Working on a Site of Special Scientific Interest

Hairy snail 1 Hairy snail 2 Hairy snail 3

Land & Water Plant working in London on an SSSI to protect the Hairy Snail – read it right – Hairy Snail!

Land & Water have recently provided plant and operators to a customer in Syon Park in Isleworth to work on a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). Land & Water carried out this work over 10 years ago and were selected again by the client due to their specialist knowledge and the specification of their equipment which allowed minimal disturbance to such an environmentally sensitive site.

The Tide Meadow at Syon Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is the last remaining section of the River Thames that is unbanked in Greater London with the result that it floods twice a day as the Thames rises and falls.

The site is also part of the designed landscape by Capability Brown in the 18th Century and he worked on both Syon Park and Kew Gardens on the other side of the river with the result that there are some historic vistas linking views from Syon to Kew Gardens and vice versa.

Over the years, Willowcar scrub has grown up which obscure the views and starts to take over the Tide Meadow itself reducing the area available for grassland species.

In conjunction with Natural England, every 10 years or so, the owners of the site (the Duke of Northumberland’s Estate) go in and cut back chunks of the Willowcar to loosen up the grassland and to clear the vistas.

Given the ground conditions, the work must be carried out using low ground pressure equipment running on biodegradable hydraulic oils and works need to be fitted in around the low and high tide times.

The Tide Meadow is therefore unique in London and is also a host for many invertebrates, unusual plant species and other flora and fauna, most particularly the German Hairy Snail of which it is only one of a limited number of sites in the UK where this creature is found.

Land & Water supplied an operated long reach excavator fitted with a tree shear to work on the meadows, clearing the Willowcar Scrub. The harvested timber was recovered from the Meadow using Bergmann tracked dumpers provided by NTD national Tracked Dumper Hire Ltd and were discharged with another long reach excavator fitted with a timber grab so the stockpile could be stacked and left to dry. Eventually, the wood was chipped by LC Energy to be used as renewable energy.