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27 July 2010
We plan to import 7.5 million cubic metres of soil by sea. By raising the land we are reducing the amount of water that will come onto the island when we breach the sea wall. Instead of 11 million metres cubed of water filling the island, the scheme has been designed to reduce this to two million metres cubed of water.
The first phase of soil will come from Crossrail, the new rail route under London. Soil 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. Coastal squeeze is causing a loss of important designated sites along our Essex coast. This funding will secure 155 hectares of saltmarsh and mudflat on Wallasea Island as replacement intertidal habitat that will go some way to offsetting this loss.
One of the key aims of the project is to build on the success of the 110 hectare Allfleets Marsh on Wallasea Island. This area of saltmarsh and mudflats was created by Defra in 2006 as part of a managed realignment scheme, with holes made in the old sea wall in order to create intertidal habitat behind a new sea wall.
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 met its bird targets in its fifth winter and supports over 12,000 waterfowl. We manage the site on behalf of Natural England who took over its management from Defra. Allfleets Marsh is an integral part of the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project, and Defra and Natural England are key project partners.
Natural England now manages Allfleets Marsh on behalf of Defra, and RSPB are the managing agents for Natural England. Natural England and Defra are key partners in the project.