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Residential spaces revived through restoring heavily silted watercourse. Billing Brook Lakes Restoration

8 Weeks
Desilting and Landscape Enhancements

Billing Brook runs through three popular urban lakes, Kingfisher, Cygnet and Dragonfly, nestled amongst large residential areas close to central Northampton. These lakes are a much-loved centrepiece for the surrounding estate and a popular feature for the local communities. These open spaces not only act as a drainage system but are also home to a host of wildlife. 

However, as they are densely tree lined, over time they had become heavily silted and in addition to being a safety concern and falling foul of fly tipping, this severely impacted the biodiversity of the area and increased the risk of localised flooding, as well as making them unattractive for visitors.

Ebsford worked with Northampton Borough Council to improve water quality and in addition make further improvements to the lakes to prevent recurrence of the issues with excess silt and overgrown vegetation. The real strength of this project was in the partnership working between the Environment Agency, Northampton Borough Council and Growing Together Northampton. The restoration was much anticipated and extremely important to residents and this approach ensured a high level of consultation and engagement with the locals to ensure the scheme was beneficial for all.

Phase 1 of the restoration project saw Ebsford work simultaneously on all three lakes to remove huge amounts of silt from the lake beds. By narrowing and deepening the lakes, water would flow faster and prevent future build-up of silt and debris. Ebsford were able to provide a solution that negated the need to remove almost 6000 tonnes of dredged material from site and deposited this silt behind nicospan installations, acting as receptor areas to create new, more defined lake edges and island features. Brash and materials won from clearance of overhanging vegetation helped to make a number of faggots to install around much of the nicospan. Other areas were enhanced with coir rolls, perfect hosts for a range of aquatic planting. Over 14,000 plants across all the lakes helped to create a more tranquil and appealing setting for residents to enjoy once again.

While redefining the lake edges, Ebsford were able to return the brook and its lakes to a naturally meandering watercourse that had over the years straightened and through erosion lost these features. With the silt out of the watercourse and the channel improved the lakes are much narrower, deeper and faster flowing, making the water much clearer and improving overall habitat for wildlife and enhancing biodiversity.


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