for a nearby port and resulted in the London Resort plans being canceled — for now. Would you like to see a United Kingdom Disneyland Resort being built, or would you rather leave the land alone and just stay in a Disney hotel while focusing on Disney Parks that already exist in Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and Disneyland Paris Resort?