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27 July 2010
We plan to import 7.5 million cubic metres of soil by sea. This will raise the land level to reduce the capacity of the island to a designed level of more than 2 million m3.
The first phase of soil will come from Crossrail, the new rail route under London. Arisings from tunnelling and station construction from this major engineering project will be transported by sea to Wallasea Island.
With Crossrail on board as our delivery partner, we have a partnership between Europe's largest civil engineering project and Europe's largest intertidal habitat creation project!
The Environment Agency are providing significant funding, helping to ensure the project can proceed. This funding will secure 155 hectares of saltmarsh and mudflat from the Wallasea project as replacement intertidal habitat to help offset losses from designated sites on the Essex coast due to coastal squeeze.
One of the key aims of the project is to build on the success of the 110 hectare Defra-managed realignment scheme (intertidal habitat creation), completed in 2006 on Wallasea Island.
The Defra scheme was created as compensation for wintering bird sites lost to development. The site was designed to mirror the habitats that were lost, with the area providing a mosaic of mudflats and lagoons with islands.
The site is expected to meet its bird targets in its fifth winter but is already supporting over 12,000 waterfowl. We manage the site on Defra's behalf, under a five-year contract which began on 1 March 2007. The Defra scheme is an integral part of the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, and Defra is a key project partner.