Standard Wharf is located in Erith in the London borough of Bexley on the south side of the River Thames. The owners of this historically important anchorage site, Standard Wharf Limited, are working to create a marine jetty to establish waterborne traffic and trade to and from other wharfs along the Thames, the south east and Europe.
The project has been designed to maintain the industrial heritage of the site, through the re-development of the Standard Wharf commercial jetty; whilst maximising the site’s commercial potential, by expanding on the existing facilities and increasing use from vessels within the site.
Being located within the River Thames, it was considered that the development site could provide important habitat for fish and birds, as well as being part of a wildlife corridor running right across the capital. The River Thames is a designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and Crayford Marshes Metropolitan SINC and Bexley SINC are also within close proximity of the site. In addition to the above non-statutory designations, the Standard Wharf site lies in proximity to numerous statutory designations including Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). In particular, the development site lies within 2km of the Inner Thames Marshes SSSIs and approximately 15km from the Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA and Ramsar site; the latter is included within the Natura 2000 network of sites designated in accordance with the requirements of EC Directive 2009/147/EC (the Birds Directive).
EcoNorth were asked to join the project team to undertake terrestrial ecological surveys and provide technical ecological advice to the client. An extended habitat phase 1 survey was undertaken in order to assess the site’s habitat and use by protected species; this included the building on site, which were assessed for bat roost suitability. Given the ornithological importance of the site a breeding bird check survey was also undertaken, recording the species use of the site.
Survey findings were used to inform a Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) Screening and input into the Ecological Appraisal (EA) working with MESL (who provided the marine ecology survey work and assessment). As the site is surrounded by sensitive ecological sites, with the potential for protected species being present/or colonising, a range of habitat creation and enhancement measures were put forward. Such measures were collated into an Ecological Enhancement Programme (EEP), which has been accepted by the client, and will guide the ecological enhancement works within the site. These included enhancements for the rare water vole and Black Redstart, two of the Capital’s key wildlife species. Such measures not only will contribute to the sites biodiversity but also gives the client the opportunity to disseminate their wildlife friendly scheme creating good PR for the sites owners.
Involvement is ongoing with works planned in 2018 including supervision of works (ECoW) and further ecological surveys and provision of advice.
|Project Start & End Date||July 2017 – ongoing|
|Contract Value||£6,500 to date|
“MESL have just completed a joint venture project with EcoNorth in the Thames Estuary and were very happy with the results. EcoNorth undertook the terrestrial elements of the project while MESL were responsible for the intertidal aspects. EcoNorth offered expert advice throughout the lifespan of the project, designed, and conducted a first-class site survey and all outputs were turned around in an efficient manner. MESL would look to partner with EcoNorth again in the future for any projects requiring both terrestrial and marine inputs.” Elena Maher Marine Consultant and Survey Manager MESL