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Regenerating the River Lea

By Juliet Whitcombe

Regenerating the River Lea

Last week Crossrail’s contractor, Morgan Sindall, carried out a regeneration project to create wildlife habitat and encourage biodiversity on the banks of the River Lea close to their worksite. The project was the start of Morgan Sindall’s commitment to the Crossrail Community Investment Programme, designed to support the communities and environment neighbouring the Crossrail works. 

Morgan Sindall, who is constructing a tunnel portal at Pudding Mill Lane, worked with British Waterways to clear a section of the river bank of invasive weeds, landscape, plant reeds and shrubs and erect a barrier to protect the plants while they establish themselves.. The changes will encourage biodiversity and provide new habitat for wildlife including coots, moorhens and kingfishers. It will also make the canal look more attractive for people using the waterway.

Annie Myers of British Waterways explains the significance of the project: “There are very few natural banks left on the 2,500 miles of canals and rivers on England’s waterways. Help like this from Crossrail and Morgan Sindall allows us to prevent further erosion of those that remain and helps us tackle many more projects than we could ever do alone.”

Crossrail’s project manager, Paul Watson, explains Crossrail’s Community Investment Programme: “At the heart of Crossrail is its capacity for regeneration. We believe that this should not just begin once trains start running in 2018. On this project regeneration will be supported throughout the construction phases. The Community Investment Programme, alongside employment, apprenticeship, and training and education schemes, will give back to the community.”

Morgan Sindall environmental advisor, Casey Fleming, explains why his team chose to partner with British Waterways: “We’re working in this area for three years, and we don’t want to just pitch up and erect worksite hoarding without reaching over and becoming part of the community.

“Sustainability is embedded in our management system and schemes like this support the planet, local people and employees. They also help us to share the profit that we make in the area where we make it."

This regeneration project is just one part of Morgan Sindall’s Community Investment Programme and they will continue to work to deliver a lasting local benefit. They are also involved in an introductory fish fry into the waterways to address a decline in the fish population in the area. They will also work with local schools to run an awareness initiative that highlights careers in construction.

Find out about other work Crossrail is doing along the route as part of our Community Investment Programme.

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