Work to create a major new series of wetlands at Chamber Mead is scheduled to begin on 29th August – pushed back from 21st August – and is planned to take approximately 10 weeks.
The project, developed over several years by the South East Rivers Trust (SERT), is designed to help improve water quality along a stretch of the Hogsmill River near Ewell. The project will also help a wider range of wildlife flourish in this part of the Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve and improve the area as a place for people to enjoy.
Water quality in this section of the Hogsmill River is adversely affected by pollution from road runoff, foul sewage pipes incorrectly connected into surface water drains and discharges from the Epsom Storm Tanks.
Wetlands are a nature-based solution to improving water quality. Water that drains through them is gradually filtered by plants and captured in the soil, intercepting and treating pollution.
Increased plants, pollinators and other wildlife connected to the wetlands will provide an attractive addition to this popular open space, as well as providing opportunities for outdoor education.
The new wetlands will intercept water from the Green Lanes Stream, before connecting the river channel back into the Hogsmill River, downstream of the famous Stepping Stones. This will safeguard 200 metres of chalk stream from pollution, reducing the risk to health and improving the area as a community amenity.
Further downstream, the wetlands will continue to provide benefits to the Hogsmill River, which is one of about only 200 chalk streams in the world.
Planning permission was granted last year by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council.
Supported by the Hogsmill Catchment Partnership, the project has received funding and from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Environment Agency, Surrey County Council, the Rivers Trust, the Zoological Society of London and Thames Water.
It is part of the wider Replenish programme in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation and Rivers Trust which aims to “replenish” or restore millions of litres of water in this and other local catchments, in turn improving biodiversity.
Ed Byers, Senior Project Manager at SERT, said: “We are excited to be bringing the Chamber Mead wetlands to the Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve.
“The wetlands are much needed to improve the water quality of a precious chalk stream for wildlife and for the enjoyment of the public, who have shown great support for this project.
“As well as reducing pollution, the plants chosen, such as brooklime, marsh marigold and purple loosestrife, will also act as a magnet for an abundance of wildlife and further improve this much-loved local space.”
Parking restrictions will be in place at two locations along the Green Lanes during the works, to allow site access for vehicles involved in the construction phase and to ensure public safety.
The work will also require a large number of lorry movements to remove excavated material from the site.
Full details of the Chamber Mead wetlands project can be found on our dedicated webpage.