Supermarket giant Morrisons has been accused of destroying bushes and grassland at a beauty spot.
Canvey Wick, a 250-acre site next to the store, off Northwick Road, is home to many species of birds, badgers and insects, including the rare shrill carder bee.
The area, which Morrisons owns, has been hailed by Government agency Natural England as a “brownfield rainforest” and designated a site of special scientific interest.
It is thought Morrisons’ staff cleared bushes, grass and other vegetation from a strip of the land measuring around 800 metres by 15 metres.
The wildlife habitat is not supposed to be disturbed without permission from Natural England. Firms that do this can be fined thousands of pounds.
Canvey Independent Party leader Dave Blackwell has asked Natural England to investigate as he believes Morrisons did not request permission.
He said: “Morrisons could have destroyed the breeding ground for rare insects and upset badgers living there.
“It makes my blood boil. If this site was anywhere else it would be defended to the hilt. But it gets forgotten about because it’s out of the way on Canvey.
“I reported it to Castle Point Council, but they didn’t do anything.” It is thought Morrisons cleared vegetation to make way for a possible wind farm. In 2010, the firm applied to install a 60m mast, to measure wind speed and direction, but councillors rejected the application.
The mast would have tested whether or not a wind farm could be effective on the site.
A supermarket spokesman said: “We are not aware of any breaches with regards to management of land on the site of special scientific interest. We are in discussions with Natural England about how best to manage the land.”
Castle Point Council is investigating.
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