Thomson Habitats at work on iconic Millennium Mills project

We have been working with our client, The Silvertown Partnership, and their ecologists, AECOM, to facilitate the £3.5bn Silvertown Quays scheme.

The scheme involves the re-development of the iconic Millennium Mills, including the construction of a school, a health centre, shops and an innovative new bridge. Upon completion, the scheme will contain 3000 new homes, two million sq. ft. of commercial space, and three million sq. ft. of “brand spaces” which will aim to attract visitors from the UK and abroad.

The former flour mill was built in 1905 on the banks of the Thames. The rail and water transport links made it an ideal location for business. However, in 1917 it was flattened by a huge explosion from a nearby munitions factory killing 73 of the mill’s employees. The present mill building has accommodated other businesses since then, but was finally closed in 1992 after years of decline.

Boris Johnson said: “The restoration of this great industrial monolith is another vital ingredient in the regeneration of London’s historic Royal Docks. We want to return this site to its former glory, supporting business and enterprise and breathing new life into an area of the capital that has been dormant for decades.”

Thomson Habitats’ involvement in the project has been to clear all on-site vegetation which had the potential for nesting birds. The works were to be undertaken outside of the nesting bird season and during reptile and bat hibernation periods. This was to ensure the minimum amount of disturbance to wildlife.

It was vital that the works were to be carried out causing minimum disturbance to the ground, so we used our low ground-pressure track loader, with a forestry mulcher attachment, to clear the vegetation as sensitively as possible.

Scrub that could not be safely removed by the mulcher was cleared by a chainsaw and brush-cutter team with a tracked wood chipper.
We also removal areas of cotoneaster, which is a Schedule 9 invasive species.

Despite a tight programme, and difficult ground conditions, we were able to meet the client’s requirements, and carry out the clearance works sensitively and efficiently. The works were carried out to the full satisfaction of the Project Ecologist, AECOM.

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