Page 17 - Contractors World - UK & Ireland Edition Vol 2 No 7

Page 17
Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 2 No 7
nvironment 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.
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.
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.”
Construction of
Europe’s largest
coastal reserve
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.