The Saving Special Places blog hasn’t visited our Wallasea Island Wild Coast project recently, this I must rectify.

A good blog to follow is this one – written mainly by Hilary Hunter.

The Wallasea Island Wild Coast is one of the most exciting projects the RSPB has ever been involved with. In terms of steps for nature this is a whopper (I’m tempted to say a huge leap).

But re-creating part of Essex’s coast is something we couldn’t possibly contemplate on our own – our partners Crossrail, defra and the Environment Agency have all been essential in turning a bright idea into a place-shaping reality.

And, as the Wild Coast Project on Wallasea Island gains momentum, an essential piece of equipment (or at least the first half of it) for Europe’s largest habitat creation project has floated in from Tilbury Docks.

The first half of the unloading pontoon is towed in

Two 76 metre long pontoons will join to create a single jetty, at which ships will unload the essential ingredient for our new nature reserve. Each ship will carry up to 2.5 thousand tons of clay, sand and gravel from the Crossrail tunnels being dug, deep down under central London.

Once firmly in place, this jetty will accommodate two ships at a time. The equipment on the jetty will include four unloading machines, two on each pontoon, with conveyors feeding hoppers which in turn feed an 800 metre central conveyor that carries the material across the marsh to shore.

On the island side of the seawalls, a radial stacker arm will stockpile the clean excavated material in a carefully prepared part of the site before it is placed in the right places to recreate the new mudflat and saltmarsh levels.

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.”

Visitors to RSPB Wallasea Island will be able to stroll along the northern seawall footpath, to view the progress of the project as construction and unloading takes place. The resulting new nature reserve will provide a fantastic resource for recreation of local people and visitors from farther afield, boosting the local economy while stepping up for nature and the environment. 

Work on the new project is due to be completed in 2019.

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