A Landscape Vision for the Future of Burton Washlands

November 30, 2022 by Jane Ewing

A programme improving habitat in the wetlands at Burton Washlands is creating a space for both people and wildlife.

The Burton Washlands follows the river through to the heart of Burton upon Trent. The vision, led by East Staffordshire Borough Council, addresses how to best balance the regular flooding of the area with the need for public access and recreation. The Transforming the Trent Valley (TTTV) scheme is leading the delivery of the habitat enhancements aspect in collaboration with the Environment Agency and East Staffordshire Borough Council. Involving the local community and river users is also key to enabling nature conservation.

Transforming the Trent Valley is a partnership project of eighteen organisations working together to restore and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the Trent Valley, with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at the helm.

Vicki Liu, Catchment Co-ordinator for the Environment Agency said: “We are delighted to be working with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and partners on the Transforming the Trent Valley project to create 20ha of wetland habitats and to re-naturalise a section of the River Trent in Burton Washlands. This is a legacy of the Burton Flood Risk management Scheme, which is helping to better protect the area from the devastating impact of flooding.

“The works are the product of a landscape masterplan led by the Environment Agency in collaboration with partners during the development stage of the flood defence works. They will provide better habitats and an improved visitor experience for Burton Washlands, as well as support the ongoing regeneration of the town.”

This work will be completed over the next couple of years. Phase 1 is the delivery of projects within the central part of the Burton Washlands, primarily on East Staffordshire Borough Council landholding. These are a mix of wetland, river, grassland and woodland enhancements.

Victoria Bunter, TTTV Senior Living Floodplains Officer, said: “We are nearing the end of extensive work to improve the connection between the wetland environments across the Trent floodplain. This will provide stepping stones for wildlife throughout the area, giving them a better chance to maintain robust populations to help with pressures such as climate change. With the recent heatwaves, any extra habitat we can create will provide valuable shelter once fully established.

“We are excited to have completed river reprofiling, creating a feature which is scarce along the river Trent and provides valuable opportunities for breeding fish and aquatic life. The widening of the river here will also reduce pressure on the opposite bank during flood events as there is now more space for the river to spread out. The spoil from the excavations will be reseeded towards the end of September.”

Cllr George Allen, Leader of the Council, said: “It is vital we find the perfect balance to ensure members of the public are able to enjoy Burton Washlands while also staying safe from the regular flooding the area sees. Going forward, I cannot wait to see just how much the Washlands will develop as part of the TTTV scheme.”

Cllr Raymond Faulkner, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “The TTTV scheme looks to find a balance between the needs of residents and the needs of our local wildlife, and is one of many ways in which the Council are looking to enable nature conservation in the area.”

For more information about East Staffordshire Borough Council’s Burton Washlands Vision visit https://www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk/washlands-project

For more information about the delivery of the ecological enhancements through TTTV visit https://www.thetrentvalley.org.uk/discover/burton-washlands-vision

TTTV is a partnership project of eighteen organisations working together to restore and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the Trent Valley, with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at the helm. For more information about the TTTV project visit https://www.thetrentvalley.org.uk