A NEW 'wildlife haven' has been suggested for a former quarry opposite one of East Lancashire's best-loved nature reserves.

But environmental campaigners remain to be convinced after plans were revealed by Clive Hurt Plant Hire for Lower Brockholes, beside the M6.

If the idea finds favour with county councillors, following the importation of 210,000 cubic metres of inert soil and clay, a major water feature would be created opposite the Brockholes reserve, near Samlesbury.

Brockholes officially opened its doors for Easter 2011 - following an £8million investment from the former North West Development Agency - but had been Lancashire Wildlife Trust's dream project since at least 1992.

Adam Perry, of environmental planners Stephenson Halliday, said: "The proposal incorporates public access opportunities for fishermen, which are inter-linked with nearby recreational opportunities at the existing Brockholes Nature Reserve site to the east. This would serve to enhance green infrastructure provision locally."

Supporters say that the initiative would allow for a gentler sloping land than a previous restoration scheme.

Mr Perry said that the earlier project had focused too greatly on the elevated section of the M6 nearby and had offered "restricted opportunities for diverse wildlife habitats".

The original restoration works had been abandoned as the developer had come across a considerable area where the material were said to be of poor quality and not suitable for extraction.

Hedgerows would be installed as part of the revised scheme, as well as wetland ponds, a small woodland and an area of agricultural farmland.

Dr Sarah Lancaster, the county council's senior planning officer for ecology, has called for guarantees to be given over factors such as the fish stocking levels and the number of angling pegs to be provided.

She has also stressed that extra reassurance should be sought regarding over whether the proposed watercourse could sustain breeding amphibians and targets for habitat creation are monitored and met.

A Lancashire Wildlife Trust spokesman said: "We would be interested to hear more about the application before we can give a verdict on its suitability for wildlife.

"We would hope there would be a balance between fishing, recreation and conservation.

"Ideally we would like to see areas of wetland created for creatures like wading birds and amphibians, with restricted access to people.

"However we realise some of the site is ideal for fishing and other recreational activities.

"We are certainly happy to offer any advice to the land owners."