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Wallasea Island

Key Facts

  • Client: Crossrail, working in partnership with RSPB
  • Value: £70m
  • Location: Wallasea Island (14km north-east of Southend)

This landmark project is the largest (670ha) coastal habitat creation of its kind in Europe. It involved raising the island’s land levels to restore the wetland landscape of mudflats, saltmarsh and lagoons last seen 400 years ago, providing an environment specifically tailored for fish, reptiles, insects, mammals and birds.

This landmark project is the largest (670ha) coastal habitat creation of its kind in Europe. It involved raising the island’s land levels to restore the wetland landscape of mudflats, saltmarsh and lagoons last seen 400 years ago, providing an environment specifically tailored for fish, reptiles, insects, mammals and birds.

BAM Nuttall Van Oord Joint Venture was responsible for shipping over 3.5m tonnes of excavated material from the Crossrail twin-bore tunnel project to Wallasea Island via freight trains and ships, removing approximately 150,000 lorry movements from London.

A new jetty was constructed with an 800 metre conveyor system to allow the material to be unloaded on the island. The marine operation involved co-ordination with the Port of London Authority, the Crouch Harbour Authority and other river vessels.

Ahead of the construction works, 8,200 protected reptiles, including 45 snakes (23 adders) were relocated to a purpose-built series of hibernacula and 180 water voles were trapped and displaced to new enhanced habitats. Protection works were also carried out for otters, badgers and oil beetles, including the creation of an artificial badger set on site. All works were undertaken under the consent of Natural England and programmed in sequence to protect potential nesting birds in the local environment.

Community and stakeholder liaison

We employed a full time Community Liaison Manager to act as an ambassador for the scheme, represent RSPB and the construction team, carry out stakeholder engagement and attend local community and Parish Council meetings. As part of the Corporate Social Responsibility Plan, we engaged with the local primary school and organised a drawing competition, donated high-vis jackets and sponsored the Christmas disco. The staff also gave their time (acting as marshals) in support of RSPB events.

Sustainability

The project won the Sustainable Management Resource category in the Environment Agency Project Excellence Awards 2016. Sustainable measures included the following:

  • Using the digital Codegate system to manage 100,000 truck arrivals (up to 200 a day) which collectively delivered 1.7million tonnes of spoil to be processed.
  • Transporting the spoil across the 1,500 acre site using twenty-eight 25t articulated dumper trucks. Accuracy was managed using two satellite base stations and eight GPS enabled excavators with digital 3D models on board.
  • Using low emission earth moving plant (Tier 4 compliant engines) to transport the soil across the site and create specifically designed large scale landscaped features.

The European Commission and British Government officially opened Jubilee Marsh in September 2015, marking the completion of the first phase of the Wallasea Island Wild Coast project.