Greengage are providing the ecology services for the Middle Dock greening project at Canary Wharf.
The project seeks to activate the waterfront and create a leisure and events space at the heart of Canary Wharf. Greengage has helped to inform the planning application by establishing the baseline ecological value of the site, calculating biodiversity net gain, and identifying any potential impacts.
The broader ecosystem service benefit delivered through improved dock greening initiatives are also being assessed, with an extended ecosystem service assessment looking at water quality, the carbon storage and sequestration capacity of the site and the impact on the Urban heat island effect. This will capture the wider benefits delivered through the works for Canary Wharf and the people who work, live and pass through the estate.
A joint Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA), Ecological Impact Assessment (EcIM) has been undertaken, which established the site’s baseline ecological value and potential to support protected and notable species, while discussing the impacts that the proposed development may have on ecological receptors.
A biodiversity impact assessment has also been undertaken using the Biodiversity Metric 3.1, to calculate the predicted biodiversity net gain of the project. This has shown that proposals stand to result in a net gain of 1.49 biodiversity units compared with pre-development value, equivalent to a total net increase of 55.37% in ecological value.
Greengage has also produced an Ecological Management Plan (EMP) which outlines the appropriate specification for ecological enhancement features and include a measure of quantitative change in biodiversity using biodiversity metrics. The EMP also informs the ongoing management of the enhancements within the dock to ensure the long-term ecological enhancement of the site.
Recommendations have been created to activate the dock site and naturalise the waterbody, including:
- Vegetated floating island habitats, colonised with a mix of native and pollinator friendly shrub and herbaceous species and well as trees to create a ‘floating forest’ effect;
- Fresh water marginal planting to include a diverse mix of native wetland planting;
- Submerged habitat for fish and invertebrates including fish walls and artificial reef/kelp forest features;
- Education and communication features, including underwater video screen for passers-by to observe fish using the habitat features, and colonisation plate experiments to allow citizen science data collection/education opportunity;
- Terrestrial tree planting utilising native species where possible; and
- Bird and bat boxes.
The project also aims to deliver overall improvement in ecosystem service provision derived from the proposed greening initiatives. This is being assessed through the creation of an Environmental Net Gain (ENG) matrix. This aims to capture overall change in ecosystem service delivery as a result of the development, in both a directly measurable way and, where this is not possible, qualitative assessment of service benefit. The ENG matrix will look at:
- Carbon storage and sequestration capacity – assessment of the potential in both the dock and in vegetation for a change in carbon storage potential between pre and post intervention
- Water quality – assessment of general water quality in terms of microbial, chemical and physical parameters before and after greening interventions
- Urban heat island – assessment of the potential to reduce the UHI effect in public spaces around introduced greening as a result of the project.