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Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire

This ambitious project creates riparian wetlands to improve drainage to sports pitches, and to intercept urban runoff to improve the water quality and habitat of an urban stream and  mitigate flood risk.

Wetland Engineering was approached by the Wyre Waters Catchment Partnership to incorporate constructed wetlands, sustainable drainage and river restoration into an ambitious scheme of investment into St George's Playing Fields in Thornton Cleveleys, Lancashire.  The site is adjacent to "Marsh Mill" - the name describes  the history of the playing fields!.  Over the years, as the area was developed as a settlement, the marsh was drained by artificially deepening the stream that drains the area.  Being close to the coast, with a large tidal range, large pumping stations have been added to adequately drain the area to support development.  The deep "ditch" that has resulted is currently heavily overshadowed and water qality is poor owing to runoff from local housing and commercial areas, and because the natral cleansing processes in the stream  have been prevented from functioning properly.  Perhaps unsurprisingly in such a heavily modified river catchment reclaimed from marsh, some parts af the neighbourhood are rather prone to flooding during heavy storms.

Working with the Wyre Rivers Trust, Wyre Council, United Utilities and the Catchment Partneship, we are proposing to recreate a riparian wetland area into which the stream can safely flood, recreating some of the stream's natural sediment processing capacity, and redcing the pressure on the pumping system, reducing flood risk.  We are also proposing to intercept two surface water drains, and feed them through new treatment wetland areas, to reduce the peak slow and pollution load entering the stream, and are improving drainage to the sports fields by creating new wetland areas into which they can drain.

Funding for these ambitious improvements was approved in early 2021, so work should be underway later in the year.