Thames habitat creation scheme

Land & Water’s project will involve working in partnership with the Port of London Authority Photo: Land & Water Land & Water’s project will involve working in partnership with the Port of London Authority Photo: Land & Water

A UK civil and environmental engineering company is to develop a habitat creation scheme on the River Thames at Rainham Marshes, the largest project of its type in the London area.

Land & Water’s project will involve working in partnership with the Port of London Authority (PLA) to create a significant area of new wetland habitat from re-engineered spoils, coupled with a strategic investment in riverside infrastructure to support significant projects along the Thames Corridor.

“The site will be filled with material dredged from the Thames and restored to create valuable new habitat appropriate for sustaining its status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for wetland birds and wildlife,” said Tanya Ferry, environment manager at the PLA.

“By increasing use of barges for freight transport, and creating new habitat, the development contributes directly towards delivering the Thames Vision, our plan to maximise the social, environmental and economic well-being of the river over the next 30 years.”

Wetland protection

This scheme will see the importation of over six million tonnes of wet and dry spoil material which will form both the basis of a new landform and cover the site to collect rainwater to fuel the wetlands passively.

The site sits between Veolia's landfill site at Rainham and the RSPB's Rainham reserve. With the new area creating 1,000,000m2 of habitat, more than 5km2 of continuous habitats will be formed, providing East London with an oasis of wildlife owned and managed by the RSPB.

This is Land & Water's most ambitious project to date, the roots of which go back more than five years, to a time when Land & Water undertook an options appraisal on behalf of the PLA.

Back then it analysed ways in which the former dredging disposal lagoons alongside the A13 at Rainham Marshes, could be reinvigorated to support infrastructure projects along the Thames.

By Anne-Marie Causer

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