Crossrail has announced that the last shipment of excavated material from tunnelling on the project has been dispatched to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) new Wallasea Island nature reserve in Essex.
Since tunnelling started in 2012, 3M.t of excavated material has been transported from Crossrail’s construction sites in over 1500 shipments to help reclaim land to create the new reserve.
According to Crossrail, nearly 80% of the spoil was transported by rail and water which avoided around 150,000 lorry journeys.
Delivery of the final load to Wallasea will enable the first area of the reserve to be completed and the sea wall to be breached to allow controlled flooding of the area this summer.
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. According to the RSPB, the work will transform 670ha of farmland back into coastal marshland as it was 400 years ago.
“Wallasea Island is the biggest wetland creation project the RSPB has embarked upon and one of the most significant across Europe to date,” said RSPB chief executive Mike Clark. “As well 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 ground breaking projects in future.”