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Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project

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Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project

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Newly created habitat will provide a haven for wildlife
1 of 4 | Newly created habitat will provide a haven for wildlife
Newly created habitat will provide a haven for wildlife
2 of 4 | Newly created habitat will provide a haven for wildlife
Wetland landscape for european significance
3 of 4 | Wetland landscape for european significance
Flora and fauna thrive in the habitat
4 of 4 | Flora and fauna thrive in the habitat

Recycled aggregate materials and high quality Scottish granite delivered by barge integral to the creation of an important new wetland habitat at Wallasea Island.

Key facts

Sector: Environment
Client: RSPB
Contractor: Bam Nuttal
  • 10,000 tonnes of granular fill, recycled and granite materials provided
  • Barge logistics solution designed to remove 750 lorry movements from local roads 
  • Part of the largest coastal habitat creation of its type, in Europe


Aggregate Industries, the leading supplier in construction materials, has helped an RSPB project take flight by delivering 10,000 tonnes of landscaping products and providing a solution for the transportation of recycled spoil from London’s Crossrail tunnelling project.

Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme that is the largest development of its type in Europe. The aim of the project is to transform what was widely considered a ‘no man’s land’ by recreating an ancient wetland landscape with more than nine miles of new and improved access routes and a range of visitor facilities. 

Aggregate Industries have worked closely with civil engineering provider Bam Nuttall to help fulfil the managed realignment process, an intertidal habitat creation technique. Using breaches in the sea wall allows a controlled influx of sea water to recreate intertidal habitats. However, these are sensitive to the height above sea level. This is where materials from Aggregate Industries and the reuse of the Crossrail materials have played its part.


Supplying 10,000 tonnes of its high quality CI 1A granular, CI 6C and 20mm aggregate, which included a supply of granite from Aggregate Industries’ Glensanda quarry, the materials are being used to form part of the infrastructure, raising the land, as well as being applied to create hard-standing areas. Initially tasked with completing the delivery of its products by road bound logistics, Aggregate Industries soon reassessed the option of long distance road haulage as it would prove costly and environmentally inefficient.

After careful consideration and planning, Aggregate Industries and Bam Nuttall identified an opportunity whereby Bam could utilise its river barge fleet,already being used to move waste, and collect the materials by vessel from Aggregate Industries’ satellite quarry on the Isle of Grain. Using unique water-bound loading facilities, Aggregate Industries was able to flex its capabilities and transport its own materials, along with the clean spoil from the Crossrail tunnelling, directly up the Thames and to Wallasea Island.

The result was an innovation in transport logistics, as each boat conveyed more than 2,000 tonnes and allowed the teams at each end to load and unload within a 24-hour period, a significant reduction compared to road haulage which would have taken two weeks to achieve the same volume. The environmental impact was also greatly reduced, with a 100 mile round trip via road turned into a 20 mile journey by barge.

Jamie Greenwood at Aggregate Industries said: “Due to the location of the island and the limited access, using the barges became the only viable option in terms of cost, man power, time and, of course, sustainability. The Bam Nuttall boats were already in place and provided an efficient way to transport exactly what was needed. 

“More than 750 lorry loads would have been used if we had opted for the road haulage options, yet we used only four barge loads to transport the same amount of materials. This was down to several factors including our ability at our Isle of Grain quarry to load and unload easily without any risk to contamination using unique water-bound loading facilities. Thanks to being involved with the Crossrail project in central London, we were also able to easily transport the clean spoil from the tunnelling site, reducing the amount of transportation required and putting the wastage to good use.

“Understanding that the RSPB project on Wallasea Island aims to combat the threats from climate change and compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England, it was crucial that we also kept the logistics as sustainable as possible. By working with Bam Nuttall we have achieved a significant reduction in our environmental impact and we are delighted to have been able to contribute towards what will be a great haven for wildlife and a wonderful place for the local community and those from further afield to enjoy.”

In development until 2019, the project will recreate a landscape of mudflats, saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture and will welcome an array of nationally and internationally important wildlife. The RSPB are also welcoming people to visit the site and view the progress as each phase comes to life and the marshland naturally regenerates.

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Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project

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