Binnies and RSK group sister companies Salix and cbec have announced they have successfully completed the feasibility phase of the Anglian Water River restoration framework, carried out across a number of water bodies in the East of England. As they progress to the outline design phase, they will be able to build on this work to identify restoration measures at suitable locations within the river network.
Following a review of the feasibility assessment, the restoration measures to be developed during the subsequent design phase will include channel narrowing through the construction of in-channel benches to improve continuity of low flows, habitat enhancement through the introduction of large wood, increased floodplain connectivity and the creation of floodplain features.
The design team has a wealth of experience in restoring degraded chalk streams, which can be applied to the restoration of the target watercourses. The rivers are suffering from historical realignment, canalisation, routine dredging and reduced river levels as a result of abstraction. Improved management of the catchments, including land management techniques, reduced abstraction rates and amended maintenance procedures, will form part of the restoration strategy, while increased public access will enhance the amenity value of the sites as well overall river health.
As part of the outline design phase, the multidisciplinary team will be looking ahead to the construction phase to ensure any constraints to the build are considered and addressed at an early stage. Throughout the process, there will be collaboration with landowners and the Environment Agency. This will ensure a project delivered in partnership to achieve both reach- and catchment-scale improvements.
The target areas include some of eastern England’s most iconic and important chalk streams, including the southern tributaries of the River Little Ouse (Sapiston and Stowlangtoft) in Suffolk, and the northern tributaries of the River Wissey (Old Carr, Gadder and Stringside).
Water Resources Environment Manager for Anglian Water Martin Bowes said: “The aim of these schemes is to reinstate the natural processes in the rivers that have been lost through historical river management and modification. The work will reinstall meanders, riffles and gravel into the riverbeds, creating variation in river flows and protection against erosion. By changing the river’s shape – narrowing or shallowing some parts, we can increase habitat diversity and allow the river to function more how nature intended it to, and as importantly, without increasing the risk of flooding to local amenities, businesses or homes.”
Scott Aitken, Managing Director for Binnies, said: “Binnies and our RSK group sister companies Salix and cbec are delighted to be partnering with Anglian Water and the CaBA partners on these important environmental projects that bring multiple benefits to our habitats, local communities and to the customers of Anglian Water.”