Green Light For River Humber Habitat Scheme

Construction contractors in Hull and the surrounding areas look set to be very busy indeed over the next few weeks and months, as a new scheme to transform the River Humber and create more than 988 acres of marshland and mudflats has just been given the go ahead.

The £30 million scheme will involve reshaping parts of the river near Patrington Haven and Welwick, the Hull Daily Mail reports. The joint project between the Environment Agency and Associated British Ports will see the flood embankments that are currently in place breached deliberately once new defences have been built further inland.

This means that seawater will be able to flood the land, in order to create a new intertidal habitat for local wildlife.

The hope is that the new mudflats will prove to be not just a home but a source of food for a variety of bird species that are already in evidence within the estuary, including lapwings, ringed plovers, turnstones, golden plovers, avocets, curlews and teals.

Because of the remote location, however, it’s expected that the building work will last between two and three years, with the first phase of construction due to start later in 2019, with a pause over the winter. The current completion date has been set as the autumn of 2022.

The Environment Agency’s Andrew Newton was quoted by the news source as saying: “The Humber is recognised as one of the most important estuaries for wildlife in Europe and has been designated as a site of nature conservation under both national and international legislation.

“Under the Habitats Directive, the Environment Agency and Associated British Ports are legally obliged to replace any habitat lost as a result of our interventions in the estuary, such as the expansion of port facilities.

“Creating new areas of habitat to compensate for those lost will ensure that the unique environment of the Humber estuary is preserved and protected for future populations of wildlife and people.”

Of course, this isn’t the only project going on in Hull at the moment. There’s also the £42 million Humber Hull Frontage Improvement Scheme, which will see improvement works carried out on part of the tidal flood defences along the estuary.

In all, nine sites in the region have been identified as part of the scheme for improved defences, including St Andrew’s Quay, Albert Dock and Victoria Dock Village.

The project, led by the Environment Agency, has been designed to afford greater levels of protection to 113,000 homes and businesses that are currently at risk from tidal flooding in the area.

Not only that but the improvements will also be supported by an extra 4km of new and raised tidal defences at both Hessle and Paull, with the Environment Agency teaming up with East Riding of Yorkshire Council in order to deliver this side of proceedings.