A scientist is leading calls to conserve the character of a wildlife haven and predator fishery as work on a new marina begins.
Jalsea Marine plans to make 50 moorings available for narrowboats at Roswell Pits on the outskirts of Ely, Cambs.
In a recent magazine interview, its managing director was reported as suggesting up to 500 moorings could eventually come to the area, the Cambridge Evening News reports tonight.
Dr Andrew Balmford, who works as a conservation scientist at Cambridge University, said he feared the development could harm wildlife and damage a natural resource used by many local people.
"Talk about putting in 500 boats as a long-term plan really frightens me," he told the paper.
"It is an important site for wildlife - one of the most important in Cambridgeshire. It is used by kingfishers and also by rare marsh harriers.
"Roswell Pits are also used by lots of people in Ely - it is the last bit of nature around the city and is used by walkers, joggers and fishermen, who may all have to use cars to get to other sites in the future.
"The whole character of the place will be changed. People use it now because it is tranquil."Click here for more.