Bittern Botaurus stellaris, among reeds, Lee Valley

Planning awards

We have won a number of planning awards after turning old minerals sites into reedbeds for bitterns, and ex-Ministry of Defence land into a home for avocets and water voles.

The Needingworth Wetland Project

The Needingworth Wetland Project (now known as Ouse Fen) won a national Royal Town Planning Institute award in 2000.

We are working with Hanson Aggregates to create an exciting new nature reserve at Needingworth Quarry, between Huntingdon and Cambridge.

The project has been designed to create habitats of high value to wildlife and to incorporate 32 km of new public access. The seven-square kilometre wetland will include the biggest reedbed in the UK - some four and a half square kilometres. It is being constructed in phases over the next 30 years.

Sunset, Ouse Fen RSPB nature reserve, Needingworth, Cambridgeshire, England

Rainham Marshes

Rainham Marshes nature reserve and environment and education centre was commended in the 2007 Royal Town Planning Institute awards.

We bought the site (just more than three square kilometres) from the Ministry of Defence in July 2000. Areas of wet grassland, marsh and open water are being maintained and created, supporting birds, scarce invertebrates and mammals such as the water vole.

Rainham Marshes acts as a flagship green space for the Thames Gateway and is a valued resource at the heart of the community, integrated with its surroundings. The centre is a model of sustainable development, built to very high environmental standards.

Rainham marshes education centre

Minerals Restoration Potential Project

Our Minerals Restoration Potential Project won the E-government category in the 2008 Royal Town Planning Institute awards.

This GIS-based project showed that there is huge potential for contributing to Biodiversity Action Plan targets by restoring former mineral sites. You can find more details on the Minerals planning page.

The reedy fringe of Elney Lake, at Fen Drayton RSPB reserve, Cambridgeshire, England. February 2007.