Salford Students dig deep at Mersey Gateway site to investigate historical contamination
Students from the University of Salford with the help of the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust in November collected samples of the Upper Mersey Estuary saltmarsh to determine the distribution of lead and other heavy metal contamination.
As part of a wider experiment to study the depth at which contamination levels in saltmarshes occur, the twenty-five students visited the site of the £1.86bn Mersey Gateway Project to build up a history of the origins of contamination.
The Mersey Gateway Project has selected key areas around the planned bridge for conservation. These are being carefully studied, and to ensure plans for managing the saltmarsh through cattle grazing are not affected by the remnants of Halton’s industrial history, research has been carried out by the Environmental Trust and the university since 2010.
The chairman of the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust, Mr Yousuf Shaikh said,
“This is a great example of how the Upper Mersey Estuary is on its way to becoming a real ‘Living Laboratory’ which future generations can enjoy, study and understand. Our partnership with Salford University gives students practical opportunities to conduct their investigations whilst helping the Mersey Gateway conserve the natural environment around the Project areas.”
The partnership between the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust and the University of Salford began over five years ago with the arrangement formalised in March 2014.
Dr Simon Hutchinson, Senior Lecturer, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Salford:
“For our students this huge project and its environmental activities provide an excellent real world example of how past and present need to be taken into consideration for the benefit of present and future generations. This site has a significant environmental legacy and it is fantastic that our students can make a contribution.”
The findings of the students’ investigations may contribute to academic articles as well as individual dissertations, and will be used to contribute to the ongoing research the Mersey Gateway Environmental Trust is conducting around the Upper Mersey Estuary.