The Hanson-RSPB Wetland Project is an exemplar project, leading the way for landscape-scale conservation. The project brings industry and conservation together in a way never seen before on this scale. The RSPB and Hanson have found an innovative and inspiring solution to some of the issues facing our natural environment today.
RSPB Ouse Fen will become an expansive mosaic of wildlife-rich wetland habitat which will be over 700 hectares or 980 football pitches in size by 2030.
Over 28 million tonnes of sand and gravel will be excavated at Needingworth Quarry during this 30-year project, which began in 2001. The quarry is being worked in defined sections which are progressively restored by Hanson before being handed over to the RSPB for future management.
The project is the largest planned nature conservation restoration scheme following sand and gravel extraction in Europe. When complete, it will include the UK’s biggest reedbed. This will cover 460 hectares (644 football pitches), recreating some of the lost wetland habitat that once dominated the entire Fenland landscape.
The black peat Fens used to cover 1,300 square miles across most of East Anglia. Once complete, Ouse Fen will cover around 2.5 square miles, double the total amount of fen habitat left before the project began, thus restoring a small part of the Fens to its former glory.