Staffordshire County Council is promising to create ‘better wildlife habitats’ as part of works to build a relief road.
As part of the mitigation measures for the Stafford Western Access Route, the council said it will improve a nature reserve and section of river at Doxey Marshes nature reserve, Stafford, which is a Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a nationally important reserve for its birdlife.
The habitat improvement will involve lowering an area of land to create ideal wet-grassland nesting conditions for birds such as lapwing and redshank.
Doxey Marshes, Stafford
The council said all designs have been created with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, which manages the site, the Environment Agency and Natural England.
Staffordshire CC’s economy leader Mark Winnington said: ‘The Stafford Western Access Route will bring huge economic benefits to the county town and we’re pleased that in addition there will be environmental improvements which will allow wildlife to thrive.’
The council said that as well as creating improvements for wildlife, the lowered areas of land will also act as extra water storage in the event of flooding, helping to protect areas downstream.
Works will also include taking a section of the River Sow out of its artificial channel by the railway and restoring it to ‘a more natural wider, meandering riverbed with shallower slopes’.
The council said this will bring improvements for river wildlife such as fish and otters as well as wetland breeding birds.
Excavated material from the works will be used to eventually create islands and shallows in Creswell Flash, making this feeding ground better for birdlife.
Jeff Sim, land management team coordinator for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: ‘We’re very excited that these habitat improvement works will make the reserve an even better place for wetland birds.’
The new road is one of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s key Growth Deal projects.