Thousands of people have signed a petition asking the BBC to end its involvement in the plans for a mega theme park in Swanscombe due to its threat to the environment and wildlife.

Save Swanscombe Peninsula and other environmental groups have long been fighting proposals for the London Resort, a £5bn project to build the UK's biggest theme park and the nation's equivalent to Disneyland.

Dubbed one of the Europe's most ambitious theme park projects ever, the London Resort will be build on the largely brownfield site between Dartford and Gravesend known as Swanscombe Marshes, an area rich with wildlife.

The London Resort, planned for the Swanscombe Marshes

The London Resort, planned for the Swanscombe Marshes

The latest campaign has seen a petition launched at the BBC Studios calling for the corporation to scrap its involvement with the London Resort.

Save Swanscombe Peninsula say the involvement of the broadcaster in the controversial project contradicts its commitment and 'Greener Policy' which says the BBC wants to achieve a "positive environmental impact."

They ask BBC Studios to consider all the listed concerns from wildlife charities and campaign groups, and to withdraw with immediate effect.

The London Resort say the "project will of course continue" despite wildlife protests, and has been working closely with Natural England to identify the right ecological solutions to deliver the project.

CEO PY Gerbeau said "sustainability is a green thread throughout the London Resort proposals," and the park will become "one of the most sustainable, global destinations in the world."

The London Resort, planned for the Swanscombe Marshes

The London Resort, planned for the Swanscombe Marshes

The developers say a large proportion of the peninsula will be left undeveloped, and enhanced natural features integrated into the designs to the benefit of wildlife.

The petition points to a statement from the RSPB in which they called the peninsula an "outstanding mosaic of grasslands, wetlands, scrub, intertidal habitats and brownfield features .. in urgent need of designating as an SSSI."

Despite environmental protest, on December 31, 2020, a planning application for the London Resort was formally submitted to Government, and we are currently awaiting a decision.

This week, the petition reached 2,000 signatures and rising.

As well as abundant bees, butterflies, beetles, cuckoos and marsh lizards, the land is one of just two places in the UK where you can find the Critically Endangered Distinguished jumping spider (Attulus distinguendus).

Attulus distinguendus (c) Roman Willi

Attulus distinguendus (c) Roman Willi

In February, a group called the Save Swanscombe Marshes campaign issued a joint statement requesting that Natural England declare the site a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

And in March, Natural England delivered a blow to the London Resort, declaring the 'wildlife haven' a SSSI.

The Government conservation agency Natural England also said the 250-hectare (620-acre) site, which lies between the M25 and Gravesend, is important green space for people as well as wildlife.