DP World London Gateway: Intertidal Habitat Created
DP World London Gateway has completed the creation of 65 hectares of important intertidal habitat, comprising 59 hectares of mudflat, which will provide feeding ground for wading birds and fish, and six hectares of saltmarsh.
The new intertidal mudflat – equivalent in size to 82 football pitches – is located on the south bank of the River Thames, just north of Cooling in Kent and to the south east of DP World London Gateway Port.
The new habitat is to be called Salt Fleet Flats Reserve following a vote by the public and members of the local community.
As part of the permission to build the deep-sea terminal, DP World created additional new mudflat habitat to compensate for habitat that was predicted would be lost during construction. But DP World has more than compensated, creating an additional twelve more hectares than it needed to, totaling a 59-hectare wildlife sanctuary.
Salt Fleet Flats Reserve was created by constructing a new 2.4km-long sea wall, inland of the existing one, before that was breached along a 700m section to enable the land to flood with the tide. This was the largest breach of a sea wall in the UK.
To provide further enhancement at the site, project ecologists The Ecology Consultancy worked with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to develop a bespoke seed mix to be sown along the new sea wall.
It is expected this will attract rare bee species and other invertebrates by increasing the diversity of flowering plant species and the biodiversity resource they provide.