THE SIXTH Observer Ethical Awards have seen the Thameside Nature Park win the award for conservation.
The Observer reports: “The act of conservation is often taken rather literally as preserving something that’s already there. But this year’s Conservation Award, kicking off the Observer Ethical Awards, in association with Ecover, goes to a local wildlife organisation seeking to create something new and ambitious. Essex Wildlife Trust’s plan is to turn an 845-acre landfill site on the north bank of the Thames into a living landscape for wildlife and people.
“It could so easily not have happened. Thurrock doesn’t have an abundance of green space and industrial creep is strongly in evidence – there is a move afoot to build a huge container port nearby. So there was an urgent need to carve out some green land for the communities of Tilbury and Standford-Le-Hope who have lived for so long next to one of Britain’s biggest landfill dumps.
“Until December last year, this is where six boroughs of London sent their rubbish by barge. By Easter next year it will be unrecognisable, transformed into a living wildlife landscape with wetland, reedbeds, grassland (which, subject to analysis of the substrate, could be used for grazing cattle), ponds, scrubland and fledgling woodland. The judges admired the way the Trust had taken on this huge project with gusto, signing a 99-year lease to develop the land and building on a raft to counteract any subsidence. There were no half measures”.