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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2012 Vol 2 No 7
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Construction of Europe’s largest man-made coastal reserve starts

Wallasea Island in the Thames Estuary will be transformed from levee-protected farmland into a thriving wetlandConstruction of Europe’s largest man-made coastal reserve starts

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson recently officially launched Europe’s most ambitious man-made coastal nature project that will guarantee a place for tens of thousands of migratory birds, and combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding.

Wallasea Island in the Thames Estuary will be transformed from levee-protected farmland into a thriving wetland, twice the size of the City of London and teeming with bird and marine life.

The landmark project, never before attempted on this scale in Europe, has been made possible through a unique partnership between the RSPB and Crossrail.

CrossRail early work involved installation of facility to take material by river to facilitate development of Europe’s largest man made island as a wildlife habitat.Win-Win Situation

Crossrail will deliver 4.5 million tonnes of clean earth from the construction of major new rail tunnels under London to help build the nature reserve at Wallasea. The earth will be used to create higher and lower ground to restore the wetland landscape of mudflats, saltmarsh and lagoons last seen 400 years ago.

CrossRail early work involved installation of facility to take material by river to facilitate development of Europe’s largest man made island as a wildlife habitat.

The loss of coastal habitat over the past four centuries has been dramatic. Without projects like Wallasea Island, rising sea levels are threatening to see another 1,000 hectares lost in the next decade. Wallasea Island will provide 670 hectares of secure habitat for wildlife to thrive well into the future and the RSPB predicts a significant increase in the number of birds once the project is completed.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “The excellent work that Crossrail and the RSPB are doing to create the Jubilee Marshes at Wallasea shows how major infrastructure schemes can help to generate economic growth as well as helping to improve local wildlife. This could be the gold standard against which all future projects are measured.”

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