Jetty construction underway at Wallasea nature reserve
By Juliet Whitcombe
Europe’s largest habitat creation project, The Wild Coast Project on Wallasea Island, has received two giant floating pontoons in preparation for the arrival of excavated material from Crossrail.
The 76 metre long pontoons will be joined to create a single jetty for ships to unload excavated earth for the new, 1,500 acre nature reserve. Around 4.5 million tonnes of material from Crossrail’s tunnels will pass through the jetty.
Once complete, the jetty will accommodate two ships at a time. The equipment on the jetty will include unloading machines and an 800 metre conveyor that carries the material across the marsh to shore to create the new mudflat and saltmarshes.
The Wild Coast Project will help to compensate for habitat loss in England and combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding.
Close to 100% of the excavated material from Crossrail tunnels is expected to be clean, uncontaminated and reusable. The project will transport material via train and river to minimise the number of lorries on London’s roads.
RSPB Project Manager Chris Tyas said: “We are delighted to see the temporary jetty arrive at Wallasea Island, as this will be a key component in the beginning of our coastal habitat restoration. This project will be of international importance for wildlife and we are proud to be part of this landmark partnership with Crossrail.”