Blue Green Corridor Sleaford encompasses the four projects that will be taking place along the River Slea, in Sleaford, from Cogglesford Mill Bridge to the A15. These four projects will improve the channel and corridor of the River Slea, involving the enhancement and creation of new habitats and improving access to and along the river.
Why the River Slea?
The River Slea is in need of improvement as it is a heavily modified channel with brick lined banks through the majority of its course that runs through Sleaford. These confined banks create a lack in variation in the channel as there are no essential features, such as meanders or riffles, to create changes in flow.
A straightened over-widened section of the River Slea confined by a hard bank at the Leisure centre, Sleaford.
What the projects involve
Due to the confined nature of the River Slea, throughout Sleaford, the channel and its corridor will mostly be improved through bank softening techniques and in-channel enhancements, restoring the river to a more natural state and trying to undo the effects of historic river management.
Implementing these improvements to the channel is an opportunity to enhance the habitat along the River Slea for the benefit of wildlife and people, improving commuting and leisure routes through Sleaford as well. The habitat created by these works will ensure the colonisation of new species and increase the quality and quantity of habitat for existing wildlife.
Some of this existing wildlife the River Slea supports are protected species such as water voles and Kingfishers.
These interesting water voles are very mobile and currently have some suitable habitat along the Slea. However, these animals are in decline nationally so it is an important factor that these works will improve their existing habitat and create more areas where they can find refuge.
The project works, specifically the in-channel works, will improve habitat for fish, increasing the food source for important bird species such as Kingfishers, leading to an increase in abundance and perhaps sightings!