Nicholas Pearson Associates

Projects /
Amble Marshes SSSI WLMP

Client: Environment Agency

Location: Chapel Amble, Cornwall

Amble Marshes and the River Amble, located between the village of Chapel Amble, Trewornan bridge and the Camel estuary has historically been subject to regular flooding, out-of-bank flows and extended periods of wetland inundation. Flood protection work was undertaken in the 1950s and 1960s and included the construction of the River Amble tidal flood barrier and the raising of flood banks. This modified groundwater levels, decreased the regularity of floodplain wetting and inundation within Amble Marshes and Walmsley Bird Sanctuary with numerous biodiversity consequences.

The purpose of the Amble Marshes SSSI Water Level Management Plan (WLMP) was to reinstate the frequency of wetland inundation and connectivity between the River Amble, Walmsley Sanctuary and the surrounding floodplain. In turn, this would improve the habitat for over wintering and wading birds and raise the status of the Amble Marshes/Walmsley Sanctuary Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designation to 'favourable'.

Our work involved aspects of both environmental design and assessment.  We led key aspects of the landscape, ecological and environmental design for the proposals to ensure that the project met the Environment Agency’s and Natural England’s objectives to restore favourable condition to the SSSI. We also undertook the project’s non-statutory environmental impact assessment, in line with Environment Agency standards, which examined the likely effects of the project on landscape, biodiversity, water quality and other issues, and prepared an Environmental Report to accompany the consented application.

The proposed River Amble channel has sought to reflect the historic river course, local geomorphology and a form that is characteristic of this estuarine, coastal grazing marsh landscape. The locations of fording points, bridges and cattle/sheep drinking points have been determined through Natural England consultations to confirm landowner requirements. The project was approved and began construction in summer 2010.