Burton Washlands Landscape Vision

Project overview

The Burton Washlands Landscape Vision focuses on a 630-ha floodplain in Burton upon Trent and sets a new shared vision that reconnects the town and its community with the River Trent, thereby enhancing the natural capital value of significant green and blue infrastructure assets. The project evolved out of Binnies’ work in delivering the Burton upon Trent flood risk management scheme and won the 2018 Landscape Institute Award for Local Landscape Planning.

Our role

We led a collaborative process to reimagine the Washlands, worked closely with a range of local stakeholders and supported community consultation. The existing design and management plan failed to respond to the frequent flooding; areas designated as recreational space and amenity parkland were commonly under water. We identified opportunities to cater better for both people and nature through a more naturalistic approach to the design and management of greenspace, new and improved wetland habitats, improved access and connections between the town and the Washlands, and improved environmental interpretation and education facilities.

Through collaboration between our landscape team, environmental economists and ecologists, we valued the existing baseline and proposed enhancements in terms of natural capital, thereby helping to secure £2.5 million in partnership funding for project delivery. We have subsequently developed detailed designs and gained planning consent for construction.

Challenges

  • Reconciling contrasting stakeholder views and perceptions about what good green space design and management look like
  • Ensuring the proposals reflected and responded to a wealth of existing ideas, aspirations and previous strategies and consultations
  • Generating momentum and belief in a new vision, and avoiding ‘consultation fatigue’ on a locally long debated subject

Solutions

  • Early, effective and efficient engagement with decision-makers and influencers
  • Award-winning and digitally enabled landscape design and stakeholder engagement techniques
  • Integrating landscape and green infrastructure planning with natural capital assessment and valuation
  • Strong design concepts supported by clear visualisations and artists’ impressions

Benefits and Achievements

1
Client Satisfaction

“This vision will maximise the value of the Washlands for people and wildlife. It has created a process of dialogue and collaboration across disciplines and organisations and provides the platform to explore the best delivery opportunities available,”

Tim Brooks, Environmental Planning Specialist, Environment Agency

2
Award Winning

2018 Landscape Institute Award (Local Landscape Planning), 2019 NCE100 Awards (collaboration), and 2020 CIEEM Awards (stakeholder engagement)

3
Best Practice Exemplar Project

Used as a best practice exemplar at the 2019 Flood & Coast Conference, for the Ecosystems Knowledge Network and in ThinkGIS journal

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