Environment

Environmental improvement scheme at Stover Country Park shortlisted for award

Photo of the drainage system at Stover Country Park

Posted on: 7 May 2020

An environmental improvement scheme at Stover Country Park has been shortlisted for a prestigious civil engineering award.

The sustainable reedbed drainage system at Stover, which was developed last year to improve water quality, is one of 12 projects in the running for the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) South West Civil Engineering Awards 2020.

People in the region are being asked to visit the ICE website and vote for the civil engineering project that has had the greatest impact on their lives and local communities. Voting closes on Sunday 14 June. The winner will be announced on Thursday 22 October.

The £2.9m scheme at Stover Country Park, which is designated as a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), included the construction of new sustainable drainage, providing significant environmental, sustainability and social benefits.

Once established the 3,800 square metres of reeds act as a filter, capturing and filtering highways water run-off from the A38 and Drumbridges roundabout before it enters Stover lake. The reeds, which are native to the area, were planted upstream of the lake to act as a natural barrier and filter pollutants.

The reedbeds also provide environmental benefits by creating a habitat that supports a range of birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.

The project was developed by a partnership of Highways England, Stover Country Park and Devon County Council, with the support of Natural England. The scheme was officially opened last September.

Highways England Project Manager Darren Painter said: “I am delighted Stover Country Park has been shortlisted for this ICE award. The project is a perfect example of how our Designated Funds programme was developed so we can invest in projects beyond our traditional road building and maintenance and have a positive impact on people and communities.

“Working with our partners at Stover has been a real pleasure – the teamwork involved has already been recognised with a sustainability award from the South West Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation – and the reedbed will make a significant difference to the quality of the water at the lake when it is fully established.”

Photo of Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Environmental Services, added: “It’s an honour for the scheme to be shortlisted for this award and it is recognition of the importance of this scheme in protecting the biodiversity at Stover Country Park. Hopefully people will show their support by voting for this scheme in the awards, but whatever the result, the real winner is the local environment.

“The reedbeds have attracted a variety of species which highlights what an incredible asset it is, not just for Stover’s ecology, but also for people who visit the park. Our thanks go to Highways England and all of the partners involved who have helped make this project such a success.”

Highways England is committed to a national Biodiversity Plan which is being supported by a national investment programme over the next five years.

The plan recognises road verges and associated land can be managed to provide areas of habitat, relatively free from human access, that may be scarce in the surrounding landscape.

The 12 shortlisted projects have been selected by an expert panel of judges from entries to the ICE South West Civil Engineering Awards 2020, in association with Kier Bam.

The Stover reedbed scheme won the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) South West Sustainability Award earlier this year.

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