Marine consultancy ABPmer will undertake a water management project with a biodiversity angle.

Tilbury Fort

Tilbury Fort protected London’s seaward approaches from the time it was built, between 1670 and 1685, until the Second World War. Photo: English Heritage

English Heritage has appointed ABP subsidiary ABPmer to help determine how best to manage water-levels in the distinctive twin moats around the Thames estuary-located Tilbury Fort, to include how they might be used to enhance biodiversity.

Colin Scott, habitat creation and restoration business manager at ABPmer, said: “We are delighted to support English Heritage on this unique and visionary project. Climate change means it is becoming increasingly important to protect our heritage, enhance biodiversity and manage our interactions with the shoreline.

“As specialists in marine surveying, coastal and canal system modelling as well as wetland habitat design, we are well placed to carry out this fascinating project and fully understand what can be achieved at Tilbury.”

Moat management plan

English Heritage wants to develop a new moat management plan for the two concentric moats that surround the star-shaped fort. These moats take in saline water from the tidal Thames and freshwater from the hinterland catchment.

ABPmer will undertake a series of surveys and modelling studies to understand how the moat system functions and how the water and salinity levels can be managed using the site’s complex, inter-connecting sluices.

The plan aims to preserve the historic appearance of the moats whilst exploring how the site’s biodiversity and ecological value might be enhanced. Such enhancement might include creating marginal wetlands areas for breeding and overwintering waterbirds.

This project is expected to be completed this summer and will provide English Heritage with an improved understanding of how the moats operate and related management options.

By Rebecca Jeffrey