In 2005 Edmund Nuttall/Van Oorde JV were appointed by Medway Council and the South East Development Agency to a £38m scheme to remediate the highly contaminated former industrial site at Rochester Riverside, raise land installations for new flood defences and enlarge two creeks in preparation for mixed-use development.
Planning consent was conditional on expert horticultural interventions to replace 0.7ha of salt marsh being lost during construction which, once established, would prevent inter-tidal erosion. As a specialist provider, BritishFlora was appointed to this role.
After detailed consultations with the contractors, Halcrow Group as Consulting Civil Engineers and Haskoning UK Ltd Maritime as Environmental Consultant, BritishFlora collected sufficient seed and plant propagules from site to propagate enough stock to achieve the required design solution.
This entailed planting of salt marsh species on specially constructed saltmarsh terraces to:-
- Provide long term resistance to erosive wave action during the incoming 'flood'
- Prevent erosive scouring and draw down of fines during the ‘ebb’
- Create a valuable and durable salt marsh habitat
A total of 50,000 plants were installed on the terraces, including the nationally scarce Inula crithmodes (Golden Samphire) - gathered by BritishFlora at the request of English Nature from the decaying industrial site.