Biodiversity Conservation Management and Improvement
Green Dimensions banner-heading

Important Notice for Existing and Potential Clients:

As from 4th March 2013, Phil Lomax, Director and Principal Consultant of Green Dimensions is moving to take up a position as Principal Ecologist at Thomson Ecology.

Greater Birdsfoot trefoil
Spotted flycatcher
Waskersley Way


Case Studies

Biodiversity Conservation Management and Improvement

GreenDim.bmpasked by the Environment Agency to Assess Potential

In 1945 it was so grossly polluted nothing could live in it. Now the River Tame in North Warwickshire has been cleaned up and supports a fishery. The unique 150 ha Lea Marston purification lakes which helped achieve this transformation are therefore no longer required and so the Environment Agency (EA) is assessing their future potential for people and wildlife.

Green Dimensions has provided a report to assess that potential. Created by the EA from a sand and gravel extraction site and opened in 1980, Lea Marston is a system of three large lakes on line with the River Tame, that have for the last 30 years helped to clean it up. Once, untreated sewage and toxic run off from the industrial West Midlands was filtered out at Lea Marston in one of only two on line river purification systems in Europe – the other being on the Ruhr in Germany.

Major investment in new sewage treatment infrastructure upstream at Minworth and controls on industrial discharges have resulted in dramatic improvements to water quality with Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and ammonia levels showing a linear decline since the early 1990’s.This means that Lea Marston is no longer required for water purification and the EA is considering what alternative uses the complex can be put to in future to benefit both people and wildlife.

Text Box:    Lea Marston Purification Lakes

There are significant constraints on future use and development. Most of the site lies within the 1 in 100 year flood risk area; it is located within the West Midlands Green Belt; the past use of the site has left a legacy of polluted sediments – around 170,000 cubic metres deposited in the last 10 years alone. However, the report concludes that none of these constraints should prevent the complex from providing a wide range of potential benefits in the future.

Potential was assessed in relation to the 10 key functions of urban/ rural fringe countryside set out in ‘The countryside in and around towns’ (1) :

  1. A bridge to the country
  2. A gateway to the town
  3. A health (and recreation) centre
  4. A classroom
  5. A recycling and renewable energy centre
  6. A productive landscape
  7. A cultural legacy
  8. A place for sustainable living
  9. An engine for regeneration
  10. A nature reserve

Lea Marston is of a large scale (150 ha or 370 acres), and has good location and accessibility (only 6km from the edge of Birmingham and 2km from the M42). Its location in the Tame Valley adjacent to several other countryside facilities (including the 250 ha Kingsbury Water Park), and its biodiversity (over 200 species of birds recorded) all add to its potential. The Tame Valley is also one of 100 Wildlife Trusts ‘Living Landscapes’ projects and so partnership working for the sustainable development of the area has already been established led by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The report concludes that the area has great potential to make significant contributions to several key objectives and targets for sustainable development both locally and across the West Midlands region.

(1) The Countryside in and around towns. A vision for connecting town and country in the pursuit of sustainable development. Groundwork and the Countryside Agency, January 2005.

Folded Corner:   can help with feasibility studies for your property or projects. Please contact us to see how we can help.
Wildlife refuge at the RSPB's Somerset Levels nature reserve.
Meadow cranesbill
Golden plover
Lanchester Valley


Hurst Castle and the salt marsh
Web Site Development and Wildlife Photography by Andrew Walmsley
Copyright © 2008 Phil Lomax and Andrew Walmsley  All rights reserved
Copyright notice                                            Terms and conditions