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23.04.15

Crossrail’s final shipment of earth arrives at Wallasea Island

The last shipment of excavated material donated by Crossrail to one of Europe’s largest nature reserves has arrived at Wallasea Island in Essex.

As part of a partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), three million tonnes of material excavated from the Crossrail tunnels below London is being used to create a flagship wetland nature reserve and one of the UK’s most innovative flood defence systems.

Wallasea Island final shipment of excavated material 191778

The delivery marks an important countdown for Crossrail and the RSPB. With over 40km out of 42km of tunnels complete, Crossrail is on track to link all its rail tunnels with the big east/west breakthrough at Farringdon. At Wallasea, the last load of excavated material will be used to complete the first area of the reserve and allow the sea wall to be breached and controlled flooding to take place this summer.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail chief executive said: “Crossrail is delighted to be involved in delivering this major new wetland at Wallasea. This trailblazing partnership with the RSPB is a key part of Crossrail’s sustainability strategy and shows that by working together, the construction industry and environmental groups can benefit both the economy and the environment.”

BFK C435 Farringdon January 2015 183110

A total of over six million tonnes of material will be excavated by the Crossrail project – enough to fill Wembley stadium three times – and 99% of the material has been reused or recycled with half being donated to the RSPB for Wallasea and the remainder used for agricultural land and recreational facilities.

Mike Clarke, RSPB's chief executive said: “Wallasea Island is the biggest wetland creation project the RSPB has embarked upon and one of the most significant across Europe to date. As well as providing the material that makes this project possible, Crossrail has demonstrated a bold and inspired vision for the way in which industry and conservation sectors can work together for the benefit of people and wildlife.

“As the pressures on our natural world continue to grow, it is crucial that we recognise a world class economy and a world class environment go hand in hand. We hope that our partnership with Crossrail will inspire many more groundbreaking projects in future.”

Wallasea Island 12 September 2012 44578

The Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is using excavated material from Crossrail’s tunnels to re-profile the land to allow for a mosaic of lagoons and raised islands once the sea wall is breached later this year. It will transform 670 hectares of farmland back into coastal marshland as it was 400 years ago. It will provide a thriving wetland for tens of thousands of migratory birds and help to combat future impacts of climate change on people and wildlife including coastal flooding.

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