Hampstead Heath dam safety project wins top engineering ‘Oscar’

An engineering project designed to strengthen earth dams and improve wildlife ecology on Hampstead Heath has won a top award at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London Civil Engineering Awards.

The Hampstead Heath Ponds Project, led by the City of London Corporation, won the ICE’s Community Benefit Award after helping to virtually eliminate the risk of dam failure on Heath ponds during extreme rainfall and major storms.

Three of Hampstead Heath’s Ponds are big enough to be classed as 'large raised reservoirs' under the Reservoirs Act 1975, which means they hold over 25,000 cubic metres of water and so are legally subject to inspection by a government appointed expert panel engineer.

Detailed studies had shown that dam collapse could have led to severe flooding and even possible loss of life for communities downstream.

Completed on time and on budget and funded by the City Corporation, the project has improved the safety of the pond’s earth dams and eliminated the risk of dam collapse.

The project was designed to preserve the distinct character of the Heath’s landscape, provide additional habitats for birds, amphibians and invertebrates and improve water quality.

The scheme was one of eight shortlisted projects that were visited by a panel of ICE judges.

Karina Dostalova, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Committee, said:

“Safeguarding the Heath’s character and landscape were at the very heart of this scheme.

“We have enhanced views of the ponds with new landscaped paths and we are improving water quality and ecological diversity whilst strengthening the earth dams so that they are structurally sound.

“The design for this project took into full account the need to preserve the Heath's landscape and habitat. A team of landscape architects, ecologists and hydrologists worked alongside engineers to ensure that the works will improve water quality and biodiversity.”

Rob Stapley, Project Manager at BAM Nuttall said:

‘Effective stakeholder communication was essential to successfully deliver a scheme of this scale in the unique environment that is Hampstead Heath.’

Construction work on the Ponds Project started in April 2015 and concluded in October 2016.​​

Hampstead Heath is located 3.5 miles from Trafalgar Square and receives over 7 million visits a year. The City Corporation spends more than £5 million a year to maintain the Heath which includes a zoo, an athletics track, an education centre, extensive children's facilities, three swimming ponds and a Lido.

The City of London Corporation manages 11,000 acres of green space across London and south east England, including Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches, with many of its sites designated National nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest for their unique ecology and rare plant species.


Notes to editors 

Media contacts:

Carl Locsin, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

T 020 7332 3654 / M 0738 862 229

E carl.locsin@cityoflondon.gov.uk

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills projects. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charity City Bridge Trust makes grants of around £20 million annually to charitable projects across London and we also support education with three independent schools, three City Academies, a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

We also help look after key London’s heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London.

We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies all reflecting a long-term approach.

See www.cityoflondon.gov.uk for more details.