Case study:Wandsworth Riverside Quarter

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Location: 51° 27' 46", -0° 11' 45"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Spatial planning, Urban
Country England
Main contact forename Toni
Main contact surname Scarr
Main contact user ID User:Ascarr
Contact organisation Environment Agency
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations Fraser Property, J.T Mackley & Co Ltd; Salix Wetlands, Beckett Rankine, Capita Lovejoy, Biodiversity By Design
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Project picture

Project summary

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The area of the London Borough Wandsworth on the west bank of the confluence of the River Wandle and the tidal River Thames was previously a 4 hectare Shell Oil terminal, and subsequently a brownfield industrial site. The area had been protected over time from tidal flooding through a combination of concrete quays and timber and metal tidal defences. The history of the site led to issues of contaminated land and a disconnection of the area from the rivers it borders.

The former industrial site was redeveloped through a number of phased developments, which together comprised a complex of residential and commercial properties on the Thames waterfront under the name Wandsworth Riverside Quarter.

The redevelopment was identified by the Environment Agency as having the potential to provide an improved riverside environment, and an opportunity to reconnect the rivers with the people now using the previouslyderelict site. The suggested solution was to replace the existing tidal defences with a series of tidal terraces, creating a new intertidal zone and facilitating a range of associated transitional habitats.

Formation works (January 2009) • Preparation of site (coffer dams, excavation and soil removal, bank re-profiling, and set up site compound). Hard landscape works (February 2009):

  • Laying contamination textile to reduce risk of contaminated soils entering the Thames during the works.
  • Constructing timber terraces.
  • Placing backfill materials.
  • Laying root barrier.
  • Laying silt accretion geotextiles to encourage silt to accumulate between the terraces.
  • Fixing coir rolls at channel margins.
  • Installing dead wood habitat staked at the margins between the slope and the channel to encourage more diverse plant establishment and flow conditions.

Monitoring period (March-May 2009)

  • After installation silt was allowed to naturally accrete in the lower terraces to allow for the growth of tidal flora. Silt accumulation was monitored during this period and a significant increase in sediment accretion between the terraces was


Rock roll installation (May 2009)

  • Rock rolls (wave energy reduction structures installed by long reach plant) installed along with coir matting to encourage plant growth. Planting (June 2009)
  • Intertidal vegetation was planted and dead wood installed along the terraces.

techniques used

  • Preserve and improve water’s edge and bank side habitats
  • Retain and improve existing water’s edge and bankside habitats in modified watercourses
  • Realign flood defences to increase coastal and intertidal habitat
  • Restore aquatic habitats in modified watercourses
  • Use green engineering techniques instead of hard bank protection

Monitoring surveys and results

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  • Creation of a range of intertidal habitats in an otherwise biodiversity-poor area of the constrained Rivers Wandle and Thames.
  • Improved access to the River Thames and River Wandle, bringing residents and members of the public closer the watercourse.
  • Provides access to the watercourse for local wildlife.
  • The site links in within green roofs and other green infrastructure designed as part of the redevelopment master plan creating an extended green network.
  • The site acts as a showcase to demonstrate what can be achieved on tidal rivers.

Lessons learnt

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• Proactive discussion between the Environment Agency and the developers led to beneficial outcomes for both parties, and the creation of a multifunctional, more natural riverside environment. • Use of coir rolls to stabilise the sediment accretion and bank reprofiling was insufficient and required rock roll installation. • Success of sediment accretion between the terraces demonstrates good geomorphological understanding of processes and modelling.

Image gallery

terrace just after constuction
terrace just after constuction
terrace just after constuction

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Thames
River basin London


River name Thames Middle
Area category Less than 10 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category
Maximum altitude (m)
Dominant geology
Ecoregion Great Britain
Dominant land cover Urban
Waterbody ID GB530603911402

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Barking Creek near A13, Barking Creekmouth, Chambers Wharf, Cuckolds Haven Nature Area, Greenwich Peninsula, Lower River Roding Regeneration Project, Mill Pool, Saving Chiswick Eyot


Name Bow Creek confluence with the Thames
WFD water body codes GB530603911402
WFD (national) typology Intertidal
WFD water body name THAMES MIDDLE
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body Yes
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest smelt
Dominant hydrology Tidal
Dominant substrate Gravel
River corridor land use Urban
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m) 30
30 m
0.03 km
3,000 cm
Project started 2009/01/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2009/12/31
Total cost category 50 - 100 k€
Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Frasers Property

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision 50 - 100 k€
Post-project management and maintenance

Supplementary funding information

the whole scheme including the development cost between £100k-£500k

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Flood and coastal erosion protection
Hydromorphology Structure & condition of intertidal zone
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

Link Description Further information on preserving and improve water's edge and bank

Supplementary Information

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