Northey Island Habitat Creation wins BIG Biodiversity Challenge

Northey Island project in Essex, UK, named BIG Biodiversity Challenge Awards Overall Winner for work on combating habitat loss due to sea level rise and climate change. 
The 10th annual BIG Biodiversity Awards have been announced at a ceremony held at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. The awards celebrate construction and built environment projects that showcase excellence in encouraging and improving biodiversity. 

The Northey Island Habitat Creation Project was selected as Overall Winner from over 65 entries. The scheme, initiated by National Trust, used innovative techniques to deliver a lasting positive impact on biodiversity and climate change resilience. The project was also named winner of the Biodiversity Legacy Award and was highly commended in the Habitat Creation (Large Scale) category.

As part of the project team, Royal HaskoningDHV was appointed to create the detailed design for the work which included used dredged sediment and a technique known as “managed realignment”. This was designed to raise and regenerate existing saltmarsh, adapt local tidal processes to reduce erosion and allow saltmarsh plants to migrate further inland to improve biodiversity.

Daniel Legget (National Trust) and Ewan Richardson (Royal HaskoningDHV)
Daniel Legget (National Trust) and Ewan Richardson (Royal HaskoningDHV)

Protect precious habitat

We are so delighted that the National Trust’s Northey Island project has been recognised with such a prestigious award. It is an exceptional scheme, delivered by a collaborative team that has been a pleasure to be part of. The project will protect precious habitat and ensure it survives despite climate-change-related sea level rise.

Nick CooperTechnical Director Royal HaskoningDHV
Freshwater pond used as a new habitat for water voles
The scheme also involved extensive habitat creation, including the translocation of a colony of water voles to a purpose-built pond, new freshwater ponds to support bird and invertebrate diversity and the removal of overhead cables to protect avian flightlines. 

On winning, Daniel Leggett, Environmental Consultant at National Trust, part of the project team said: "Receiving the overall winner accolade at the 2023 BIG Biodiversity Challenge is a genuine honour. As construction professionals, we must understand nature and design for it. This award reinforces our commitment to enhancing biodiversity, inspiring a lasting legacy of sustainable practices."

The award comes shortly after the Northey Island project also won the Constructing Excellence Awards Civils Project of the Year for the East of England and a Green Apple Environment Award for Environmental Best Practice. 
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