Bickershaw North near Wigan is a 240 ha area of land degraded by the former West Leigh Colliery, the later Bickershaw Colliery and its spoil heaps, and the Albert Opencast Coal Site. Those uses had left a legacy of bare and eroding spoil heaps, partly revegetated spoil heaps, a former coal disposal area, wet and compacted agricultural restorations, subsidence flashes and perennially flooded areas. The restoration plan called for a mixed end use of public open space, golf course, visitor and activity centre and community allotments.
LRA was retained to assess the soils and soil forming materials of the site. This involved assessment of soil materials through a grid-based investigation by auger and spade, laboratory analysis of the main soils and substrates for pH, organic matter and major plant nutrients, and the colliery spoils for oxidisable pyrites.
The results of the study were used to:
This work together with detailed ecological and land contamination surveys provided the basis for an outline remediation strategy to deliver the required afteruses. This included redistribution of the natural topsoils for golf course fairways, addition of PAS100 compost to enhance the fertility of soils for allotments and addition of lime-rich and organic wastes to restore the bare colliery spoils.
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